Not that it absolves them from blame, but one contributor to the Big Three establishment TV networks' utter failure to report on or keep up with developments in the IRS targeting scandal -- failures which have been noted by Geoffrey Dickens at NewsBusters, as well as by the Media Research Center's Brent Bozell on Sean Hannity's TV show last night -- is the Associated Press.
The AP provides much of the raw material for the networks' stories and largely determines the nets' perception as to which stories are important. It is still quite appropriate to refer to it as the Administration's Press, even after Obama administration Attorney General Eric Holder admitted to scouring phone records involving 20 business and personal lines used by over 100 AP reporters and editors in April and May of last year. Yesterday's failure by the wire service's Pete Yost to even mention that the IRS scandal was on the agenda at a House Judiciary Committee hearing yesterday involving FBI Director Robert Mueller exemplifies how negligent or intimidated (or both) the AP has become.
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.
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):
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:
As MSNBC's Al Sharpton hosted a panel on Wednesday's PoliticsNation to discuss Minnesota Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann's retirement, MSNBC analyst Karen Finney claimed that Bachmann never had an idea "that wasn't about hate or wasn't about being against something," while MSNBC analyst and former Pennsylvania Democratic Governor Ed Rendell similarly charged that historians will put her "in a group of people during this era who were just haters, who breeded hate and discontent."
After Sharpton introduced the panel by asking how history would treat Bachmann, Rendell replied:
On Wednesday May 29, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) announced that she will not seek reelection to Congress in 2014, and ever since the liberal media has had a field day mocking her political career. It appears the latest example of Bachmann-trashing has come from the Tampa Bay Times, which runs the liberally-skewed PolitiFact website, for having problems with their “Truth-O-Meter.”
In a piece published on Wednesday, Times staff writer Angie Drobnic Holan lambasted Bachmann for veering away from “verifiable fact.” At issue with Ms. Holan is the fact that PoliFact has labeled numerous statements by Ms. Bachmann has false or “Pants on Fire!” which according to the website, Ms. Bachman’s “first 13 ratings were False or Pants on Fire.” This article comes just two days after PolitiFact released a skewed study showing that Republicans were cited as dishonest three times as often as Democrats.
At the top of Wednesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer seized on Congresswoman Michele Bachmann's decision not to seek re-election in 2014: "Breaking news. A bombshell announcement from Michele Bachmann. The Tea Party favorite says she won't seek another term in Congress....But with a swirl of controversy surrounding her, will that future include politics?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On ABC's Good Morning America, co-host George Stephanopoulos responded to the news by fretting that Bachmann not being in Congress "takes away a big target for Democrats." Correspondent Jon Karl agreed: "Oh, that's right, George. For some Democrats, Michele Bachmann was, really, target number one. She was the most high-profile and controversial leader of the Tea Party in the Congress."
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":
Yesterday (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I took apart Espo's claim that there is a "lack of evidence to date of wrongdoing close to the Oval Office" by showing that in at least five situations -- Fast and Furious, Benghazi, IRS targeting, AP phone snooping, and HHS's shaking down of insurance companies to fund ObamaCare promotions -- have all been known by people who directly report to the President, and are thus just one step away from him. On Sunday evening, the Wall Street Journal reported that in the case of the IRS targeting, it's a lot less than one step (bolds are mine):
While the the front page of today's Washington Post is actually reporting significant developments in two of Barack Obama's trifecta of scandals, the Washington Post Company-owned free tabloid the Express is busy lamenting if the president will ever get "A Break from the Storm?"
Perhaps, as "advisers say," he "should stage a major economic speech to drown out the noise[emphasis mine] of recent scandals," Express editors helpfully offered in a caption for their front-page photo illustration, which depicted a grimacing President Obama getting drenched in a downpour [see image below page break].
Jeffrey Lord at the American Spectator has reviewed the White House logs looking for a relationship between meetings listed there and the timeline found in the Inspector General's report on the targeting of Tea Party and conservative groups issued last Tuesday. Lord's work represents yet another example of alternative media scooping a lazy or negligent establishment press.
What Lord has found (single-page print version) is that President Barack Obama met with the President of the National Treasury Employees Union Colleen Kelley, on March 31, 2010. The NTEU is "the 150,000 member union that represents IRS employees along with 30 other separate government agencies." The Inspector General's report, blandly titled "Inappropriate Criteria Were Used to Identify Tax-Exempt Applications for Review," indicates that the IRS, in Lord's words, "set to work in earnest targeting the Tea Party and conservative groups around America" the very next day. Lord's work is a mandatory read-the-whole-thing item. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):
The liberal media are not really "up in arms" with the Obama administration, but are simply having a "lover's quarrel" over the AP scandal in particular, NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell told CNBC host Larry Kudlow on his May 16 The Kudlow Report program.
