"The media finally recognized a[n] [Obama] scandal, but then slowly but surely they took their foot off the gas," Fox News Channel's Sean Hannity noted of the media's treatment of the IRS/Tea Party scandal as he opened the "Media Mash" segment with NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell on Thursday's Hannity. As Hannity opened the segment, an on-screen graphic [embedded below the page break] displayed data collected by Media Research Center (MRC) deputy research director Geoff Dickens which showed the broadcast media's waning interest in reporting on developments in the scandal.
"Look, the first two weeks of this scandal, 96 stories. The second two weeks, 31 stories. This week: one story. It's over," as far as the media are concerned, the MRC founder noted, even though the MRC's own CNSNews.com division broke some damning revelations related to the IRS scandal this week. For example, Bozell noted:
When news broke that IRS agents were abusively targeting conservative groups particularly the Tea Party, it looked at as if this was an Obama administration scandal that would stick. Even reporters like NBC’s Andrea Mitchell counted it as among the “most outrageous excesses I’ve seen.” Obama sycophant Chris Matthews predicted it could be worth “five or 10 points” for Republicans in the next midterm elections. Even theNew York Timeseditorial board proclaimed: “The IRS Audits Are Condemned.”
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). This week, the networks have run only one story (June 11 on ABC’s Good Morning America) on the IRS scandal.
Karen Finney recently began her new gig as an MSNBC weekend anchor, but on Sunday’s Weekends with Alex Witt, she got a little nostalgic for one of her old jobs.
Appearing as the subject of Witt’s "Office Politics" segment, Finney continued the liberal media tradition of making the GOP the focus of the current Obama administration scandals. “[Republicans] clearly think that they can ride this to the midterm elections on this sort of culture of coverup,” she huffed. [Video below the break. MP3 audio here.]
A pro-life legal group on Monday released audio footage of an Internal Revenue Service agent telling them, "You cannot force your religion or force your beliefs on someone else." Yet, ABC, NBC and CBS all have ignored the story so far. In the audio, IRS agent Sherry Wan lectured, "...You have to know your boundaries."
Alliance Defending Freedom, a Arizona-based group, is a non-profit legal organization. Wan continued, "But you have to respect other people’s beliefs, other people’s rights and not, you know, use some kind of confrontation." While the networks ignored the story, Sean Hannity featured it on Tuesday, touting, "This is audio proof that conservatives in fact were targeted and it's proof that they were bullied into keeping their belief silent." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Jay Leno continued his humorous attacks on Barack Obama Tuesday.
During a series of opening monologue jokes about the various scandals plaguing the White House, the NBC Tonight Show host said of quarterback Tim Tebow, “Now that he's associated with the word 'Patriot' he's being audited by the IRS” (video follows with transcript and absolutely no need for additional commentary):
Appearing on Monday's The Last Word show, MSNBC.com Executive Editor Richard Wolffe -- formerly of Newsweek -- joined MSNBC host Lawrence O'Donnell in defending the actions of IRS employees who focused on Tea Party groups for scrutiny, and ended up suggesting that it was Republican Congressman Darrell Issa, rather than the IRS, that was "acting out of public view for purely partisan reasons."
After reading the statement of an IRS employee who used the word "patriots" to help identify Tea Party groups, the MSNBC host continued:
MSNBC anchor Alex Witt took it upon herself to defend President Obama’s reputation on Saturday’s Weekends with Alex Witt. To do so, she employed a favorite liberal tactic: blame George W. Bush for what goes wrong in the Obama administration.
Witt was chatting with David Nakamura of The Washington Post about the NSA’s secret surveillance programs that have recently come to light. It’s a topic that is sure to anger many Americans, so Witt made sure to deflect blame away from Obama and onto his predecessor: [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
Appearing on Monday's The O'Reilly Factor, FNC contributor Bernie Goldberg commented on the dominant news media ignoring or downplaying congressional hearings on the Obama administration IRS scandal, and wondered why President Obama is so critical of the media as he asserted that the President's approval rating would be 20 points lower if the media covered Obama scandals "honestly." Goldberg:
Isn't it ironic that President Obama, having acquired the highest office in the land by agitating — all his political life — against privilege and discrimination, is now systematically wielding his executive power lawlessly to favor his friends and punish his enemies?
