Lib Fight: Salon's Walsh Criticizes Ezra Klein for Telling Truth About ObamaCare, Klein Strikes Back

October 22nd, 2013 5:08 PM

The ObamaCare rollout is going so poorly that liberal media members are starting to eat each other.

On Monday, Salon's Joan Walsh actually published a piece criticizing her fellow liberals for telling the truth about the train wreck:

As predictably as night follows day, on Monday the media establishment pivoted away from obsessing about GOP extremism and the party’s alleged “civil war” to the “train wreck” that is, allegedly, the Affordable Care Act.

And liberals helped lead the pivot.

Don’t get me wrong: The problems with are real, and disturbing, and must be fixed asap. (Think Progress has a dispassionate assessment here.) But excuse me if I believe the president knows that without my telling him. It’s like watching the 21st century version of the rise of the Democratic Leadership Council, and I feel the way I did back then: On the one hand, yes, it’s important for Democrats to acknowledge when government screws up, and to fix it.

On the other hand, when liberals rush conscientiously to do that, they only encourage the completely unbalanced and unhinged coverage of whatever the problem may be.

In her piece deliciously titled "Liberal Pundit Fail: Rush to Attack Obamacare Site Only Aids Unhinged Right," Walsh specifically mentioned the Washington Post's Ezra Klein:

The Washington Post’s great Ezra Klein then picked up the cudgel, telling the crew at MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” where every Obama misstep foretells the end of his presidency, that the Health and Human Services Department is covering up a massive “management failure,” because they had enough pre-launch information to know there were going to be massive problems and neither adjusted their rollout plan or prepared the public.

That’s fair, but then Klein took to Twitter and began sharing his experience trying to sign up for healthcare over the phone, and complained about “the lack of hold music.” Twitter replied with a trending hashtag #ezrakleinsholdmusic.

Have you seen a better example of what's wrong with the media today, and how clear it is that there is no such thing as journalism anymore?

In Walsh's disturbed view, people on the left should withhold from readers and viewers problems with the most far-reaching and impactful piece of legislation enacted in this country since Medicare almost 50 years ago.

That's what Walsh thinks is journalism, and why she's a featured contributor to MSNBC.

For some reason, Klein wasn't taking Walsh's view and tweeted his response Tuesday:

But Klein went further to illustrate how uncowed he was by Walsh's criticism publishing a very interesting interview hours ago with Clay Johnson, founder and CEO of the Department of Better Technology and the author of an e-book on modernizing the federal government's procurement process:

Ezra Klein: Your view is that HealthCare.Gov is symptomatic of larger problems in the way government manages IT and procurement. What do you mean by that?

Clay Johnson: Computer World yesterday came out with a report that took the last 10 years worth of IT procurements that are greater than $10 million and showed that 96 percent of them fail. They come in over budget, or vastly too late, or they don't work at all. To me, if you're going to spend a whole bunch of money on a process with a 96 percent failure rate, it pretty much guarantees it won't work out that well. This just isn't something we're very good at. And is a symptom of that overall problem.

EK: So why do you think the failure rate for these major IT projects in government is so high?

CJ: Generally in technology, smaller products that iterate into becoming larger after they get in front of customers and get used tend to work better than trying to build something with upfront requirements that may or may not work out.

The second reason is that because of the amount of money involved, government becomes really afraid of failure, which is a bit ironic, as this ends up leading to failure. But that fear of failure leads them to only want to work with known quantities, and known quantities mean contractors who've done this work in the past. That puts them with a group of entrenched vendors who haven't really had to compete in the world of technology.

The other part is that there aren't enough people inside government with the technical knowledge to oversee this stuff. In 1996, Newt Gingrich and the Republican revolution took out this Office of Technology Assessment that was kind of the digital brains of Congress. It was like an internal think tank on technology issues that advised Congress. That got axed. So there isn't a real technical brain inside of Congress because there's no one really advising them, the way lawyers advise them on the law, on technology. And you have some of the same problem in the executive branch. You have people like [CTO] Todd Park but it's not in every agency.

Read the whole piece. Fascinating stuff. I don't think I've ever said this, but bravo, Ezra!

As for Walsh, I have said this before: she should be ashamed of herself assuming she's capable of such a feeling anymore.

(HT Weasel Zippers)