What's more, it won't be that long until "[t]he Bill Clinton syndrome is going to be upon us, where it's time to move on, we've covered it [the media will say] and they're going to turn the fire right on Republicans as being obstructionists. Mark my word," the Media Research Center founder predicted. [watch the full segment below the page break]
Many liberals have objected to the IRS's targeting of conservative groups, but others see nothing wrong with it, including one Kossack who asserted this week that the revenuers in Cincinnati were simply "doing their job."
As usual, each headline is preceded by the blogger's name or pseudonym.
NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell and Fox News host Sean Hannity kicked off the "Media Mash" segment of the May 16 Hannity with a deliciously ironic clip of Hardball host Chris Matthews lamenting on his Tuesday program that President Obama is surrounded by adoring yes-men who can't bear to tell him bad news, and that that culture of groupthink leaves the president prone to embarrassing scandals. "A little irony there?! I couldn't resist! I had to start with that," Hannity said suppressing laughter. "Okay, a sycophant who's in awe and in love with Barack Obama. Chris Matthews, call your office," Bozell quipped, adding, "This is the man who spits to tell us how much Obama's the perfect man."
We’ve heard a lot in the past few days about the IRS applying extra scrutiny to groups with “Tea Party” or “patriots” in their name, but it appears the unfair targeting runs deeper than that. As the Thomas More Society, a non-profit public interest law firm, first reported yesterday, the IRS harassed at least two pro-life organizations that applied for tax-exempt status as early as 2009.
When the Coalition for Life of Iowa submitted such an application, the IRS reportedly demanded that they promise, under perjury of law, not to picket or protest outside of Planned Parenthood. The IRS claimed it would only approve the group’s application after such a written pledge was received. Of course, Planned Parenthood is a major supporter of Barack Obama and their concerted effort to attack Republicans as waging a "war on women" was a central base-motivating message Democrats used in the 2012 reelection campaign.
Chris Matthews’ toxic anti-conservative vitriol has spread onto other MSNBC shows, infecting them with his slanderous language. It is no secret that Matthews opposes the Tea Party as extremists, often times accusing them of outright racism towards President Obama.
Appearing on PoliticsNation with racist host Al Sharpton, Chris Matthews disgustingly claimed that a full 10-20 percent of this country:
The liberal comedian said he found it strange that the president didn't learn much sooner about the Internal Revenue Service persecuting groups with “Tea Party” or “Patriot” in their names and the Justice Department confiscating phone records about Associated Press reporters.
Chris Moody of Yahoo! News has a great story this afternoon about the saga the conservative media watchdogs at MediaTrackers had with the Obama IRS. The long and short of it is that after after waiting for more than a year for IRS to approve his 501(c)3 application for the group, conservative activist Drew Ryun "determined that Media Trackers would likely never obtain standalone nonprofit status" and so he "tried a new approach," applying as a nonprofit under the name "Greenhouse Solutions" which was "a pre-existing organization that was reaching the end of its determination period."
And wouldn't you know it, Moody noted, "[t]he IRS approved Greenhouse Solutions' request for permanent nonprofit status in three weeks":
In case you're hiding under a rock, you should know that an audit conducted by the inspector general for the Internal Revenue Service has found that IRS officials targeted for scrutiny certain groups critical of the administration.
Which groups? Well, those with "tea party" or "patriot" in their names and nonprofit groups that criticized the government and sought to educate Americans about the U.S. Constitution.
Et tu, Roberto? It was bad enough for President Obama to have Andrea Mitchell jump ship this morning. But now someone who is—arguably—even closer to home has taken a resounding shot at the President's mishandling of the IRS scandal.
Appearing on Mitchell's MSNBC show this afternoon, former Obama press secretary Robert Gibbs condemned the president's "exceedingly passive" language in discussing the scandal. Obama had said there'd be consequences "if" wrongdoing were found, and spoken of "losing patience." Gibbs was scathing: that's what "I do with my nine-year old." Ouch! View the video after the jump.
MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts is an openly liberal host who frequently makes disparaging comments towards conservatives and the Republican Party. And as it the modus operandi at the network, he frequently brings on fellow liberals to bash conservatives, often without the benefit of giving a conservative equal time to fire back.
Following shocking revelations that the IRS has been selectively investigating conservative groups for some three years now, Roberts brought on Julian Bond, chairman emeritus of the NAACP, to discuss what Roberts believed, “brings to mind the agency's 2004 probe of the NAACP.” [See video after jump. MP3 audio here.]
