Brad Wilmouth reported this morning that CNN's John King made this comment about the Lois Lerner emails that the IRS now claims are supposedly lost: ""Do you believe in the Easter Bunny? Do you believe in Santa Claus? Do you believe that Lois Lerner's emails just suddenly went poof?" Well, CBS News seems to be in Easter Bunny belief mode based on their narrow online report Friday, IRS lost Lois Lerner's emails in tea party probe, which carefully avoids any curiosity as how such emails are now supposedly irretrievable. In fact their own former reporter Sharyl Attkisson is now asking on her website the questions that CBS should but so far hasn't been asking:
On Monday, only CBS This Morning reported Friday's stunning revelation that the IRS somehow lost two years worth of emails from Lois Lerner, the official at the center of the agency scandal in which conservative groups were unfairly targeted. At the top of the morning show, co-host Norah O'Donnell wondered: "How did the IRS lose emails in the scandal targeting conservatives after the government spent millions to back up data?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Introducing the later report, fellow co-host Charlie Rose noted: "The Washington Times says congressional Republicans are blasting the IRS for losing some of Lois Lerner's emails.... the controversy that started last year is erupting again." Correspondent Nancy Cordes reported: "Republican lawmakers, as you can imagine, are furious. They say the IRS has been promising to get them these emails for a year, and now suddenly says that Lois Lerner's computer crashed way back in 2011."
During New Day's regular "Inside Politics" segment on Monday, CNN's John King declared that it "makes me suspicious" as he informed viewers of revelations that some of former IRS official Lois Lerner's emails not only went missing, but that it took over a year for the White House to inform Congress.
After beginning the segment by rhetorically asking, "Do you believe in the Easter Bunny? Do you believe in Santa Claus? Do you believe that Lois Lerner's emails just suddenly went poof?" King recalled the details, including a quote from House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp complaining about it taking so long for the White House to inform him of the emails. King then commented:
Apparently two years of Lois Lerner’s emails have been lost, according to the IRS. The disappearance of the emails caused House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp to blast: “The fact that I am just learning about this, over a year into the investigation, is completely unacceptable and now calls into question the credibility of the IRS’s response to Congressional inquiries. There needs to be an immediate investigation and forensic audit by Department of Justice as well as the Inspector General.”
The question has to be asked: will the suspicious nature of this latest revelation be enough to get the Big Three networks to get back to covering the IRS-Tea Party scandal?
On Monday, the House Oversight Committee investigating the IRS targeting scandal released new e-mails that showed Lois Lerner sent a database of tax exempt organizations to the FBI right before the 2010 midterm elections.
So what was the reaction of anchors and reporters at the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC ) networks to the release of federally protected confidential taxpayer information? A big fat yawn. So far no one at the Big Three evening or morning shows have reported on this most recent development in the IRS-Tea Party targeting scandal.
For evidence that no one looking for objective reporting should seriously consider reading output from the Politico, look no further than the 5,900-word puff piece propagated by Carrie Budoff Brown and Jennifer Epstein on Sunday.
Their "Special Report: The Obama Paradox" told readers what that President Obama supposedly "recognizes that he is less in control of the Washington agenda than ever in his presidency — a reality that has left him deeply frustrated at times." Meanwhile, the EPA is going wild with carbon regs in the name of the "climate change" hoax, federal regulators are harassing banks and their customers who operating legal businesses in Operation Choke Point, and immigration policy has been unilaterally hijacked. And in a final irony, as the Politico pair were putting their handiwork to bed, Obama was conducting a prisoner swap — one soldier whose loyalties are questionable for five hardened terrorists — while violating a law requiring him to notify Congress of what he was going. "Less in control" my foot. Instead, we are seeing ever-expanding usurpation of authority by Obama and his executive branch.
The Associated Press's Charles Babington went so far over the top in his Monday morning dispatch on Republicans, the Obama administration's scandals, and the fall electoral landscape that it's hard to know where to begin.
