One must perversely admire the gall of the New York Times editorial page. Sunday's lead editorial, "The Real IRS Scandal," says that the "real scandal" at the politicized agency isn't its targeting of citizens with anti-Obama views before the last election, isn't the suspiciously lost emails by an agent who pled the fifth before Congress, but a lack of sufficient funds because of the GOP.
Republican-fostered cuts to the agency's budget have evidently meant less audits of "the rich," which in turn spells "bad news for building roads, keeping the air clean, protecting the nation’s security, and countless other vital government tasks." A commenter accurately accused the Times of changing the subject.
A prominent exhibit explaining why the nation's trust in its media establishment has dropped to precipitous lows would likely include Tom Cohen's Thursday afternoon column at CNN expressing befuddlement over President Barack Obama's unpopularity.
After all, Cohen's headline crows that under Obama we have "more jobs" and "less war" (!), so there's a "disconnect" which must be explained. To give you an idea of how pathetic his attempt is, he managed not to mention any form of the words "immigration," "scandal," or "contraction" (as in, the first-quarter decline in GDP) while pretending to present a complete analysis. Meanwhile, one of CNN's embedded headline links to another story ("Obama to Republicans: 'So sue me'") openly mocks Cohen, doing a better job of explaining the "disconnect" in six words than anything he wrote in his first 37 paragraphs. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post; numbered tags are mine):
The identity of President Obama's nominee to head the scandal-plagued, bloated mess known as the Department of Veterans Affairs was known on Sunday.
Very few news outlets (the Fox news item just linked is an exception) noted that Obama's pick was particularly odd because McDonald's run as CEO at Procter & Gamble was not considered a success. He was essentially forced into retirement after four years at the helm in May 2013.
On Thursday, all three broadcast news networks continued to ignore the latest outrage over ObamaCare and the Veterans Affairs scandal. Instead, CBS This Morning chose to file a 3 minute and 26 seconds report on what Malia Obama’s plans were for her 16th birthday on Friday.
Two audits released Tuesday produced scathing critiques of the health insurance marketplaces under ObamaCare while a top official at the Veterans Affairs Administration resigned Wednesday after refusing to take serious the early reports from whistle-blowers who brought the massive scandal to light. [MP3 audio here; Video below]
After Friday's World News on ABC ignored the White House report on the infamous problems with the Department of Veterans Affairs, Saturday's Good Morning America on ABC also ignored the scandal, while CBS This Morning Saturday and NBC's Today show -- both of which are two-hour programs - only ran short briefs, the one on CBS totaling 25 seconds and the one on NBC 19 seconds.
By contrast, the CBS Evening News on Friday led with the V.A. story and gave it a full report of more than two minutes. The NBC Nightly News, after initially giving the story 24 seconds on Friday, followed up Saturday evening and presented viewers a full report of almost two and a half minutes, making it the second story both evenings.
Friday's World News on ABC glossed over the release of Deputy White House Chief of Staff Rob Nabors's report on the scandal at the Veterans Administration. President Obama had sent Nabors to look into the long wait times at veterans hospitals nationwide. Instead, the evening newscast set aside almost two minutes of air time to a woman, who is eight months pregnant, competing in a track and field competition.
On CBS Evening News, Scott Pelley led the broadcast with the "bleak picture" detailed in the new report. Correspondent Wyatt Andrews spotlighted how Nabors "combined scathing criticism with ideas on moving the V.A. forward." Brian Williams used the same label as Andrews during his 24-second news brief about the story on NBC Nightly News: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
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.”
The New York Times's public editor on Friday responded to criticism about the paper's coverage of the IRS scandal, admitting: "The Times was somewhat late in beginning to cover the latest development about the lost emails." An analysis by the Media Research Center's Jeffrey Meyer on Thursday found that "in the past 6 months (183 days), the New York Times has published only 13 news items on the IRS’ targeting of Tea Party groups."
Public editor Margaret Sullivan questioned David Joachim, the Times's Washington-based reporter, on the scant coverage. He offered an equivalence that seemed dismissive of complaints: "One side sees a Nixonian abuse of power and cover-up; the other sees an effort to smear the White House for electoral gain in the midterms. That stuff brings out passions."
During Thursday’s edition of The Situation Room on CNN, host Wolf Blitzer committed an act of journalism in grilling IRS Commissioner John Koskinen with question after question about the growing IRS e-mail scandal. His questioning included one where he asked (via a Twitter follower), “[w]hy shouldn’t taxpayers use the crashed hard drive excuse when undergoing an IRS audit?”
The interview, which lasted 13 minutes and 47 seconds, is more time than ABC and NBC spent on the IRS e-mail scandal combined on both their morning and evening news programs since the outrage surrounding lost emails of IRS employees, including former employee Lois Lerner, broke on June 13. [MP3 audio here; Video below]
A staple of establishment press reporting is to attribute a contention to a limited group of people to either place the truth of a statement into doubt, or to make it appear that only the group involved holds that opinion. Examples taking this to the absolute extreme could include: "Conervatives say the sun rises in the east and sets in the west," and "Republicans believe that abortion takes a human life."
