Only CBS Evening News Covers Latest IRS Hearings

On June 23 and 24, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held multiple hearings surrounding the revelations that the hard drive of former IRS executive Lois Lerner had been destroyed containing thousands of emails pertinent to the investigation of their targeting of conservative groups. 

Despite the new details and the subsequent congressional hearings, the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley has been the only network evening news program to cover the revelations, with ABC and NBC ignoring the story altogether. [See video below.]

On Tuesday, June 24, CBS’s Scott Pelley highlighted how “Today on Capitol Hill, House Republicans held another fiery hearing on Lois Lerner's missing e-mails. Their third hearing in five days. Lerner is the former IRS executive at the center of an investigation into why some conservative groups, including Tea Party affiliates, received extra scrutiny when they applied for tax-exempt status.” 

Reporter Nancy Cordes informed her audience that “Today on Capitol Hill, House Republicans Republicans trained their ire on Jennifer O'Connor, a new White House lawyer who worked at the IRS for six months last year.”  

As the report continued, Cordes noted how “Republicans want all of Lerner’s e-mails because she led the division at the IRS. that improperly scrutinized applications submitted by conservative groups for tax exempt status....The man who oversees the government's archives, David Ferriero, testified that the IRS and other agencies use outdated technology and poor backup systems.” 

Rather than cover the IRS scandal, ABC’s World News with Diane Sawyer provided full stories on the NBA player LeBron James opting out of his contract with the Miami Heat and on Uruguay’s Luis Suarez supposedly biting an opponent during the World Cup. On NBC Nightly News, Brian Williams hyped Queen Elizabeth meeting the cast of the television show “Game of Thrones.” 

All three network morning shows covered the IRS on Tuesday morning but all portrayed the latest hearings as "another round of bitter partisanship."

See relevant transcript below. 


CBS 

CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley 

June 24, 2014

SCOTT PELLEY: Today on Capitol Hill, House Republicans held another fiery hearing on Lois Lerner's missing e-mails. Their third hearing in five days. Lerner is the former IRS executive at the center of an investigation into why some conservative groups, including Tea Party affiliates, received extra scrutiny when they applied for tax-exempt status. Nancy Cordes is following this. 

NANCY CORDES: Today, Republicans trained their ire on Jennifer O'Connor, a new White House lawyer who worked at the IRS for six months last year. Committee Chairman Darrell Issa. 

DARRELL ISSA: They hired you as soon as we said we want a bunch of documents, correct?

JENNIFER O’CONNOR: Mr. Werfel, who was the acting commissioner-- 

ISSA: Yes or no, please. You're a hostile witness. Yes or no, were you hired? 

O’CONNOR: I'm not at all a hostile witness. 

ISSA: Yes, you are. 

CORDES: Republicans want to know why it took the IRS this long to determine Lois Lerner's hard drive crashed three years ago. 

JIM JORDAN: You’re telling us you did not have any inclination that a bunch of Lois Lerner’s emails were lost? 

O’CONNOR: I did not know that her e-mails were miss missing and unrecoverable and that there had been a laptop crash that had caused that. 

CORDES: Republicans want all of Lerner’s e-mails because she led the division at the IRS. that improperly scrutinized applications submitted by conservative groups for tax exempt status. Democrats say she's guilty of bad judgment and nothing more. Maryland's Elijah Cummings: 

ELIJAH CUMMINGS: No one of the 41 witnesses we have interviewed has identified any evidence of White House involvement or political motivation, not one. 

CORDES: The man who oversees the government's archives, David Ferriero, testified that the IRS and other agencies use outdated technology and poor backup systems. 

DAVID FERRIERO: The Federal Records Act today says print and save. This is 2014, and we're printing and saving? This is embarrassing. 

CORDES: Federal agencies have been ordered to manage all of their email records electronically by the end of 2016. In Lerner's case, the IRS only backed up e-mails for six months before recycling those disks, a process that has now been changed, Scott?

PELLEY: Nancy Cordes on Capitol Hill, Nancy, thank you.

Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center.