It's been a busy week full of news stories highly damaging to liberals, from the damning testimony about Benghazi to revelations that the Obama IRS targeted the Tea Party to yesterday's conviction of Philadelphia abortionist and infanticidal maniac Kermit Gosnell.
So we at NewsBusters thought we'd show you how some conservative political cartoonists around the country were dealing with these developments in this week's edition of NB's ToonsDay:
President Obama knows he's in trouble when Andrea Mitchell—Andrea Mitchell!—proclaims the IRS and AP scandals to be among "the most outrageous excesses I've seen" in all her years in journalism [which pre-date Watergate]. The strength of Mitchell's statement drew gasps from Scarborough and Brzezinski. Then Ron Fournier, former AP editor now with the National Journal, darkly described the White House being "consumed" if it turns out someone there or in the Obama campaign had been aware of the IRS targeting of conservative groups. It happened on Morning Joe today.
But hey, President Obama still has his hangers-on. Take good old Carl Bernstein. As we reported, on yesterday's Morning Joe Bernstein blathered that he "can't imagine" that President Obama coudl be involved in the IRS mess. And there was Bernstein again today. When Fournier spoke of consequences of White House or Obama campaign knowledge of the IRS targeting, Bernstein quickly burped out that "we have no evidence of that whatsoever." Joe Scarborough had to remind the former Watergate reporter: "that's why you have investigations. You know that." View the video after the jump.
The revelation that the IRS was being used by liberals as a political weapon against conservative groups like the Tea Party makes NBC's Dr. Nancy Snyderman's 2009 call on the tax agency to investigate Catholic bishops even more chilling.
During an MSNBC November 12, 2009 segment about Catholic bishops' opposition to abortion funding in ObamaCare, Snyderman joined NOW President Terry O'Neill in calling on the IRS to investigate them. (video after the jump)
"I may have swung a bit too hard, putting Barack Obama’s Administration in the same league as Franklin Roosevelt’s and Richard Nixon’s when it comes to the Internal Revenue Service," Klein wrote this morning, backpedaling a bit from a strongly-worded May 11 piece reacting to the IRS-targeting-Tea Party scandal. Klein conceded that "The situation remains a major embarrassment, though," and then went on to wage an attack against the Republican Party for seeking to take advantage of the scandals to bash the Obama administration (emphasis mine):
How enthusiastic can NPR be in avoiding the emerging Obama scandals? Try this: So-called “All Things Considered” aired no features on Benghazi or the IRS on Saturday or Sunday. (This excludes on-the-hour news updates.) But they found time for six minutes on the trade in rhino horns.
It was more ridiculous on “Weekend Edition” Saturday and Sunday – they also skipped both. NPR correspondent Michele Kelemen reported on Secretary of State John Kerry for 4 minutes and 22 seconds without a single word about Libya. Somehow the State Department’s Benghazi fiasco wasn’t listed as a “thorny issue” in the Middle East:
During a report on Monday's NBC Today about the Benghazi and IRS scandals wracking the Obama administration, a headline on screen wondered if they were the result of "Obama's Second Term Curse?" White House correspondent Peter Alexander lamented: "Fewer than four months since his ambitious inaugural address, President Obama is facing significant political obstacles.... Some observers are already asking if Mr. Obama is falling victim to the second term curse."
After Alexander detailed second-term problems for past presidents, "From Watergate to Iran-Contra, even Bill Clinton's impeachment," a sound bite followed of NBC's liberal presidential historian Michael Beschloss offering this bit of advice to Obama: "The presidents who have weathered these crises best have been those who do not let themselves get distracted."
"This is the New York Times's take on how to turn something that's Nixonian into something that's 'oh, it's just conservatives turning another issue, making it political.'" Gainor said of The New York Times specifically and the media in general. "They spun it out, trying to take it away from being the awful scandal that it is."
Good Morning America's Jon Karl on Monday exposed new details about the growing scandal involving the Internal Revenue Service targeting conservatives. The correspondent revealed, "I've obtained a soon-to-be released investigative report that shows the IRS started targeting Tea Party groups more than three years ago." He added that this was "despite [the IRS] publicly claiming otherwise."
According to the journalist, phrases such as "limiting government," "educating on the Bill of Rights" and "criticizing how the country is being run" were enough to have the IRS start tracking them. However, Karl steered clear of culpability when it came to the Obama administration. He explained, "The White House said it had no idea that the IRS was targeting Tea Party groups." [MP3 audio here. See video below.]