The ongoing effort to insulate President Barack Obama from the negative consequences of his "signature achievement," not only with the HealthCare.gov web site but also his false "If you like your plan-doctor-provider, you can keep your plan-doctor-provider" guarantees, is a sickening sight to behold.
Reid Epstein at the Politico contributed one small chapter in that exercise. He decided to "report" on the portion of the President's interview with MSNBC sycophant Chris Matthews (some related NewsBusters posts are here, here, and here) concerning whether Obama's "management style" contributed to "problems with the Obamacare rollout." The predictable answers: Of course not, he doesn't need to change anything, and there's no reason why a reporter should even be the least bit skeptical. Oh, and it's really all Congress's fault (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
On Monday Rep. Darrell Issa, the chairman of the Oversight Committee investigating the IRS’s targeting of the Tea Party, made a stunning claim that the FBI was stonewalling his investigation.
Last week, Issa was so frustrated with William Wilkins' testimony, in which he used the phrase “I don’t recall” 80 times, he accused the IRS chief counsel of “either a deliberate attempt to obfuscate” or “gross incompetence.” Number of Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) stories on these stunning allegations? Zero.
Five months after dropping coverage of the Internal Revenue Service scandal, ABC's Good Morning America on Wednesday finally found time to allow a few seconds to mention the targeting of conservatives. CBS and NBC on Tuesday and Wednesday both ignored the fact that the Obama administration is doubling down and now attempting to rein in non-profit groups.
GMA's Josh Elliott blandly noted, "In the wake of the IRS targeting scandal, the Obama administration wants to limit the political influence of tax-exempt groups." He added that the White House is seeking to create new "donation standards to curb the explosive growth in political spending." Elliott added, "The IRS has been accused of unfairly scrutinizing groups affiliated with the Tea Party." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
The latest and greatest Obama scandal is the disastrous Obamacare rollout, but it has something in common with all the others (besides Obama knew nothing). Some journalists are still brazenly trying to deny against all evidence that this scandal has any substance at all.
The same people who freaked out over President Bush's one sentence in one State of the Union speech that Saddam Hussein sought uranium in Africa are now making excuses for Obama saying everywhere, endlessly, "If you like your insurance plan, you will keep it. No one will be able to take that away from you." To them, that's not lying -- blatantly, repeatedly, shamelessly. He simply "misspoke," claimed the New York Times editorial page.
On October 31 theWashington Examiner’s Paul Bedard reported the following: “The Internal Revenue Service shared highly confidential tax information of several Tea Party groups in the IRS scandal with the Federal Election Commission, a clear violation of federal law, according to newly obtained emails. The public watchdog group Judicial Watch told Secrets Thursday that it was former scandal boss Lois Lerner who shared the information on groups including the American Future Fund and the American Issues Project.’”
So far none of the Big Three (ABC, NBC, CBS) networks have reported the latest IRS scandal finding. In fact, they’ve stopped reporting on the IRS scandal altogether.
On October 9The Blaze reported the following: “Sarah Hall Ingram, the Internal Revenue Service official who used to head the office directly involved in the targeting of conservative groups, may have shared confidential taxpayer information with White House officials, according to 2012 emails uncovered by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Ingram, who now heads the IRS’s Obamacare enforcement division, counseled senior White House officials on how to deal with a lawsuit from religious groups opposed to the Obamacare contraception mandate.”
So far ABC, CBS and NBC have yet to report on the latest IRS scandal disclosure. In fact they’ve stopped reporting on the IRS scandal altogether. It’s been 106 days since ABC last mentioned the IRS targeting scandal, way back on June 26. NBC hasn’t touched the story in 105 days and CBS last did an IRS story 77 days ago on July 24.
On October 1 theWashington Times reported that Dr. Ben Carson revealed he had his first ever encounter with the IRS after he delivered a speech critical of public policy in front of Barack Obama at the National Prayer Breakfast back in February. So far ABC, CBS and NBC have yet to report on this stunning revelation. In fact they’ve stopped reporting on the IRS scandal altogether.
It’s been 99 days since ABC last mentioned the IRS targeting scandal, way back on June 26. NBC hasn’t touched the story in 98 days and CBS last did an IRS story 70 days ago on July 24.
As Brent Bozell at NewsBusters noted earlier today, news of the forced retirement of the IRS's Lois Lerner, the agency's chief orchestrator of the campaign which targeted tea party and other conservative groups for extra scrutiny in their applications for not-for-profit status, "was censored by ABC, CBS, and NBC."
