Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton appeared on the Fox News Channel (FNC) Monday afternoon and informed viewers that a Department of Justice (DOJ) attorney admitted to his organization on Friday that the e-mails belonging to former IRS official Lois Lerner that were thought to be lost likely still exist. He declared to FNC’s Shannon Bream that the story of Lerner’s hard drive being damaged and destroyed and thus her e-mails were permanently lost has “all been a pack of malarkey” and “a big lie.”
When it came to the major broadcast networks covering this huge story on their Monday evening newscasts, there was no coverage to be found as ABC, CBS, and NBC all carried out the latest censoring of news surrounding the IRS. [MP3 audio here; Video below]
It would almost not be worth noting, because it's so predictable. On Fox News Sunday, Juan Williams, with strategic support at opportune times from National Journal's Ron Fournier, characterized the support within the Republican Party for impeachment as coming from "Tea Party opposition ... (with) no diversity, it's a white, older group of people."
What makes it worthy of notice is the fact that Michael Needham, head of Heritage Action for America, called out Williams for his comments and held his own as Fournier attempted to be the supposed voice of reason while really bringing aid and comfort to Williams. Video and a transcript follow the jump:
In a Friday-morning post, Talking Points Memo editor and publisher Josh Marshall likened the Tea Party to pro-Russia separatists in eastern Ukraine who apparently are responsible for the shootdown of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. Marshall wrote, “Here we have them break into nursing homes to photographs [sic] senator's comatose wives; there Putin gives them heavy armaments designed for full scale land war in Europe.”
Both CBS This Morning and NBC’s Today chose to ignore the latest news in the IRS scandal Thursday morning that the Department of Justice (DOJ) will be investigating the disappearance and destruction of emails pertaining to former IRS official Lois Lerner.
Meanwhile, ABC’s Good Morning America did cover the news, but only devoted 22 seconds to the story in the form of a news brief during the 7:00 a.m. hour. News reader Amy Robach reported “[a]nd in Washington, a major development in the IRS targeting scandal. The agency is accused of targeting conservative groups. Well now there is word the Justice Department will investigate the disappearance of e-mails the agency claims were lost when a computer crashed. The e-mails were to and from Lois Lerner, a key former IRS official who has refused to testify.” [MP3 audio here; Video below]
There were three developments in the IRS-targets-the-Tea Party scandal in the past two days, all individually meriting coverage on their own right but, taken together as a package are most definitely newsworthy. Despite this, neither ABC's World News nor the CBS Evening News nor the NBC Nightly News spared even a second of coverage to them on their July 10 broadcasts.
By contrast, time was made to cover stories like country artist Garth Brooks's return to the industry (ABC), the 100th anniversary of Babe Ruth's start in the big leagues (CBS), and a baby boom in Washington, D.C., nine months after the government shutdown (NBC). Both NBC and ABC briefly mentioned the Emmy Awards nominations and all three broadcasts had time to note the passing of modeling agency executive Eileen Ford.
Chris McDaniel, candidate for the U.S. Senate from Mississippi, lost the Republican runoff to incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran last month, and now he is being led down a primrose path to political oblivion. McDaniel's passionate supporters think that a moment of crisis for the country is a good time to treat control of the Senate as if it's a prom queen election.
Hoping for yet a third primary vote, McDaniel's crew is going to prevent him from having any political career, ever again.
On Thursday morning, ABC and NBC refused to cover the latest scoop in the IRS scandal. Politicoreported on Wednesday afternoon that former IRS official Lois Lerner cautioned her colleagues about what they write in emails in case any of them come under congressional investigation.
CBS This Morning did not do much better, as the news warranted only a 19 second mention during the 7:30 a.m. half hour when covering headlines from publications across the country. [MP3 audio here; Video below]
Insisting that he's really been out of the domestic news loop, ABC News Supreme Court correspondent Terry Moran told Dan Joseph of NewsBusters sister site MRCTV.org this morning that he was in northern Iraq the past few weeks and wasn't really aware of his network's recent decisions to ignore stunning new developments in the IRS and VA scandals. What's more, he suggested, if folks really care about news regarding the IRS scandal, well, there are other places to go besides ABC.
"You know, the news judgment of every network and of every person is different," Moran offered. "I understand that for some people, that's a hugely crucial issue, and there are places that they can get that," he added. The former Nightline host then tried to establish distance from the network's story selection process before insisting he was out of pocket anyway because he was overseas. [watch the full exchange below the page break]
There’s a saying that “life isn’t one damn thing after another – it’s the same damn thing over and over again.” That’s essentially what Steve Benen, a producer for MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show,” argued regarding the IRS scandal in a Thursday blog post on the “TRMS” website.