The fingerprints of Obama administration operatives appear to be all over Babington's report, both in what's included and what's left out. Most notoriously, there is no mention whatsoever of the Veterans Administration scandal. Ah, but there's a specific reference to Democrats who complain that the Benghazi and IRS scandals have been "fading from national headlines" except at the specifically named Fox News. Excerpts from Babington's babbling follow the jump (bolds are mine):
The major news, announced on Thursday, that the IRS is going back to the drawing board on proposed rules that would’ve regulated political activity for groups like the Tea Party was ignored by two of the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) networks. Only CBS, on Friday’s CBS This Morning, covered the agency’s backtracking in a 19-second Charlie Rose brief.
According to Friday’s New York Times the delay, coming in the wake of the IRS/Tea Party scandal, was made “after receiving 150,000 comments — both positive and negative — about the proposal, the biggest public response to any proposed rule in its history.”
MSNBC’s Chris Matthews seems determined to kill the idea that unlike the Veterans Administration scandal, past Obama scandals such as the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups are not in fact legitimate issues to investigate.
Appearing on his nightly Hardball program on Wednesday, May 21, Matthews declared “For the first time, President Obama speaks out about the VA scandal and this is no phony IRS or Benghazi nonsense, this is the real deal.” [See video below.]
Frustrated by the Justice Department’s stonewalling of its IRS scandal investigation the House Oversight Committee, on Tuesday, sent a subpeona to Attorney General Eric Holder but you wouldn’t know that if you got your news from the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) networks.
The news that committee chairman Darrell Issa sent the subpoena to Holder, after a Justice Department official in charge of election crimes refused to testify about his role in the IRS scandal, went unreported on the Big Three’s Tuesday night and Wednesday morning programs.
MRC president Brent Bozell appeared on Fox's The Kelly File on Friday night to discuss the ongoing network blackout of the IRS-targeting scandal, despite the explosive new revelations about Sen. Carl Levin ordering the IRS exempt-organizations branch to explore his suspicions about right-wing groups.
Appearing with guest host Martha MacCallum, Bozell made the point that the networks could spend 20 minutes energetically defending Hillary Clinton and her head injuries from Karl Rove's barbs, but not on the Obama scandals. (Video below)
What will it take for ABC, CBS, and NBC to cover the IRS targeting scandal, which is no doubt bigger than Watergate? Time after time after time, we’ve seen major developments in this story go completely unreported, or, at best, given a few token seconds. The liberal media are downright allergic to the truth about the IRS scandal.
This administration has lied countless times to the media’s face, and they just continue to sit there and take it. They’re so lovesick with everything Obama that they can’t bring themselves to do their jobs and report the news. It’d be pitiful if it weren’t so dangerous for the country.
On Wednesday Judicial Watch released a new batch of IRS documents that showed “extensive pressure on the IRS by Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) to shut down conservative leaning organizations.” The documents also revealed the IRS’s handling of the Tea Party applications was directed out of the agency’s DC headquarters, contrary to initial claims that blamed low-level officials in Cincinnati.
Coverage by the Big Three (ABC, NBC, CBS) networks on their Wednesday evening and Thursday morning shows? 0 seconds. (video after the jump)
On Friday night’s The Kelly File, Megyn Kelly explained there were important new developments in the IRS-targeting scandal, from Lois Lerner being cited by the House for contempt of Congress to demands for a special prosecutor.
Kelly brought on MRC president Brent Bozell to ask: How much time has it received from the networks? Fifteen seconds,” Brent reported in an interview taped Thursday. “Wow,” Kelly replied. “Maybe they were covering more important things.” (Video, transcript below)
On Thursday’s edition of The Kelly File, host Megyn Kelly invited on attorney Cleta Mitchell, who represents groups targeted by the IRS, to talk about a new House Republican report that found 10 percent of tea party donors were audited by the IRS. So far ABC, CBS and NBC have failed to cover the new report.
