Over the last seven days, three major revelations have emerged surrounding the IRS’ targeting of Tea Party groups. Despite the new stories, on Sunday April 13, three of the four Sunday shows, NBC’s Meet the Press, CBS’s Face the Nation and ABC’s This Week, all ignored them, whereas Fox News Sunday was the only program to mention the IRS at all.
On Wednesday April 9, The Washington Times revealed that a Dallas IRS office was covered with Vote for Obama stickers and engaging in campaign cheerleading. On the same day, The Hill broke a story revealing that Lois Lerner fed tax information to Elijah Cummings (D-MD) who sits on the committee in charge of overseeing the IRS investigation. And finally, the House Ways and Means Committee voted last week to refer Lois Lerner for criminal charges, yet the big three didn’t mention any of these stories on Sunday.
When questioned on Fox News Sunday by Chris Wallace, the Associated Press’ Julie Pace defended the lack of IRS coverage, explaining that “We don’t have a lot to work with.“ Fox News contributor Brit Hume shot her down and argued that "The same set of facts…would have touched off in previous days a media firestorm. What we had was kind of a campfire in most of the media, which was doused before very long, and the story has been basically dormant.”
Bob Schieffer, host of CBS’ Face the Nation had the best opportunity to discuss the IRS when he interviewed Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) but chose to ignore the scandal altogether. The Sunday show blackout of the IRS scandal should come as no surprise given that the networks have refused to cover the latest revelations for much of last week.
On Friday April 11, ABC’s World News had time to hype the IRS’s help line wait times and smaller budget but didn’t mention the criminal referral for Lerner. On April 9, the day the vote urging criminal charges against Ms. Lerner occurred, none of the network nightly news shows covered the vote, and CBS This Morning was the only network morning show to cover the story on Wednesday April 10.