David Weigel's writeup this afternoon at Bloomberg Politics ("Meet the Mild-Mannered Investment Advisor Who's Humiliating the Administration Over Obamacare") is about the guy who has found at least two incriminating videos of Jonathan Gruber revealing the true intentions behind the Affordable Care Act. In some respects, it's well done and interesting.
What's not well done is Bloomberg's choice of the pull quote to highlight:
Bloomberg may respond that Weigel qualified investment adviser Rich Weinstein's self-deprecating statement in the story's second paragraph ("He's joking about the mom and the tinfoil"). While that's partially exonerating, the fact is that many readers who look over at their computers' scroll bars will see how long the article is, and will move on while only seeing that pull quote. They of course will really believe that Weinstein really is a "guy who lives in his mom’s basement."
More substantively, Weinstein's scoops really betray the establishment press's clear unwillingess to investigate and report on the people behind the drafting and selling of the Affordable Care Act:
Meet the Mild-Mannered Investment Advisor Who's Humiliating the Administration Over Obamacare
A “nobody” named Rich Weinstein keeps digging up damaging clips about the ACA.
Rich Weinstein is not a reporter. He does not have a blog. Until this week, the fortysomething's five-year old Twitter account had a follower count in the low double digits.
“I’m an investment advisor,” Weinstein tells me from his home near Philadelphia. “I’m a nobody. I’m the guy who lives in his mom’s basement wearing a tinfoil hat.” (He's joking about the mom and the tinfoil.)
He's also behind a series of scoops that could convince the Supreme Court to dismantle part of the Affordable Care Act. Weinstein has absorbed hours upon hours of interviews with Jonathan Gruber, an MIT professor who advised the Massachusetts legislature when it created “Romneycare” and the Congress when it created “Obamacare.”
... “It’s terrifying that the guy in his mom’s basement is finding his stuff, and nobody else is,” he says. “I really do find this disturbing.”
Weinstein dates his accidental citizen journalism back to the end of 2013 and the first run of insurance cancellations or policy changes. He was among the people who got a letter informing him that his old policy did not meet ACA standards.
“When Obama said 'If you like your plan, you can keep your plan, period'—frankly, I believed him,” says Weinstein. “He very often speaks with qualifiers. When he said 'period,' there were no qualifiers. You can understand that when I lost my own plan, and the replacement cost twice as much, I wasn’t happy. So I’m watching the news, and at that time I was thinking: Hey, the administration was not telling people the truth, and the media was doing nothing!”
So Weinstein, new plan in hand, started watching the news. “These people were showing up on the shows, calling themselves architects of the law,” he recalls. “I saw David Cutler, Zeke Emanuel, Jonathan Gruber, people like that. I wondered if these guys had some type of paper trail. So I looked into what Dr. Cutler had said and written, and it was generally all about cost control. After I finished with Cutler, I went to Dr. Gruber. I assume I went through every video, every radio interview, every podcast. Every everything.”
Weinstein dug and dug and eventually discovered the first Gruber quote, known in conservative circles as the “speak-o.” Gruber had been on TV arguing that the case against subsidies in non-exchange states was ludicrous. Yet at a January 2012 symposium, Gruber seemed to be making the conservatives' argument. “What’s important to remember politically about this is if you're a state and you don’t set up an exchange, that means your citizens don't get their tax credits—but your citizens still pay the taxes that support this bill,” said Gruber. “So you’re essentially saying [to] your citizens you’re going to pay all the taxes to help all the other states in the country.”
Actually, David Weigel, there's no "seemed to be" about it. In that "speak-o" vid, Gruber was making the conservatives' argument.
I see Weigel's ode to Weinstein's "hours and hours" of work as a bit of a disingenuous attempt to let the establishment press off the hook for failing to find what has clearly been out there.
The Associated Press deserves a special mention here. AP assigned eleven reporters to review 2008 Republican Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin's book in 2009, but wire service health reporter Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar and others involved in covering the Affordable Care Act during the past several years somehow never found (or if they found it or knew it, never reported it) what Weinstein was able to find. How can that be? (That said, Obamacare's opponents didn't find it either, which makes one wonder how they could also be so ineffective.)
The press has also been extremely reluctant to report on another "architect," namely "Zeke the Bleak" Emanuel, who has a history of advocating the rationing of medical care to patients depending on their age and other "useful lives" factors.
Even more than usual when it comes to pet leftist causes, the press has been virtually allergic to reporting anything negative about Obamacare. So diggers like Rich Weinstein and others had better keep digging.
Which leads to an exit question every self-respecting editor at an establishment press outlet (which unfortunately appears to mean "very few") should be asking: How many of our reporters are fully aware of what Gruber has been saying, and have chosen not to report it?
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.