After Kelly played a clip of Republican Congressman Charles Boutsany revealing the findings that “after groups provided the information to the IRS, nearly one in ten donors were subject to audit,” she let Mitchell offer a specific example of abuse. [Video after the jump]
The New York Times is desperately trying to reduce Republican complaints of the IRS persecution of Tea Party groups and the White House cover-up of the massacre of Americans in Benghazi to cynical GOP campaign ploys trotted out in an election year.
The paper's strategy is exemplified in Thursday's story by Jeremy Peters, "House Vote on Former I.R.S. Official Signals Element of G.O.P. Election Strategy." The House voted 231-178 to hold former IRS official Lois Lerner in contempt for refusing to testify before Congress, and requested a special prosecutor to investigate the agency’s targeting of Tea Party groups. But you would have a tough time figuring that out from Peters's shallow, partisan, politically obsessed reporting, light on details but heavy on suggestions of unfair GOP politics. Peters couldn't even finish his lead sentence without referring to how Republicans hoped to employ the IRS issue, as well as Benghazi and Obama-care, to their advantage in the mid-term elections.
Once again, as it did a month ago in two separate stories, the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, left the name of Lois Lerner, the former IRS official who ran its section on tax-exempt organizations, out of its headline and opening paragraph. This time, for good measure, AP reporter Stephen Ohlemacher didn't reveal Lerner's name until Paragraph 3.
Before getting to Ohlemacher's journalistic malpractice, let's take a look at the how the Politico handled the same story of Congress holding Ms. Lerner in contempt yesterday, and at one example of how the AP itself covered the story of another controversial figure's anticipated congressional appearance in the 1980s.
Not even a full vote by the House of Representatives to hold Lois Lerner in contempt can shake the networks out of their slumber in covering the IRS scandal. On Wednesday the House voted 231-178 (all Republicans voted yes with six Democrats) to hold Lerner in contempt for refusing to testify about the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups. Total coverage by ABC, CBS and NBC? Just a 15-second brief on Thursday’s edition of ABC’s Good Morning America.
However the Big Three networks did find the 110x more time this week to tout the “dire” and “alarming” findings from the White House climate change report.
On the Friday, April 25, PoliticsNation on MSNBC, during a discussion of FNC host Sean Hannity's reaction to racist comments by Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, MSNBC host Al Sharpton went after Hannity's decision to reiterate some of his complaints about the Obama administration on his Hannity show after condemning Bundy's racism.
Guest Joan Walsh of Salon magazine ended up comparing Hannity's anti-Obama complaints to criticisms of the Clinton administration in the 1990s which she asserted "culminated in Timothy McVeigh." [See video below.]
On Wednesday Darrell Issa demanded Attorney General Eric Holder answer new questions about the Justice Department’s role in the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups. In a letter sent to Holder, Issa sought answers about a newly released email between former IRS official Lois Lerner and DOJ official Richard Pilger in which Pilger asks Lerner “When you have a moment, will you call me? I’ve been asked to run something by you” and requests who at the IRS “DOJ folks could talk to” about ways to target politically involved non-profit groups.
So far none of the broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, NBC) reported on this latest IRS scandal development on their evening or morning shows.
Tuesday's World News on ABC stood out as the only Big Three network evening newscast to cover a new "watchdog report" that found that the IRS "handed out more than $1 million in bonuses to employees who were delinquent on their federal taxes." Jeff Zeleny also pointed out how "more than 1,000 IRS workers, who didn't pay their taxes, received not only cash bonuses, but extra time off." [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
By contrast, NBC Nightly News and CBS Evening News on Tuesday both devoted air time to the 50th anniversary of the 1964 World's Fair in New York City. NBC's Brian Williams also gave a 28-second news brief on Prince William and Princess Kate's visit to Ayers Rock in Australia, where they posed at the same spot as the prince's parents during the 1980s:
On Thursday morning's New Day, CNN reported the newest development in the IRS scandal that the broadcast networks ignored: the former IRS chief contacting the Justice Department about criminal investigations of tax-exempt groups.
