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January 13, 2010

GruberGate Fraud Ripped by Jane Hamsher (?) on Huffington Post (???)

Yeah, I don't know what the hell's going on myself.

This is the sort of post that makes me wish I had a third ball and a swimming pool full of tapioca.

Gruber is the MIT guy who was paid -- well paid: $392,000, jack! -- by the White House to run supposed analyses of the economic and other effects of the White House health care proposals.

But this paid relationship was never disclosed to the public. And to sell the White House's proposals, they kept offering up MIT professor Gruber's supposedly objective, third-party analysis. And the media ate it up.

Now the, ahem, special relationship has been revealed -- but no one in the media is talking about it at all.

How the White House Used Gruber's Work to Create Appearance of Broad Consensus


How did the feedback loop work? Well, take Gruber's appearance before the Senate HELP Committee on November 2, 2009, for which he used his microsimulation model to make calculations about small business insurance coverage. On the same day, Gruber released an analysis of the House health care bill, which he sent to Ezra Klein of the Washington Post. Ezra published an excerpt.

White House blogger Jesse Lee then promoted both Gruber's Senate testimony and Ezra Klein's article on the White House blog. "We thought it would all be a little more open and transparent if we went ahead and published what our focus will be for the day" he said, pointing to Gruber's "objective analysis." The "transparent" part apparently stopped when everyone got to Gruber's contractual relationship to the White House, which nobody in the three-hit triangle bothered to disclose.

But that was child's play compared to the effort that went into selling Gruber's analysis of the bill unveiled by the Senate on Wednesday, November 18. Two days later on Friday November 20, Gruber published a paper entitled "Impacts of the Senate High Cost Insurance Excise Tax on Wages: Updated," claiming that the excise tax would result in wage hikes of $234 billion from 2013 through 2019.

And it was off to the races.

The next day on the 21st, Ron Brownstein wrote in the Atlantic about Gruber's effusive praise for the cost-cutting measures in the bill: "Everything is in here....I can't think of anything I'd do that they are not doing in the bill. You couldn't have done better than they are doing," says Gruber.

On Monday the 23rd, the DNC was sending the Brownstein column around in its entirety...one of 71 emails they would send touting Gruber's work. It was also included in OFA's Monday Morning News Clips on BarackObama.com.

On Tuesday the 24th, OFA had another post touting the Brownstein article and citing Gruber as a "self-proclaimed skeptic on this stuff. The DNC sent that around, too. Mike Allen wrote that Obama had made the Brownstein article "mandatory reading" in the West Wing. TPM had the scoop that Rahm Emanuel told senior staffers "not to come back to the next day's meeting if they hadn't read the article."

David Brooks of the New York Times was not convinced that the Senate bill would be deficit neutral, so Peter Orszag pointed him to the Brownstein's "insightful article on health care costs" on the White House OMB blog that same day. It's hard to believe Orszag didn't know about Gruber's contract -- a search of the White House visitor logs indicates he met with Gruber on March 26, the day after his HHS contract was first awarded.

I'm stopping there, but she continues to document the White House-Gruber-Media love triangle. It goes on and on. White House pays a flack to write a report saying exactly what they want it to say, White House sends the report out to the media as objective verification, media publishes. And publishes. And publishes. And re-publishes and surreplublishes some more.

And now it's all exposed, and no one in the goddamn media has any questions about this at all.

Thanks to Sort of Mad Max.

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posted by Ace at 07:26 PM

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