We are witnessing an unmistakable pattern from Obama and those under his command of establishing different rules for different groups of Americans. I'm not just referring to his opportunistic championing of the "poor" and his vendetta against the "wealthy" or his relentless vilification of "fat cat banks," big corporations, private jet owners and the insurance, oil, coal, natural gas and nuclear power industries. It goes well beyond that.
Acting as though he were Barack Obama's lawyer, George Stephanopoulos on Tuesday's Good Morning America repeatedly pressed John Boehner as to why he doesn't believe the President's explanation about the IRS scandal. After the Speaker of the House marveled, "How can your chief of staff, your general counsel know and you not know," the GMA co-host lectured, "That's a pretty serious charge."
Stephanopoulos continued, "Have you seen any evidence or has Chairman [Darrell] Issa produced any evidence that this was led by the White House in any way, shape or form?" The former Democratic operative turned journalist complained, "What information do you want that they haven't provided?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
When last seen at NewsBusters in February, the Associated Press's Liz Sidoti was talking down to the public about its "collective obsession with the trivial" less than a week after AP reporter Ken Thomas wasted 500 words of print and bandwidth on how Florida Sen. Marco Rubio took a sip of water during a speech.
Now Sidoti, who is the AP's National Political Editor, is quite worried -- actually, obsessed -- that the public might waking up and contrasting what President Barack Obama is delivering compared to what he has promised at a most inopportune time, and that "controversies" might overtake Dear Leader's second-term agenda (bolds are mine):
As was expected, the liberal media is moving into a new mode concerning the scandal at the Internal Revenue Service: Move along. Nothing to see here.
MSNBC’s Chris Matthews did his part Monday in a lengthy segment teased by the Hardball host saying, “It could be this whole thing was a big nothing burger” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
George Will had some harsh words for the Obama administration Sunday.
Appearing on ABC’s This Week, Will said that the recent revelation concerning National Security Agency information gathering is going to metastasize the IRS controversy into a national security scandal, and concluded that as a result, “the willingness to trust the executive branch is today minimal and should be.”
Fox News host Neil Cavuto on Saturday cut the mic of the incredibly "offensive" and "obnoxious" liberal shill Julian Epstein for refusing to have a serious discussion about the current White House scandals and instead insisting on echoing Democrat talking points (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary):
Jay Leno continued his humorous attacks on the White House Friday.
In the middle of a lengthy set of opening monologue jokes about the various scandals plaguing Barack Obama, the NBC Tonight Show host said, “We wanted a president that listens to all Americans - now we have one” (video follows with transcript and absolutely no need for additional commentary):
At a Congressional hearing into the Internal Revenue Service scandal Thursday, Farias Fink, the head of the Small Business and Self-Employed Division who played Spock in the IRS's infamous Star Trek parody, apologized for the videos his organization created:
NewsBusters reported Wednesday that MSNBC's Martin Bashir disgracefully accused Republicans of using the acronym "IRS" as the latest racist dog whistle in their "war against the black man in the White House."
It turns out that Bashir used a selectively edited quote of former Reagan aide Lee Atwater to make his pathetic case.
Instead of showing endless loops of IRS employees wasting taxpayer dollars line-dancing -- Breaking news: Government employees waste millions of your dollars every single day! -- I think it would be more useful for the public to hear a few crucial facts about the exploding scandal at the Internal Revenue Service.
At Tuesday's congressional hearings on the IRS, witnesses provided shocking details about the agency's abuse of conservative groups.
Just when you thought the folks at MSNBC couldn't go any lower in defending the current White House resident, someone there stoops to new depths.
On the Martin Bashir show Wednesday, the host actually said that Republicans are using the acronym "IRS" as the latest dog whistle in their "war against the black man in the White House" (video follows with fuller transcribed highlights and commentary):
For the second day in a row, The Washington Post showed it was bored by the IRS scandal by putting the hearings story inside the paper.
Instead, the top of Wednesday's post seized on the favorite liberal scandal du jour: "Military chiefs lament sex assaults but reject Senate bill." Their Post Express tabloid screamed this front-page headline: "CAN THE MILITARY CURE ITS 'CANCER'?"
Media members thinking the Republicans are overplaying their hand with the Internal Revenue Service scandal should pay attention to what happened on NBC’s Tonight Show Monday.
