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.
It appears that even HBO’s Bill Maher is starting to question Barack Obama’s abilities as president, for on Friday’s Real Time, the host said, “He doesn't even know what the IRS and the Justice Department are doing” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
MRC director of media analysis Tim Graham appeared on the Fox Business program Varney & Co. on Friday morning to discuss the fading network coverage of the IRS scandal, even though a new poll shows the American people find that to be the most serious Obama scandal.
Substitute host Charles Payne asked if the media were turning tough on Obama. “We already have disturbing signs that the networks are dropping off this,” Graham said, since IRS official Lois Lerner refused to testify and took the Fifth. (Video below)
Time magazine's Michael Grunwald got to thinking about how to end IRS abuse of power when it comes to reviewing applications for tax-exempt status. But somewhere along the line he opted for the ol' liberal standby: more TAXES!
In his commentary piece, "One Nation, Tax Exempt," Grunwald held out the idea of completely eliminating tax-exempt status for non-profits:
"I've been saying it from the very beginning," NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell reminded Fox News Channel's Sean Hannity. When it comes to Obama administration scandals, the liberal media are eventually forced to cover them, but "they'll do a couple of stories, and then they'll say, we're done and they'll walk away."
That's exactly why the liberal media returned to adoring lapdog form last week and gushed over pro-Obama fluff like newly-released Obama senior prom pictures from 1979, the Media Research Center founder noted. "Nothing you and I can say can better illustrate how much in the tank the press is for Barack Obama," Bozell concluded, having noted how, by contrast, Lois Lerner's taking the Fifth before a congressional hearing on IRS abuse was ignored on the May 23 Good Morning America and Today programs. [watch the full "Media Mash" segment below the page break]
On Thursday night’s O’Reilly Factor, the Fox News host opened the show by attacking former IRS commissioner Douglas Shulman for visiting the White House 157 times, almost four times as many appearances as Hillary Clinton. O’Reilly hinted this was a “smoking gun” of the White House running the IRS harassment campaign of the Tea Party.
But guess what: this fact of Shulman’s well-worn path to the White House gates has yet to be reported by ABC, CBS, NBC, and PBS. O’Reilly can’t believe this number:
An unhinged Chris Matthews on Thursday launched into a bewildering rant, lamenting the scandals swirling around the President and suggesting that Germany may have actually won World War II because the country has high speed rail. The Hardball anchor fumed, "You look at Germany, where I just was, and see state-of-the-art bridges and super modern rail system." Mentioning Germany's subway system, Matthews insisted, "You wonder, who won that war anyway? Looks like they did." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
The MSNBC anchor doesn't appear to listen to himself speak. He asserted, "We've got a 7.5 percent unemployment rate right now. And let's be realistic, it's not going to go down a lot more over the next three years." Seconds later, Matthews praised, "The French have trains that go 300 miles an hour-plus and you think you're sitting still. And we've got the buckboard called Amtrak." So, France is the solution? Their unemployment rate in March of 2013 was 11 percent. That's higher than 7.5 percent. France's under age 25 unemployment rate is 26.5 percent. (Also higher than 7.5 percent)
The Tea Party grassroots protesters have made no secret of their support for limited government and lower taxes. But from the perspective of network reporters and anchors, the Tea Party’s message was more radical: “no government” and “no taxes.”
On May 10, the IRS admitted to flagging more than 100 Tea Party-related applications for higher scrutiny, including applications that included the words “Tea Party” and “patriot.” But even before that targeting began, the networks had portrayed the Tea Party as a extreme group opposed to taxation, instead of one supporting smaller government.
While the IRS targeting of conservative groups was still heating up in 2012, a Soros-funded journalism nonprofit was helping fan the flames. The Pulitzer-Prize-winning ProPublica released two stories targeting conservative nonprofits including Crossroads GPS, Americans for Prosperity and the Republican Jewish Coalition.
