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


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.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

Share your feedback: We’re planning to launch a new version of the comments section. Help us test it.