"The activist group Judicial Watch has released e-mails that show the agency in talks with the Justice Department to investigate some tax exempt organizations for possible fraud," reported CNN's John Berman. He added that according to the e-mails, "criminal investigations" were a possibility before the IRS targeting scandal broke last year.
On Tuesday the Republican National Committee (RNC) filed a lawsuit against the IRS for that agency’s “illegal stonewalling” of the RNC’s request of documents related to the targeting of conservative groups.
So far there hasn’t been one second of airtime on ABC, CBS, NBC’s Tuesday evening shows or Wednesday morning shows. The New York Times and Washington Post also have yet to devote even a sentence to RNC’s lawsuit in their print editions.
At this point it might take a dead body to get the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) networks to give the IRS-Tea Party scandal any sort of real coverage. Huge developments in the last week – like IRS official Lois Lerner receiving a criminal referral from the House Ways and Means Committee and e-mails proving she fed tax information on a targeted group to the staff of Rep. Elijah Cummings (D) – were completely censored by ABC and NBC news. Only a 90 second report on Thursday’s CBS This Morning kept last week’s revelations from being totally blacked out on the Big Three networks.
In the last seven days the following IRS scandal developments have emerged:
On Monday, all three network morning shows found time to worry about IRS budget cuts meaning fewer audits and longer wait times for taxpayer assistance, but not one mentioned the ongoing scandal embroiling the agency, including Congress issuing a criminal referral for former IRS official Lois Lerner. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On ABC's Good Morning America, news anchor Amy Robach warned: "More tax evaders could slip through the cracks this year....we are learning the IRS will have the fewest agents auditing returns since the 1980s due to budget cuts and new IRS responsibilities." On Friday, ABC's World News covered the same story – while ignoring the House Ways and Means Committee calling for Lerner's prosecution.
Fox News Sunday was the only Sunday show that discussed the latest revelations in the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups. As a result, viewers were treated to host Chris Wallace grilling Congressman Sander Levin (D-MI) over why the IRS targeted 100 percent of conservative groups as opposed to only 30 percent of liberal groups.
Appearing on Sunday April 13, Wallace challenged Levin: “30 percent of organizations with progress or progressive in their names were examined as possible political groups. And, therefore, not included -- would not have been considered for tax exempt status. But 100 percent of groups with Tea Party, Patriot or 9/12 in their names were examined. Congressman Levin, 248 conservative groups were examined, but only 29 liberal groups. How do you explain that disparity?” [See video below.]
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.
Earlier this week, Town Hall revealed that former IRS official Lois Lerner fed tax information from the conservative group “True the Vote” to Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-MD). Cummings is the ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, and recently made headlines for his confrontation with Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) over Lois Lerner’s recent testimony before the committee.
Despite this new report, CBS’ Bob Schieffer failed to bring up the IRS scandal at all during his interview with Cummings on Face the Nation on Sunday April 13. Instead, Schieffer found time to discuss liberals’ newest talking point, that women get paid less than their male counterparts.
Last week, the House Oversight Committee asked the Justice Department to seek criminal charges against former IRS official Lois Lerner. Despite the newest revelations in the IRS scandal, the Associated Press’ Julie Pace attempted to excuse the lack of media coverage.
Appearing as a panelist on Fox News Sunday on April 13, Pace argued, “If you are going to keep the story going and you want to keep the investigation going, eventually there has to be some material there to work with. And we're in this period of time where we don't have a lot to work with.”
On Wednesday April 9, the House Oversight Committee voted to send a criminal referral to the Department of Justice for former IRS official Lois Lerner. Despite the severity of this most recent revelations into the IRS’ targeting of Tea Party organizations, ABC and NBC continue to ignore the story.
After all three networks failed to cover the story on their nightly news broadcasts on Wednesday, only CBS This Morning bothered to mention the revelations on Thursday April 10. Co-host Norah O’Donnell described the events as such: “The House Oversight Committee today is expected to hold a retired IRS official in contempt of Congress. Republicans say Lois Lerner led an effort to investigate Tea Party organizations. She's refused to testify at two committee hearings claiming her Fifth Amendment rights.” [See video below.]