Feds Targeted Tax Records of Political Candidates; All Three Networks Ignore

 The tax records of political candidates and certain donors were improperly accessed by government officials, but the Justice Department has refused to prosecute, according to the Washington Times. This revelation, published on Tuesday, has been ignored by the morning and evening newscasts of CBS, NBC and ABC.

Times writers Dave Boyer and Ben Wolfgang explained, "In a written response to a request by [Senator Chuck] Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, [Inspector General for Tax Administration J. Russell] George said a review turned up four cases since 2006 in which unidentified government officials took part in 'unauthorized access or disclosure of tax records of political donors or candidates," including one case he described as 'willful.'"

Boyer and Wolfgang added:

Mr. Grassley has asked Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. to explain why the Justice Department chose not to prosecute any of the cases. The Iowa Republican told The Washington Times that the IRS "is required to act with neutrality and professionalism, not political bias."

The investigation did not name the government officials who obtained the IRS records improperly, nor did it reveal the identities or political parties of the people whose tax records were compromised. By law, taxpayer records at the IRS are supposed to be confidential.

Yet, instead of covering this, or the White House's defense on Wednesday, Good Morning America devoted over three and a half minutes to fashion, highlighting "celebrity summer secrets."

The Today show similarly ignored the topic and on Wednesday focused on "the art of wearing a hat," allowing two minutes and 29 seconds.

CBS This Morning featured the news that chocolate maker Hershey was trying to get into China's market.

Yet, all three didn't even have time for a news brief on the Obama administration's latest tax woes?

This shouldn't come as shocking news. A Media Research Center study found that, despite initial coverage, the networks quickly lost interest in the scandal involving the Internal Revenue Service abusively targeting conservatives:

The Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) news networks actually jumped to cover the story, filling their evening and morning shows with a total of 96 stories in the first two weeks (May 10 through May 23) of coverage. But after those two strong weeks, the broadcast networks lost interest in the scandal, and the coverage slowed to a crawl -- just 31 stories in the subsequent weeks (May 24 through June 12). So far this week (the six days spanning June 7 through June 12), the networks have run only one story (June 11 on ABC’s Good Morning America) on the IRS scandal.

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org