In what may surprise some, that lack of coverage didn't occur because of the Associated Press. Stephen Ohlemacher's story was mostly well-done, with two significant exceptions.
Tuesday's Today show didn't even mention the retirement of Lois Lerner, the IRS official at the center of the Tea Party targeting scandal, but it aired two full segments on President Obama talking about his old smoking habit.
"The President caught on an open mic bragging to a fellow world leader about finally beating the smoking habit," political director Chuck Todd started his report. He pointed out Obama's inconsistency with the facts in saying he hadn't smoked in six years, by noting that the President confessed in 2009 to giving into his habit.
The New York Times won this morning’s athletic effort to bury the story of Lois Lerner retiring over “gross mismangement” of the IRS tax-exempt organizations branch. At the very bottom of page A-14, in the second item under a “National Briefing” header, the Times ran a 77-word AP snippet, because who really cares when Tea Party groups are harassed by the Obama administration?
The 1379-word lead item in the National section explored “An Effort to Punish Posting of Nude Images After Breakups.” (First idea: don't send nude electronic images.) The caption under a large picture explained "Marianna Taschinger, 23, in Groves, Tex., is suing her ex-boyfriend and a Web site known for 'revenge porn' where nude photographs of her were posted." The other papers were competitive in burying this item:
The censorship of the IRS scandal by ABC, CBS and NBC has reached a new low. Not even the news of Lois Lerner’s retirement, the official at the center of the IRS Tea Party targeting scandal, could break the Big Three networks’ months-long streak of no scandal coverage.
The Drudge Report splashed the news on the top of its site on Monday but not a single network bothered to report the stunning news that night or Tuesday morning that Lerner, as the Washington Times reported, “retired from the agency Monday morning after an internal investigation found she was guilty of ‘neglect of duties’ and was going to call for her ouster, according to congressional staff.”
An incredulous Stuart Varney brought NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell on his Varney & Co. program this morning to discuss how "[t]he mainstream media [have been] completely ignoring one the the biggest news stories of the year," by devoting zero news stories to the IRS scandal since July.
"Is that accurate, they haven't even mentioned it since those dates we put up on the screen?!" Varney asked Bozell at the segment. "It's fascinating and so troubling" because we have "one of the greatest abuses in my lifetime, the greatest abuse of federal power ever, where you're using the most-feared arm of government against the people and you're seeing one revelation after another" which the networks simply refuse to cover. The Media Research Center founder and president rattled off just a few [LISTEN to mp3 audio here; WATCH the video below the page break]:
CNN has all but ignored a new report that according to IRS documents, the agency gave extra scrutiny to 162 political groups – 80 percent of them conservative – that were seeking tax-exempt status.
A USA Todayreport stated that the IRS "flagged" groups based on "'anti-Obama rhetoric', inflammatory language and 'emotional' statements." CNN briefly mentioned the bombshell report once, on Wednesday's Early Start at 5:08 a.m. ET. The network has ignored the report since, moving to join the networks in their blackout.
ABC, CBS and NBC have so far refused to report the latest bombshell in the IRS scandal - a newly released list from the agency that showed it flagged political groups for “anti-Obama rhetoric.” On September 18 the USA Today, in a front page story, reported the following: “Newly uncovered IRS documents show the agency flagged political groups based on the content of their literature, raising concerns specifically about ‘anti-Obama rhetoric,’ inflammatory language and ‘emotional’ statements made by non-profits seeking tax-exempt status.”
Not only have ABC, CBS and NBC not reported this story they’ve flat out stopped covering the IRS scandal on their evening and morning shows. It’s been 85 days since ABC last touched the story on June 26. NBC hasn’t done a report for 84 days and CBS last mentioned the IRS scandal 56 days ago on July 24.
If President Barack Obama is losing Al Hunt, there is definitely trouble in Lefty-land.
But let's not go too far. In the midst of leveling criticisms at Obama as "bordering on incompetence," the former host of CNN's Capital Gang and executive editor at Bloomberg News, who is now a Bloomberg View columnist and host of a Bloomberg TV's Political Capital Sunday news show, cited three examples of supposedly indisputable George W. Bush administration incompetence, none of which fits the description.
CNN's Erin Burnett has not covered the IRS targeting scandal since May 22, yet she had time on Wednedsay's OutFront to report the mock-controversy that President Obama does not own a cat.
