Blackout: 400 Days Since ABC's 'Nightline' Covered IRS Scandal

As of June 19, 2014, it's been 400 days since Nightline, the once-serious news program, has covered the growing scandal involving the Internal Revenue Service's targeting of Tea Party organizations. This includes the new revelation that the IRS has "lost" former director Lois Lerner's e-mails and the hard drives have been destroyed. In fact, Lerner's name has never been uttered on Nightline.

What have these ABC journalists been covering instead? On June 18, Dan Abrams promoted a story on "real male strippers." He enthused, "They're revealing more than just their muscles...We go behind close doors as they expose their dirty secrets." Continuing the tabloid theme, on June 12, Juju Chang suggestively profiled, "Almost naked. They're spornosexuals, a combustible mix of sporty, sexy, metrosexuals. Meet the stars taking the World Cup by storm." [To see a montage of the superficial stories reported on Nightline, see below. MP3 audio here.]

On June 16, Dan Harris offered this not-so-news-worthy question: "What is it about the supremely sophomoric humor of 22 Jump Street that is setting box office records this summer?" 

Way back on May 13, 2013, then-co-host Bill Weir insisted that "President Obama vowed to get to the bottom of reports that...when it came to granting tax exempt status, the IRS gave unfair amount of scrutiny to groups with the words Tea Party" in their name. 

Previewing the show's lack of interest, he suggested, "You can see Jon Karl's reporting on the topic at ABCNEWS.com. Then weigh in on the Nightline Facebook page or tweet us @Nightline."  That story lasted 27 seconds. 

On May 15, 2013, then-anchor Terry Moran trumpeted, "A lot of Americans see this as a scandalous effort to silence conservatives."  On this date, ABC managed 40 seconds. For the next 13 months, Nightline didn't bother to cover the IRS scandal. 

On Wednesday, Politico reported

Ex-IRS official Lois Lerner’s crashed hard drive has been recycled, making it likely the lost emails of the lightening rod in the tea party targeting controversy will never be found, according to multiple sources.

“We’ve been informed that the hard drive has been thrown away,” Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, the top Republican on the Finance Committee, said in a brief hallway interview.

According to Congressman Darrell Issa, documents "don't just disappear without a trace unless that was the intention." 

Yet, the journalists at Nightline were more interested in male strippers and "spornosexuals." 

It's not just the IRS scandal. It's now been 217 since Nightlne bothered to cover ObamaCare and all the numerous problems with implimentation. 

Transcripts of the May 13 and May 15, 2013 Nightline coverage of the IRS scandal can be found below: 


5/15/13

1:05am 

TERRY MORAN: Now, tonight's "Closing Argument." Today, President Obama announced the resignation of acting IRS head Steven Miller and vowed to get to the bottom of reports that IRS officials targeted conservative organizations when determining whether or not to grant them tax exempt status. A lot of Americans see this as a scandalous effort to silence conservatives. So what do you think? Did the IRS carry out an organized politically motivated attack or was this violation spawned by a few bad apples? Weigh in on the "Nightline" Facebook page, tweet us at "Nightline" or at Terry Moran.

 

5/13/13

1:06am 

BILL WEIR: Today President Obama vowed to get to the bottom of reports that came, that when it came to granting tax exempt status, the IRS gave unfair amount of scrutiny to - groups with the words Tea Party or patriot in their title. With a congressional hearing slated for the end of the week, what do you make of all this? You can see Jon Karl's reporting on the topic at ABCNEWS.com. Then weigh in on the "Nightline" Facebook page or tweet us @nightline.

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