When host Jay Leno joked that President Obama should close the IRS rather than the terrorist detention center in Guantanamo Bay, the audience erupted in thunderous applause (video follows with transcript and absolutely no need for additional commentary):
On May 27, Nicholas Confessore and Michael Luo at the New York Times filed a ridiculously incoherent, ignorant and biased report on Tea Party groups' attempts to have their organizations approved for tax-exempt status. The story's window title: "Non-Profit Applcants Chafing at IRS Tested Political Limits." The actual print edition title (Page A1, of course): "Groups Targeted by I.R.S. Tested Rules on Politics." The headlines give the impression that Tea Party groups deliberately tried to test the boundaries of legality.
The pair's content also betrayed more than a little ignorance of the rules governing campaign finance, electioneering, and literature distribution. Among those interviewed for the story was Tom Zawistowski, Portage County TEA Party Executive Director. Zawistowski took great exception to their writeup in an email he distributed on Saturday (bolds are mine; additional paragraph breaks added by me):
In what some have described as a "bombshell" statement, ABC News Political analyst Trey Hardin said something on Monday morning any reporter with any kind of meaningful inside connections in Washington should have known, but apparently wouldn't dare say or write: "I can say with a very strong sense of certainty that there are people very close to this president that not only knew what the IRS were doing but authorized it."
Martin continued: "It simply just does not happen at an agency level like that without political advisers likely in the West Wing certainly connected to the president’s ongoing campaign organization that didn’t know about it." Again, many experienced reporters in Washington had to know this. Any remaining doubts that what Hardin said is true disappeared today when Congressman Darrell Issa, as reported by Kerry Picket at Breitbart News, released hearing testimony previous obtained (bolds are mine):
As NewsBusters reported Sunday, Congressman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) on CNN’s State of the Union called White House press secretary Jay Carney a “paid liar.”
On Fox News’s Special Report Monday, syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer took issue with Issa saying, “I’ve argued here for months that Carney is majorly underpaid, and I think that really is the problem” (video follows with transcript and absolutely no need for additional commentary):
In an interview with Arizona Senator John McCain on Monday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie attempted to dismiss growing evidence that the IRS scandal rocking the Obama administration went as far as Washington D.C.: "Darrell Issa...says that his gut tells him this goes beyond the Cincinnati office....He released excerpts of some e-mails that might support that theory, they're not conclusive. Do you take the Inspector General of the IRS at its word saying this – this was something that happened in Cincinnati and went no further?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Is the IRS scandal just not that big a deal in New York City? Perhaps for out-of-touch journos like liberal Times columnist Nicholas Kristof and The New Yorker editor David Remnick, who downplayed the controversy on Sunday's Fareed Zakaria GPS.
Kristof predictably spun the scandals into a "so what?" narrative for the White House: "I think it's true that the White House has often been tone-deaf, but every second term has scandals." Meanwhile, Remnick called the IRS scandal the doing of "very low level" employees without acknowledging that higher-ups in Washington could have orchestrated it.
A classic case of MSM jujitsu. Yesterday, Darrell Issa called Jay Carney a "paid liar." So did Morning Joe today dig down to see if Issa was right? Of course not. Instead, its focus was on Issa--how he is "overreaching," "overplaying," etc. H/t NB reader Wayne T.
The quintessential statement came from Mika Brzezinski, who actually said that Issa's accusation "makes us all want to walk away and ignore" the White House scandals. It's not as if Mika & Co. needed much convincing! View the video after the jump, along with a medley of statements from Mika, Brian Shactman, Joe Scarborough, Jon Meacham, Chuck Todd and Robert Gibbs along similar lines.
See no scandal, report no scandal. Jill Abramson, Executive Editor of the New York Times, came down to DC on Sunday to defend President Obama on the scandals and the economy, stressing the leaks cases is the only supposed scandal she cares about as she contended “I’m just not sure” the leaks cases, IRS and Benghazi “come together and create, you know -- quote, unquote -- ‘an atmosphere of scandal.’”
An atmosphere the New York Times is working to prevent.
Pivoting to the downside for President Obama of the swirling scandals, Meet the Press host David Gregory fretted over “a bigger issue that the President faces, which is where is his agenda left in all this?” Citing a poll showing the public thinks fixing unemployment should be a higher priority than investigations, Gregory despaired: “The President’s coming under fire for losing his scope, effectively, in a second term to rebuild America, to usher in economic restoration.”
“Well, that’s the tragedy for him. It’s a tragedy for all of us,” New York Times columnist Tom Friedman agreed.