"Now, there is a major story of controversy at the White House," Burnett began her "Outtake" on Wednesday about the Obamas' new dog. "Cat owners are up in arms that President Obama did not choose a cat. The cat lobby thinks with 39 percent of American households owning at least one cat, the President is cutting out a huge group of American voters."
The thought of ObamaCare makes many Americans uneasy. The American people know that this overhaul of the health care system drives up the cost of health care, undermines the doctor-patient relationship and vastly expands the role of the federal government.
The national media’s coverage of the health care reform law has been anything but balanced. From the onset, the media have used emotional, anecdotal stories to help sell Obamacare. Newspapers have buried polls deep within their pages that show a majority of Americans’ favor a repeal of the health care program. And many media outlets have refused to cover the recent setbacks to this major health care overhaul.
Would the media feel compelled to cover the IRS Tea Party-targeting scandal if investigators found that targeting was ongoing in the Obama administration? Apparently not. It didn't come up at Obama's press conference.
Paul Bedard of The Washington Examiner reported Friday that the House Ways and Means Committee was told "the agency is still targeting Tea Party groups, three months after the IRS scandal erupted." Apparently, no one in Obama-land feels intimidated by the media in the slightest to change their politicized behavior:
For more than two weeks, President Obama and his spokesmen have scoffed at the various investigations of potential wrongdoing surrounding his administration, belittling them as “phony scandals” that have “distracted” Washington. But a Fox News poll released Thursday finds that even among Democrats, Obama’s “phony scandal” is falling flat, discovering that “voters across the partisan spectrum” say Benghazi, NSA eavesdropping, the IRS targeting of conservatives, and the seizure of journalists’ phone records as serious matters.
As for the three broadcast networks, they have essentially buried the administration’s not-so-subtle (and apparently ineffective) attempt to push these scandals away. Not only did all three broadcast networks skip the Fox poll this morning, ABC and NBC have done Obama the apparent favor of never reporting his “phony scandal” mantra on either their morning or evening news broadcasts, and giving it just a passing mention on their July 28 Sunday talk shows.
The Washington Post’s Josh Hicks can’t be living under a rock, so his piece of the IRS’ postponement of their August furlough day is probably just fluff to fill space on the website. His August 8 story had no mention of the fact that the agency is under a congressional microscope from its past activities of targeting both conservative and progressive groups. This, along with the analysis done by NewsBusters’ Geoff Dickens, is another example of the news media giving the agency political cover.
Frankly, any interesting piece of news coming from the IRS should be about the scandal, especially since Hicks quotes Colleen Kelley, the president of the National Treasury Employees Union, who has a tenuous connection to the scandal itself. Last May, Jeffrey Lord at the American Spectator wrote that Kelley could be the “smoking gun” in the IRS scandal. She met with the president on March 31, 2010, and the alleged targeting began the next day. As Lord noted:
CNN hasn't covered developments in the IRS targeting scandal for over a week, since correspondent Dana Bash claimed on July 25 there was "no evidence" the White House was involved.
State of the Union host Candy Crowley briefly mentioned the scandal on her July 28 show but said nothing of any new developments. In the last week, National Reviewreported e-mails that "suggest collusion" between IRS official Lois Lerner and an attorney for the Federal Election Commission to investigate a conservative group. CNN said nothing of the report.
"It took the networks 13 days to run a single story" on the fact that Obama-appointed IRS chief counsel William Wilkins was "getting direct reports" on the IRS's review of conservative/Tea Party applications for 501(c)(3) status, NewsBusters publisher and Media Research Center (MRC) founder Brent Bozell told Blaze TV's Andrew Wilkow on the Tuesday edition of his Wilkow! program. Likewise, it took 15 days for the mainstream media to get around to covering the Obama/Holder Justice Department was "refusing to investigate any government employees who were improperly accessing tax records."
"This goes on and on and on. These are all breaking news stories that are leading to one of the largest scandals in modern American history where the most feared arm of government is completely abusing its rights, and it looks like it's coming from the Obama administration, and there's no coverage," Bozell concluded. [watch the full segment below the page break]
Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew, who oversees the IRS, made the rounds of four Sunday morning TV talk shows (all but CBS’s Face the Nation) to promote President Obama’s latest “pivot” to the economy, but ABC’s George Stephanopoulos and CNN’s Candy Crowley failed to take advantage of the opportunity to press him on the IRS scandal.
