Back in January, I wrote about both ethanol and the stimulus bill, observing:
I have decided there is something that is very predictable about the media: they usually are very sympathetic to legislation expanding government powers or spending when the legislation is being discussed in Congress. Then, after the legislation is passed, and there is nothing that can be done to get rid of it, the media gets really insightful all of a sudden, running thoughtful pieces about the hidden problems and unintended consequences of the legislation
My emerging theorem about the media is that they want to be on the record as having predicted problems with legislation, but that for leftish legislation they personally support, they defer their most insightful analysis until after the law has passed. That way, their favored legislation gets on the books, but they are also on the record as having spotted potential problems and can make the argument later that they were not rubes or useful idiots.
We are seeing this yet again, as the New York Times questions some obvious flaws with the Dartmouth health savings data (ht Insty)
Of course, the article misses the most obvious point -- while the Dartmouth data was certainly used to try to sell Obamacare, nothing in the actual legislation does anything to capture these supposed potential savings. The $700 billion in waste number is more of a sort of happy thought that lets politicians sign the ridiculously expensive bill while pretending that some mythical savings are somehow available in the future through unidentified mechanisms to pay for the program.