Benen claimed that throughout “the imaginary IRS ‘scandal,’ there’s [been] an interesting pattern of events that serves as a template for every development. It starts with an alarming report, which is followed by scrutiny, which leads to details that make the original report appear meaningless.”
Halfway through the Wednesday edition of her eponymous program this evening, CNN's Erin Burnett turned to her colleague Joe Johns for breaking news regarding a fresh development in the IRS scandal: email evidence suggesting Lois Lerner may have pushed for an audit of Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley.
Immediately afterwards, in a panel discussion, CNN legal analyst Sunny Hostin endorsed calls coming from Republicans for a special prosecutor to look into the IRS scandal.
On Wednesday's New Day on CNN, The Daily Beast's John Avlon and his wife, Margaret Hoover, gloated over the recent defeats of Tea Party-backed candidates in Republican primaries. Avlon strongly hinted that the grassroots conservatives movement was full of crazy people: "Don't call it the establishment. It's the sanity caucus."
Anchor Kate Bolduan wondered if former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's loss earlier in June was a "one-off." Hoover rattled off a list of prominent conservatives who apparently defeated in the wake of Mississippi Republican Senate candidate Chris McDaniel's defeat on Tuesday: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
On the June 24 edition of Hardball With Chris Matthews, the MSNBC anchor invited Adam Brandon of the Tea Party organization FreedomWorks onto the show in an attempt to portray the Tea Party as targeting black voters in the Republican Mississippi primary run-off. Matthews claimed McDaniel’s supporters were citing a “Jim Crow-era law from 1942" to try to stifle votes by African-American voters for Sen. Thad Cochran (R).
Of course the law in question is not racist in construction, but is rather intended to prevent Democrats or Republicans from utilizing crossover strategic voting in another party’s primary. It is obviously unenforceable due to the secrecy of the ballot. However Matthews went out of the way to characterize how the Tea Party is abusing this law as a way to stop Black Democrats from voting, stating that “Mississippi's attorney general” is on edge, and “fears racial profiling...and intimidation tactics might be used to suppress the black vote.” [See video below. Click here for MP3 audio]
The Washington Post has assigned reporter Jenna Portnoy to follow Republican nominee David Brat's campaign for the U.S. House seat for the 7th District of Virginia. In Portnoy's latest story, published in Friday's paper on page B4, the staff writer slammed Brat for having "largely ducked media exposure since his [primary] win," noting that after a brief press statement on Thursday which lasted eight minutes, he "retreated inside" his campaign headquarters, "ignoring questions shouted by reporters." A few days earlier, Portnoy insisted that an unprepared Brat had "stumbled" during a phone interview with MSNBC's Chuck Todd
Of course, as Politico's Sarah Wheaton has noted, Brat's Democratic opponent, fellow Randolph-Macon College professor Jack Trammell, "offered few policy specifics during his first public appearance as a candidate on Saturday." Last Friday, Wheaton reported that "Trammell has declined multiple interview requests" and that "[l]ike Brat, who virtually no one thought had a shot at toppling Cantor, he’s gone into something of a lockdown." Yet a search for "Jack Trammel" on the Washington Post website reveals no such critical reporting about the Democrat's unwillingness to have free-wheeling interactions with reporters. What's more, Trammel received fawning coverage in, of all places, a June 16 Style blog entry by book reviewer Ron Charles. The topic was Trammel's yet-unfinished vampire novel (excerpt below, emphasis mine):
Wednesday night, word came out via Politico that the hard drive to the computer of former IRS official Lois Lerner was destroyed and recycled. This follows the news that emails from Lerner and six other officials that were being investigated for the IRS' pointed targeting of conservative non-profits were lost. Without a doubt, this revelation is big news. But not in the minds of ABC, CBS, and NBC as all gave no mention to the matter.
Only ABC’s Good Morning America included a brief mention on the scrolling news feed at the bottom of the screen. The small headline read, ‘Computer Hard Drive Belong to Former IRS Official at Center of Targeting Scandal Was Destroyed, According to Politico.’
Yesterday's NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll garnered a great deal of attention, primarily because of its findings about President Barack Obama, particularly the one showing showing that "54 percent – believe the term-limited president is no longer able to lead the country."
The poll also asked respondents a series of three questions on the Common Core standards which were clearly designed to elicit majority support for them and to then mislead the public into believing that the opposition is a noisy, anti-Obama minority which should be ignored. Stories covering the poll at both NBC and the Wall Street Journal indicated as much.
Chuck Todd's political correctness button appeared to be in the on position as the NBC political director and chief White House correspondent made four appearances on MSNBC Tuesday night highlighting immigration as the main issue behind House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's Republican primary loss. Not only did Todd conspicuously evade using the word "illegal" while talking about illegal immigration, he even made a crack at one point mocking GOP nominee and Tea Partier Dave Brat for using the words "amnesty" or "illegals" so many times in an interview aired on Todd's Daily Rundown MSNBC show as if there were something wrong with doing so.
