Networks Refuse to Report Latest IRS Scandal Revelations

The saga of Lois Lerner’s missing emails took a bunch of twists and turns this past week, but you wouldn’t know that if you only got your news from the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) networks. On July 21, it was reported that even more IRS officials had their hard drives crash on them, including employees who “routinely corresponded” with Lerner. What a coincidence! On that same day it was revealed that a top IRS official was uncertain if backup tapes of Lerner’s lost emails still existed. The next day the story changed again when it was reported that Lerner’s hard drive was only “scratched” and the data was recoverable.

Then on July 23 the head of the IRS testified that the back up tapes had finally been discovered but stressed he does not “how they found them” or “whether there’s anything on them or not.” So how many of these intriguing nuggets were reported on any of the network evening or morning shows last week?

Zero.

The last time the IRS story was mentioned on the Big Three nets was almost a week ago on the July 19 CBS This Morning. The last time ABC offered an IRS story was on the July 17 Good Morning America. And you have to go all the way back to last month (June 24 Today show) to find the last time NBC touched the scandal.

And the Lerner missing email story didn’t exactly heat up coverage of the IRS targeting controversy. Since the story first broke over a month ago on June 13 there have been a total of just 18 stories (CBS 10, NBC 5, ABC 3) on the IRS scandal through the morning of July 28.

The following is a list of the IRS revelations from this past week that have NOT been covered by the networks:
 

More Crashed Hard Drives at the IRS Reported



On July 21 The Blaze reported the following:

A senior Obama administration official has told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that several other IRS officials have had “computer problems” over the last few years, including some who were close to former IRS employee Lois Lerner.

The committee released a partial transcript of an interview it conducted last week with IRS Deputy Associate Chief Counsel Tom Kane, who reported the computer problems. When asked how many others might be having this problem, Kane said it was “less than 20.”

The IRS has told the House that several more IRS workers have experienced a computer crash, including some who worked with former IRS official Lois Lerner. Among that number are a few who worked closely at the IRS division dealing with tax-exempt organizations, which Lerner headed. Lerner has since become the prime target of Republican investigators, although the GOP has been hindered by the supposed loss of her emails.

According to the committee, another IRS official who suffered computer problems is Justin Lowe, a technical adviser to the commissioner of Tax-Exempt and Government Entities.

Another is David Fish, an adviser to Lois Lerner. Andy Megosh was also named; he is a manager of Exempt Organizations Guidance.

Kane also noted that the computer of Kimberly Kitchens, an IRS agent in Cincinnati who donated to President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign, also crashed. Lerner originally blamed low-level officials in Cincinnati for the targeting scandal.

Network coverage: 0 stories  

 

IRS Official Says Backup of Lois Lerner’s Emails May Not Exist



On July 21 Politico reported the following:

A top IRS official is now uncertain about whether backup tapes of the lost Lois Lerner emails may exist, according to testimony released by Republicans — a potentially significant plot twist in the controversy that has shaken the IRS in recent weeks.
IRS Deputy Associate Chief Counsel Thomas Kane, who oversees the tax-collecting agency’s document production to Congress, told the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in private testimony that he’s now unsure whether all the backup tapes with correspondence from the ex-IRS official were recycled.

“I don’t know if there is a backup tape with information on it or there isn’t,” he told investigators Thursday, according to a partial transcript released by Republicans on the committee Monday.

The IRS official suggested new information has come to light since the IRS revealed in a June 13 letter to Congress that two years of Lerner emails were lost in a 2011 computer crash. Lerner was the head of the tax-exempt division that singled out conservative groups for additional scrutiny and since has become a lightning rod for Republicans probing the matter.

Network coverage: 0 stories


Lerner Hard Drive Was Only ‘Scratched’



On July 22 NBCNews.com reported:

Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee say that their investigators have learned that the hard drive belonging to former IRS official Lois Lerner was “scratched” and that data was recoverable, according to a release from the committee.

The release says that it’s unclear if the scratch was put there deliberately or accidentally. Republicans are now accusing the IRS of not being forthcoming after they said in court filings that the data on Lerner's hard drive was unrecoverable.

“It is unbelievable that we cannot get a simple, straight answer from the IRS about this hard drive,” Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) said in a statement, “The Committee was told no data was recoverable and the physical drive was recycled and potentially shredded. To now learn that the hard drive was only scratched, yet the IRS refused to utilize outside experts to recover the data, raises more questions about potential criminal wrong doing at the IRS.”

Network coverage: 0 stories   

 

IRS Head Confirms Investigators Have Found Lerner’s Backup Tapes



On July 23 FoxNews.com reported the following:

The head of the IRS confirmed Wednesday that investigators looking into missing emails from ex-agency official Lois Lerner have found and are reviewing “backup tapes” -- despite earlier IRS claims that the tapes had been recycled.

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, testifying before a House oversight subcommittee, stressed that he does not know “how they found them” or “whether there’s anything on them or not.” But he said the inspector general’s office advised him the investigators are reviewing tapes to see if they contain any “recoverable” material.

The revelation is significant because the IRS claimed, when the agency first told Congress about the missing emails, that backup tapes “no longer exist because they have been recycled.”    

Network coverage: 0 stories

Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens is the Deputy Research Director at the Media Research Center.