ProPublica was founded by prominent Democratic contributor and has direct connections to some of the nation’s top news organizations from The New York Times to ABC News. ProPublica was also the organization that received leaked IRS tax forms of conservative groups. ProPublica admitted “they should not have been sent to us before they were approved.”
Does L.A. Times reporter Michael Hiltzik read the news? Apparently not, since he penned one of the most lapdog press-worthy articles praising the IRS to bubble to the surface in the wake of the news that it targeted conservative Americans. Hiltzik’s column published in the May 25 Business section labeled the targeting as “supposed,” noted that for a small budget – the IRS does a pretty “good job.”
“Showing some love after the ‘witch-hunt,” Hiltzik insinuates that the current fiasco is rather peripheral since the IRS has done such a great job collecting revenue throughout its history. He noted that the changes made back in the Clinton administration, which shifted the agency from enforcement to a greater focus on treating the taxpayers like customers, is the epicenter of the trouble caused two administrations later. Hiltzik also lamented a that the shift away from enforcement led to a “brain drain” within the agency, and that real criminals, tax evaders, were left to operate freely. As for the bipartisan outrage over the scandal, Hiltzik wrote:
MSNBC’s Chris Matthews is no longer willing to call the White House troubles involving Benghazi, the Internal Revenue Service, and the leaks investigation "scandals."
No, on Tuesday’s Hardball, the host called them “kerfuffles,” once even correcting himself after accidentally referring to what happened at the IRS as a scandal (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Just posted to MRC.org this Memorial Day, the latest edition of MRC's Notable Quotables newsletter, recounting the most outrageous quotes from the liberal media. This week: the media warn that "voters will punish" Republicans if they "overplay their hand" and actually investigate the multiple scandals swirling around the Obama administration.
At the same time, MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell uniquely insists that there's "nothing wrong" about the IRS targeting the Tea Party, a view which makes him more extreme than most of his left-wing MSNBC colleagues, while the always-sycophantic Chris Matthews has this advice for President Obama: "Stop taking advice from sycophants."
The best quotes (including five videos) are below the jump; the full edition is posted here.
As NewsBusters has been reporting, CBS's Bob Schieffer has been coming down hard on the Obama administration in recent weeks.
That continued Sunday when the Face the Nation host delivered a special commentary wherein he said that Attorney General Eric Holder heading the review of his department "so deeply involved" in the leaks investigation scandal "makes no sense to me" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
“Liberal media bias is an old complaint,” the Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto noted in his “Best of the Web Today” column this past Monday on responses to the Obama scandals, before warning: “The Obama presidency has given it a new and dangerous form. Never has the prevailing bias of the media been so closely aligned with the ideological aims and political interests of the party in power.”
He recognized “the American media remain free and independent, or you would not be reading this column,” but zinged, “to a large extent they have functioned for the past few years as if they were under state control.”
Corrected from earlier*: On the May 16 Kudlow Report program on Fox Business Network, NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell hit the nail on the head, predicting that the media would quickly shift into the "Move On!" mode as they would start attacking Republicans as scandal-obsessed. The same evening on Fox News Channel's Hannity, Bozell noted how former CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather was already using the Clinton scandal playbook and grousing that Republicans need to "move on."
Sure enough, a week later when the Media Research Center returned to Hannity for another "Media Mash" segment [watch the video embed below the page break], he had plenty of fresh material from the networks to illustrate how the liberal media are doing precisely that. After watching a montage of journalists complaining that Republicans may be guilty of "overreach" with their dogged pursuit of the IRS investigation, Bozell reminded guest host Eric Bolling that "this is the old game plan, which is":
Already moving on from the IRS scandal? On Thursday night, only the CBS Evening News of the broadcast network evening newscasts bothered to note how Lois Lerner, the IRS official in charge of the division which processes tax-exempt applications, was put on administrative leave after she took the Fifth and refused to answer questions at a House hearing the day before. Anchor Scott Pelley squeezed in 20 seconds on it.
Yet, ABC World News and the NBC Nightly News made room to highlight a photo of a 17-year-old Barack Obama and his prom date along with a friend and his date.