Note that I didn't write that such extreme examples never occur in establishment press reporting. That's because they sometimes do, even to the point where the reporter(s) involved don't recognize how utterly ignorant and contradictory their content is. Take the following two bolded paragraphs from the Associated Press's terse, "Let's make this story look boring, and tell them as little as we possibly can" story about the National Organization for Marriage's court victory over the IRS in the release of its donor list (report produced in full because of its brevity, and for fair use and discussion purposes):
At the top of his Wednesday show, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly denounced the liberal media for "subverting American democracy." He cited a particularly glaring double standard: "You may remember New Jersey Governor Chris Christie being pounded by the national media for a controversy on the George Washington Bridge....devoting 112 minutes to the situation in the first week....But when the VA scandal story broke, there was no coverage on the nightly network news broadcast for almost two weeks." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Those numbers were calculated by Media Research Center senior news analyst Scott Whitlock in a May 22 Media Reality Check entitled: "In a Month, TV News Gives Less Airtime to VA Scandal than Christie Controversy Received in Four Days."
News reports indicate that Vincent A. "Buddy" Cianci, who was Mayor of Providence, Rhode Island from 1975 to 1984 and 1991 to 2002, is again running to be mayor of the Ocean State's capital city. The opening sentence at the Associated Press's Thursday morning story calls him a "twice-convicted felon who led Providence as mayor for 21 years," who is going "to run as an independent."
Local web news outlet GoLocalProv reports that"Cianci has filed papers Wednesday declaring his candidacy for Mayor of Providence - as an Independent." Cianci's Wikipedia entry indicates that he was a Republican from 1974 until December of 1982, and has been an independent for the past three decades. All of this makes it mystifying how a Google search on the former two-time mayor's name, as seen after the jump, could tag him as a Republican:
[See update below.] The New York Times’ motto is “all the news that’s fit to print” but in their eyes it seems as though the IRS scandal isn’t worth printing all that much.
Research conducted by the Media Research Center found that in the past 6 months (183 days) the New York Times has published only 13 news items on the IRS’ targeting of Tea Party groups. The study focused on the dates of December 25, 2013 until June 26, 2014 and did not include editorial or opinion pieces published in the Times.
Behold Stein's tweet, which, modified to defend the indefensible in the Obama administration, essentially goes like this: "See, Chris told his parents that the dog ate his homework. Doesn't that help prove that our dog might really have eaten my homework?" But instead of a dog, it's the big, bad IT monster which crashes computer hard drives (HT Twitchy):
In the June 24 edition of The Daily Show With Jon Stewart, the Comedy Central host spent the first 10 minutes of his show mocking the blatant incompetence of the IRS. Even though Jon Stewart did say Republicans were “d***s” to the IRS commissioner during the hearing, he spent most of the segment making fun of the IRS’s “unacceptable” behavior which “borders on criminal idiocy.”
While Stewart accepted that “computers do crash,” he yelled that it should takes less time than the “gestat(ion) period of a manatee” to find that information out. But according to the liberal comedian, what takes the scandal beyond the realm of “annoying” was that the IRS, “The government agency whose entire business model release on forcing Americans to live as borderline hoarders” only keeps backup tapes for six months. [See video below. Click here for MP3 audio]
Chuck Todd, NBC’s Political Director, Chief White House Correspondent, and host of The Daily Rundown on MSNBC did his best to deflect from the IRS scandal by wondering if “there are any actual real victims’ of the IRS targeting of conservative groups.”
Appearing on MSNBC's The Daily Rundown on Wednesday morning, Todd insisted that “the question at hand is whether explicitly political organizations should be filing as tax exempt social welfare groups under the tax code” and suggested that such groups weren’t deserving of such tax exempt status at all. [See video below.]
Yesterday, David Ferriero, the head archivist for the U.S. government, testified before Congress and insisted that the IRS had not followed the law requiring the agency to notify his office three years ago that Lois Lerner’s hard drive had crashed containing official records and emails.
Despite these new details, only CBS has bothered to report on the latest in the IRS scandal with both ABC and NBC’s morning and evening news programs ignoring the story on June 24 and 25. [See video below.]
On June 23 and 24, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held multiple hearings surrounding the revelations that the hard drive of former IRS executive Lois Lerner had been destroyed containing thousands of emails pertinent to the investigation of their targeting of conservative groups.
Despite the new details and the subsequent congressional hearings, the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley has been the only network evening news program to cover the revelations, with ABC and NBC ignoring the story altogether. [See video below.]
Yes, a handful of reporters, like Mark Halperin, have spoken out, which is commendable, but "[t]he reality is that this story is still by and large being ignored," Bozell argued. "This is serious, serious stuff going on," but the liberal media "are headed for the tall grass" because they "just don't want to know" the extent of the Obama administration's corruption. [Watch the full segment below the page break]
Mark Halperin, a frequent panelist on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, made an intriguing observation on Monday’s show about the IRS scandal. After saying that the recent news regarding the destroyed hard drive belonging to former IRS official Lois Lerner would be “a test for the news media,” Halperin took a stance on the scandal that few on the cable channel would dare take.
