Did Obama and the Media’s Constant Vilification of Conservatives Cause the IRS Overreach?

Both parties constantly make accusations that their rival is engaged in hypocritical, unethical, or illegal behavior. But given the drastic lack of ideological diversity in the American elite media, the general public usually only hears about such accusations against Republicans.

Beyond the fact that biased reporting shapes public opinion to favor the left, it may also have an effect on law enforcement. The persistent lies that have been told about right-leaning political groups by leading Democrats, including President Obama himself, may have led to the IRS abuses of power that we’ve heard so much about in recent weeks.

Even assuming that the Internal Revenue Service decided to target conservative groups without explicit orders, the fact is that Obama and other Democrats have been smearing conservatives for so long with vague but outrageous charges of criminality, it’s no wonder that some bureaucratic goons decided to harass “tea party” and “patriot” groups.

The context of the audits is quite clear in retrospect, as Wall Street Journal columnist Kimberley Strassel demonstrated in an excellent piece the other week. After seeing that independent groups like Americans for Prosperity and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce were spending big dollars to defeat the president and boost his Republican opponent, Mitt Romney, the Obama campaign and the Democratic National Committee appear to have decided to go into overdrive.

Their attacks were designed to blunt the effectiveness of conservative groups’ advertising by getting a compliant media to start complaining about them. A person identified as a top White House official in an article at the Huffington Post described these campaign ads — campaign ads! — as “the most insidious power grab that we have seen in a very long time.” It didn’t matter whether the left’s insinuations were true or false. As Strassel demonstrated in her column, Obama kicked them off with a blistering attack on Americans for Prosperity in August of 2010, the very same month the IRS decided to begin targeting conservatives

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Matthew Sheffield
Matthew Sheffield
Matthew Sheffield, creator of NewsBusters and president of Dialog New Media, an internet marketing and design firm, left NewsBusters at the end of 2013