NBC’s David Gregory squeezed a question in at the very end of their session, but then didn’t follow up on Lew’s insistence “there’s no evidence of any political involvement.” Gregory: “Mr. Secretary, I’ll leave it there. Thank you as always.”
Pretty much all you need to know about the current negligent media culture in Washington is summed up in two items involving the Politico's home page this morning -- one which is there, and one which isn't.
The featured story at top of the home page by Byron Tau is about infighting between "Big Marijuana" -- it seems like "Big Pot" would be a more succinct nickname -- and those who want to extend recent electoral victories in legalizing the drug. What isn't there on the home page, as confirmed in a word search, is any story with a headline or tease containing "IRS."
The establishment press's general refusal to cover clearly newsworthy developments in the Obama administration scandal involving the targeting of conservative, tea party, prolife and other groups by the Internal Revenue Service has been so negligent and blatant that several leading conservatives, including the MRC's Brent Bozell and talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh, called it out in an open letter earlier this week.
Consistent with the rest of their colleagues, the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, appears to have had no substantive story on the scandal since July 18 -- and that one was about primarily Democrats beating the false meme that progressive groups were supposedly targeted similarly. The AP's negligence extends to the tax agency's shocking level of non-cooperation with House Ways & Means Committee investigators, as will be seen after the jump.
In a mere three days, the Big Three network morning shows have devoted more coverage to the birth of the British royal baby then they gave to news of the IRS scandal since that story broke 74 days ago.
Since Monday morning, ABC's Good Morning America, NBC's Today show and CBS This Morning deluged American viewers with 187 minutes worth of hype about another country's monarchy. In contrast, the same programs provided only 157 minutes, over ten and a half weeks, for a serious political scandal.
NBC, ABC and CBS began reporting on the IRS harassment of Tea Party groups back on May 11 and have averaged two minutes and six seconds of coverage per day (two hours and 36 minutes total). Since the Duchess went into labor Monday morning, those same shows cranked out about three hours, eight minutes of coverage, or an average of 62 minutes, 35 seconds per day (for all three networks).. That translates to a rate of coverage 34 times more intensive for the royal baby than for the royal mess in Obama's IRS. [See graph below.]
When on today's Morning Joe, Obama spokesman Jay Carney had the chutzpah to call the IRS mess a "phony scandal,"Joe Scarborough ripped into him, calling Carney out for using "talking points," instructing him to "answer my question" and informing Carney that "I'm not somebody you talk down to from your podium." Ouch! H/t NB reader cobokat.
Scarborough reminded Carney that he hadn't told the truth when he initially claimed that the scandal was limited to low-level employees in the IRS Cincinnati office, that it now appears that it may go at least as high as the IRS Chief Counsel, appointed by President Obama, is involved. Carney continued to slough off the scandal, claiming it was a diversion and that the President wants to focus on the economy, blah, blah, blah. Things got heated, as you'll see from the video, after the jump.
Since new developments broke last week in the IRS scandal, CNN barely reported on it before dropping the story entirely. The network also deflected scrutiny away from the White House's possible role in the scandal.
After Thursday's congressional hearing on the IRS targeting Tea Party groups, CNN issued just one report on it on Thursday afternoon. Correspondent Dana Bash reported "no proof" that the White House was involved and whitewashed the controversy that Tea Party groups supposedly received more scrutiny than liberal groups.
The deluge of royal baby coverage went into overdrive on Monday with all three morning shows devoting a staggering 73 minutes total to the impending birth and the child's gender. At the same time, Good Morning America, Today and CBS This Morning ignored any developments in the growing Internal Revenue Service scandal.
The Today show obsessed over the royal baby the most, pushing the story for 43 minutes and five seconds over 18 segments. (This amounts to a quarter of the four hour program's running time, minus commercials.) Good Morning America speculated on all subjects royal for 21 minutes and 22 seconds (or eight segments). Looking positively restrained, CBS This Morning allowed a mere eight minutes and 41 seconds over four segments.
The Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) networks have essentially censored the latest IRS scandal news. Not a single network reported on the bombshell coming out of Thursday’s congressional hearing that IRS employees were ordered to send Tea Party tax-exemption applications to the office of the IRS’s Chief Counsel, which was headed by William Wilkins, who at that time was the only Obama political appointee at the IRS.
The Big Three networks have also ignored this week’s news that tax records of political candidates (including one-time GOP Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell) and certain donors were improperly accessed by government officials, and that the Justice Department has, so far, refused to prosecute the offenders.