“I think with a different administration, one that was a Republican administration, this story would be a national obsession and, instead, it's getting coverage here and a few other places, but it really deserves a lot more questions,” opined Halperin. [MP3 audio here; Video below]
As I noted yesterday, the Associated Press's Alicia Caldwell managed to ignore President Barack Obama's unilaterally imposed and recently extended "Deferred Action for Child Arrivals" (DACA) policy as the most obvious explanation for the sudden wave of "Unaccompanied Alien Children" (Homeland Security's term) illegally crossing the nation's southern border.
As weak as her report was, it had one very useful finding, namely that these young arrivals "can live in American cities, attend public schools and possibly work here for years without consequences." A "former director of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office responsible for finding and removing immigrants living in the country," bluntly asserted that "They almost never go home." That factual situation directly contradicts a statement made by new White House press secretary Josh Earnest in his maiden press briefing on Friday — a statement which Caldwell, conveniently for the administration, did not report.
Though the Associated Press is covering "the waves of immigrant children crossing the border illegally" (AP's words), the wire service doesn't seem to believe the story is particularly important. As of 8:15 this morning ET, the situation had no presence on its "Big Story" page. The dominant "Big Story"? How made-up "scandals" and Democratic Party prosecutor-driven "criminal investigations" are hurting the potential 2016 presidential candidacies of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and New Jersey's Chris Christie.
There are four "non-Big" AP stories on the "wave" (here, here, here, and here). One of those stories reports that "The spike in border crossers - southern Texas is now the busiest border crossing in the country - prompted the Homeland Security Department earlier this year to start sending families to other parts of Texas and Arizona for processing before releasing them at local bus stops." Here's a reasonable question which the AP reporters seem uninterested in pursuing: Why did DHS request private help in responding to the influx — in January — indicating that it somehow knew that the wave was coming?
The Big Three networks' Friday evening newscasts finally noticed the latest development in the IRS scandal (they omitted it on Thursday), after Rep. Paul Ryan grilled Commissioner John Koskinen earlier in the day. ABC's David Muir spotlighted "the outrage...involving the IRS claiming to have lost thousands of crucial documents – lawmakers asking, how can the tax man be let off the hook for losing documents, while ordinary taxpayers would never get away with that?"
NBC's Brian Williams noted how Koskinen claimed that the IRS "lost evidence in the investigation into how they handled conservative political groups...and given how long the IRS holds on to things like our tax returns, some members of Congress just aren't buying it." CBS's Nancy Cordes zeroed in on congressional Democrats' attack on their Republican colleagues over the scandal – something that ABC and NBC didn't do: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
On Friday’s edition of CNN Newsroom with Don Lemon, host Don Lemon and CNN chief congressional correspondent Dana Bash made some unusual remarks about a Republican, but later retreated to downplaying one of the many scandals facing the Obama administration this midterm election year.
Discussing a hearing being held by the House Ways and Means Committee that featured testimony from IRS commissioner John Koskinen regarding the destroyed -- or as the IRS terms it "recycled" -- hard drive of former IRS official Lois Lerner, Lemon began by referring to Congressman Paul Ryan as “not a happy man today.” [MP3 audio here; Video below]
Despite the newest revelation in the Veterans Affairs scandal on Thursday that one in ten veterans have to wait at least one month before they can get an appointment to see a doctor, CBS and NBC refused to cover the latest news in both their evening news shows on Thursday night as well as their morning shows on Friday morning.
ABC News only gave 14 seconds of coverage to the issue in a news brief during the 7:00 am hour on Friday’s Good Morning America. CBS News chose to instead publish an article about it on their website Thursday afternoon. [MP3 audio here; Video below]
"Ex-IRS official Lois Lerner’s crashed hard drive has been recycled, making it likely the lost emails of the lightning rod in the tea party targeting controversy will never be found, according to multiple sources," Politico's Rachael Bade reported Wednesday evening.
Although the revelation has congressional Republicans understandably furious and at least one prominent IT expert trashing the IRS's digital documents-retention policy as "mind-boggling", the Big Three broadcast networks all ignored the latest developments in the IRS saga on their Thursday evening newscasts, even as they had time for Harrison Ford's broken leg (NBC), a new technology for police car chases (ABC), and comedian Tracy Morgan's car accident (CBS).
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.’
It’s been common for a few years to observe that Democrats and Republicans barely talk with each other anymore, but if you believe Talking Points Memo editor and publisher Josh Marshall, these days the two parties aren’t even truly fighting with each other.
In a Tuesday blog post, Marshall claimed that each party now is “operating in [its] own political universe.” In one universe, President Obama ignores obstructionist GOPers and uses his executive powers to accomplish what he can; in the other, Republicans and their media allies are less concerned with thwarting Obama than with revving up their base, largely by flogging Benghazi and other scandals.