Todd, who only once used the word "illegally" amongst all four of his appearances, even though he referred generically to "immigration" 21 times, was dismissive toward Brat's word choice: "I think he used the word 'amnesty' and 'illegals' every fourth word when I was interviewing him this morning." By contrast, Todd was more accepting of loaded terminology preferred by liberals like "Dream Act."
The right wing relies on extremist murderers like Las Vegas shooters Jerad and Amanda Miller! At least, that’s what Michael Eric Dyson told his audience when he filled in for Ed Schultz on Tuesday evening’s The Ed Show.
Dyson spent the first sixteen minutes of the show blasting conservatives and the Tea Party for their evil rhetoric that he claimed "cultivated the very environment in which the Millers’ sentiment was spawned."
In a report for Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, political director Chuck Todd offered an obituary for the Tea Party based on a handful of expected primary losses and sympathized with Democrats hoping for weak Republican candidates in November: "Democrats are watching this Tea Party fade with disappointment....They were counting on a few bad Tea Party nominees to bail them out of a race or two, and as you can see, that might not happen this year." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Throughout the segment, Todd gave his assessment of the "struggles" for the Tea Party: "[Kentucky Senator Mitch] McConnell's aggressive campaign is reason number one why the Tea Party has struggled – established Republicans have taken the Tea Party head on....reason number two why the Tea Party has struggled – establishment Republicans have played up their own conservative credentials....reason number three – the defining Tea Party issue of cutting government spending has faded."
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)
The online subhead hinted at it: "Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Tom Cotton of Arkansas are running for the Senate as common-man conservatives but share high-flying pedigrees." Weisman's article is sprinkled with "gotcha" attempts that don't stick:
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.
Robert Costa's disdain for Tea Party-sympathetic conservatives was quite evident tonight in his coverage of Republican House Speaker John Boehner's primary victory at the Washington Post. Costa, a former writer at National Review, even insulted the noble pursuits of justice and the truth regarding Benghazi and the IRS's targeting of conservative and other groups by calling them "red meat for the tea party faithful."
The WaPo reporter characterized Boehner as having "swatted away" his opposition without revealing that the Speaker got only 69 percent of the vote. Yes, I wrote "only." Costa himself noted that "a sitting speaker still has never been defeated in a primary election," but didn't disclose Boehner's percentage of the vote. That's odd to say the least. I don't recall a sitting speaker ever losing 31 percent of the vote in a party primary, and it's possible that it has never happened outside of circumstances involving scandal or crime. I certainly don't recall a sitting speaker opening his wallet to defend his seat in a primary as Boehner did. Excerpts and analysis follow the jump (bolds are mine):
On the Wednesday, April 23, The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell on MSNBC, guest host Ari Melber ignored concerns expressed for some time by conservatives that ObamaCare regulations would cause Americans to lose private health insurance plans they already had as the MSNBC host suggested that Tea Party Republicans do not care about people being uninsured and claimed that the goal of repealing ObamaCare is to "make sure more people are uninsured."
After MSNBC's Krystal Ball complained about Republican governors who have refused to expand Medicaid, Melber turned to recent claims by Kansas Republican Rep. Tim Huelskamp that fewer people in Kansas are insured now than before ObamaCare. [See video below.]
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:
Last Tuesday, in an incredibly childish piece, even by his non-standards, Politico's David Nather acted as if the resistance at Clive Bundy's ranch was endorsed and supported entirely by the tea party movement and/or Republicans and/or conservatives, so he could then characterize their post stand-off behavior — i.e., pursuit of their longer-term political goals — as some form of abandonment.
I was tempted to ignore Nather's nattering, but a couple of subsequent events are making Nather look even more foolish than usual. The first is the fact that Bundy still has significant armed assistance, something the Politico reporter appears not to have anticipated. The second relates to allegations of misbehavior, including illegal property destruction, by Bureau of Land Management agents. First, let's get to some of Nather's blather (bolds are mine throughout this post):
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 Wednesday Fox News reported that House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa threatened to hold the IRS commissioner in contempt of Congress if he didn’t hand over emails from Lois Lerner and other IRS officials.
So far none of the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) network evening or morning shows have mentioned the latest development in the ongoing investigation of the IRS targeting Tea Party groups.
MSNBC’s Chris Hayes engaged in a nasty confrontation with conservative Jennifer Stefano of Americans for Prosperity over the latest ObamaCare delay.
Stefano appeared on “All In with Chris Hayes” on Wednesday March 26 and was immediately attacked by the liberal MSNBC host. Hayes introduced his guest as “One of those people who I really thinkgenuinely wakes up every day andthinks about how to destroyObamaCare.” [See video below.]