MSNBC's Alter-nate Reality: Network Contributor Dishonestly Claims There've Been No ‘Ongoing Revelations’ In IRS Scandal

We at NewsBusters have demonstrated over the years that the liberal media are all too eager to flog Republican scandals to death while ignoring or downplaying Democratic scandals. MSNBC contributor Jonathan Alter provided a case study of that bias during an appearance on Sunday’s episode of Disrupt with Karen Finney.

While discussing Chris Christie’s bridge controversy, Alter brought up the Obama administration’s IRS scandal. Said Alter to the host, a former Democratic National Committee communications director:



"You mentioned the IRS scandal. Who can even really remember that? And that was only last year."
 

For her part, Finney remarked, disparagingly, that the Republican base could probably remember the IRS scandal. Alter added with a sneer, “[I]t can be very hard to rev that up if there are not ongoing revelations. If there were ongoing revelations in the IRS matter, that would still be a story.”

As a matter of fact, there have been ongoing revelations in the IRS story. But the media have censored those revelations, giving the impression that it’s not a story anymore.

Just last Wednesday, two lead congressional investigators in this scandal, Reps. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), disclosed that the Justice Department had chosen an Obama donor to head its investigation of the IRS scandal. Issa and Jordan sent a letter to the DOJ charging them with a conflict of interest, and the Washington Times reported on this development. However, after nearly a week, none of the three major broadcast networks (ABC, NBC, and CBS) have mentioned it on their morning or evening news shows.

The three major networks have also failed to mention that, in early December, Rep. Issa accused the FBI and the IRS chief counsel of stonewalling his investigation. Nor did they mention the emails, obtained by Judicial Watch in late October, that showed that former IRS official Lois Lerner illegally gave the confidential tax information of several Tea Party groups to the Federal Election Commission.

The networks have failed to report that Dr. Ben Carson was targeted by the IRS for the first time ever after his now-infamous National Prayer Breakfast speech in which he criticized, albeit mildly and quite respectfully, President Obama’s policies in front of him. Nor did they mention the newly released emails in September that contradicted Lois Lerner’s assertion that the IRS’s targeting was the work of two “rogue” employees in Cincinnati.

There are many more examples of IRS scandal developments that have gone unreported by the three major TV networks. (You can find a comprehensive list here.)

Alter is dead wrong to say there are not ongoing revelations in the IRS scandal. The mainstream liberal media outlets just don’t have the courage or the honesty to report them. But they can’t wait to reveal all the latest news about Christie’s bridge scandal. They would much rather tear down a Republican governor than put a serious dent into a Democratic president and his administration.

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the discussion:

 

JONATHAN ALTER: Both Christie and Obama are very skillful when they're in trouble. Remember how Obama handled the Reverend Wright situation during the campaign? But substance eventually counts. Documents count. We now have smoking e-mails in this case. So will a lot of this eventually pass? Yes, because scandals always pass. You mentioned the IRS scandal. Who can even really remember that? And that was only last year.



KAREN FINNEY: The Republican base, probably.

ALTER: But it can be very hard to rev that up if there are not ongoing revelations. If there were ongoing revelations in the IRS matter, that would still be a story.

FINNEY: Very true.

ALTER: The reason this is a real danger to Chris Christie, is that with the investigative machinery now in gear, there will be ongoing revelations, ongoing documents that are coming out. And you will see a lot of new news pegs to keep this story in the headlines in the weeks and months ahead.

FINNEY: Absolutely. But I do – I have to say, I love how everything that happens, somehow the Republicans make it about Obamacare and Benghazi. That is skill.

Paul Bremmer
Paul Bremmer is a Media Research Center News Analysis Division intern.