Quote of the Day: In Shocking Development, Media Org Gets Suckered By Darrell Issa Once Again

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From ABC News:

This post has been updated to include an expanded response from CMS and a statement from the ranking member of the House Oversight Committee.

OK, I admit that doesn’t seem like much of a quote. But Steve Benen provides the backstory: ABC ran a story today about “two high findings of risk” in the Obamacare website. This came via a leak from Darrell Issa, who is practically infamous for leaking partial transcripts of hearings that are wildly misleading. But ABC ran with it anyway. So here’s what CMS said when they got a chance to respond:

In one case, what was initially flagged as a high finding was proven to be false,” the agency said in a statement. “In the other case, we identified a piece of software code that needed to be fixed and that fix is now in place. Since that time, the feature has been fully mitigated and verified by an independent security assessment, per standard practice.”

The administration maintains that no components of the website were allowed to go live after Oct. 1 with “open [unresolved] high findings.”

….The ranking Democrat on the committee, Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., has accused Issa of a “reckless pattern of leaking partial and misleading information” about the website operations.

“The very same witness interviewed by the Committee also said there have been absolutely no security breaches of the website and that she is satisfied with the current security testing,” Cummings said in a statement responding to the release of Fryer’s testimony. “This effort to leak cherry-picked information is part of a deliberate campaign to scare the American people and deny them the quality affordable health insurance to which they are entitled under the law.”

Naturally, Cummings’ statement was relegated to the very last paragraph of the piece. But that’s basically the whole story. One bug turned out to be trivial and the other has been fixed and never caused any problems. This is exactly what’s supposed to happen with bugs. For all practical purposes, the update undermines the entire story.

When will reporters learn not to trust Issa? Judging by current practice, never.

UPDATE: It turns out this is even worse than I thought. Michael Hiltzik has the full story here.

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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