There has been the usual tax day-related glut of articles from liberal publications urging a federal takeover of the tax preparation business. As always, the ultra-left wing blog Pro Publica took the lead, followed predictably by outlets such as Slate, Vox, and Tax Analysts, as well as respectable news outlets like Bloomberg View and Yahoo!.
The basic argument is always the same: the IRS has all this information on you anyway, so wouldn't it just be easier and better if they simply prepared your taxes for you? Wouldn't that be better than having to pay some rent-seeking middleman? This flawed line of thinking fools many a reporter this time of year, but it's refuted pretty easily once you scratch beneath the surface. Below are the top seven reasons the IRS should not prepare your taxes for you:
Tax Day, April 15, is a perfect day for a news organization to publish stories about tax reform debates, including the notion that perhaps we should do away with a national income tax and replace it with a national sales tax. Perhaps instead we should have a flat tax with very few, if any, deductions, credits, and all kinds of other exemptions which gum up the tax code.
A sensible news organization would throw open the doors to such a spirited discussion. But the folks at MSNBC? Well, let's just say they found an occasion to promote their desired goal of nationwide state recognition of -- as well as the licensing for -- same-sex marriage.
The Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) networks have colluded with the Obama administration to censor the latest IRS scandal news. The latest: On September 17 theWashington Timesreported the following: “IRS employees were ‘acutely’ aware in 2010 that President Obama wanted to crack down on conservative organizations and were egged into targeting tea party groups by press reports mocking the emerging movement, according to an interim report being circulated Tuesday by House investigators.”
The report, by staffers for Rep. Darrell E. Issa, California Republican and chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, quoted two Internal Revenue Service officials saying the tea party applications were singled out in the targeting program that has the agency under investigation because ‘they were likely to attract media attention.’”
An incredulous Stuart Varney brought NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell on his Varney & Co. program this morning to discuss how "[t]he mainstream media [have been] completely ignoring one the the biggest news stories of the year," by devoting zero news stories to the IRS scandal since July.
"Is that accurate, they haven't even mentioned it since those dates we put up on the screen?!" Varney asked Bozell at the segment. "It's fascinating and so troubling" because we have "one of the greatest abuses in my lifetime, the greatest abuse of federal power ever, where you're using the most-feared arm of government against the people and you're seeing one revelation after another" which the networks simply refuse to cover. The Media Research Center founder and president rattled off just a few [LISTEN to mp3 audio here; WATCH the video below the page break]:
In Wednesday's Wall Street Journal, Stephen Moore had an excellent op-ed about how the Obama economy was hurting the president's political base the most.
The next day, Journal reporter Julie Jargon shed light on an IRS rule change which will adversely affect waiters and waitresses throughout America by judging tips earned as a result of an "automatic gratuity" to be a "service charge" that is subject to payroll and income tax withholding, not tips that are cashed out for the waiter's benefit at the end of his or her shift.
The thought of ObamaCare makes many Americans uneasy. The American people know that this overhaul of the health care system drives up the cost of health care, undermines the doctor-patient relationship and vastly expands the role of the federal government.
The national media’s coverage of the health care reform law has been anything but balanced. From the onset, the media have used emotional, anecdotal stories to help sell Obamacare. Newspapers have buried polls deep within their pages that show a majority of Americans’ favor a repeal of the health care program. And many media outlets have refused to cover the recent setbacks to this major health care overhaul.
Taxpayer-subsidized NPR has a headline problem that won’t go away. As biased as much of its reporting is, NPR’s headline writers often appear to think that there is not enough bias. Sometimes they even write headlines that aren’t supported anywhere in the corresponding report. Even though there has been a history of headline problems at NPR recently, it appears that the headlines go out without being first checked by someone else.
On July 30, NPR congressional reporter Tamara Keith did a fair piece on Internal Revenue Service targeting of political groups (see Newsbusters post on it). That piece initially appeared only online with the headline, “Report: IRS Scrutiny Worse For Conservatives." In what looks to be an updated on-air version of the same story the next day , an NPR headline writer changed the initially accurate headline to one unsupported by the piece: “House Republicans Work To Keep IRS Scandal In The Spotlight.”
"It took the networks 13 days to run a single story" on the fact that Obama-appointed IRS chief counsel William Wilkins was "getting direct reports" on the IRS's review of conservative/Tea Party applications for 501(c)(3) status, NewsBusters publisher and Media Research Center (MRC) founder Brent Bozell told Blaze TV's Andrew Wilkow on the Tuesday edition of his Wilkow! program. Likewise, it took 15 days for the mainstream media to get around to covering the Obama/Holder Justice Department was "refusing to investigate any government employees who were improperly accessing tax records."
"This goes on and on and on. These are all breaking news stories that are leading to one of the largest scandals in modern American history where the most feared arm of government is completely abusing its rights, and it looks like it's coming from the Obama administration, and there's no coverage," Bozell concluded. [watch the full segment below the page break]
The same networks that have been minimizing and ignoring the growing scandal at the Internal Revenue Service all found time to fawn over 50-year-old footage of President Kennedy vacationing with family. A World News graphic on Sunday night thrilled, "Return to Camelot."
Anchor David Muir breathlessly narrated the video to cloying, emotional music provided by ABC: "President Kennedy teeing off. The 46-year-old President putting and, well, missing the shot. The camera trained on him though for the entire round of golf and with the next putt there is more success." Muir gushed over footage of a young Caroline Kennedy on "the lap of her father as they finished their sun-splashed weekend fifty years ago tonight." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
"The liberal media’s refusal to cover the IRS scandal – more than the NSA scandal, more than DOJ’s surveillance of journalists, more even than the tragic loss of life in Benghazi – cuts to the very heart of their corruption," NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell charged in a statement released this afternoon with radio host Rush Limbaugh and three other leaders of the conservative movement.
"No fair, objective journalist can look at the facts of this flagrant abuse of power and not conclude that it is a massive political scandal deserving of constant, merciless scrutiny," they concluded, arguing that "Any ‘so-called’ journalist who says otherwise is at best an ethically bankrupt shill for the administration and at worst thinks conservatives should be persecuted by the government for their beliefs." You can read the full Media Research Center (MRC) press release below the page break:
"The national news media are aiding and abetting a censorship campaign," regarding the "cascading" IRS scandal, Media Research Center founder and president Brent Bozell argued on the June 21 edition of Fox Business Network's Varney & Co.
Bozell noted, for example, that only CBS's This Morning covered the fact that IRS officials received $70 million in employee bonuses this year, despite a White House order freezing such bonuses during the sequester cutbacks. [MP3 audio here; Watch the video of the segment following the page break]
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.
Not content with using her roles as managing editor and moderator of the “Washington Week” program and as a senior correspondent for the “PBS NewsHour,” Ifill took her crusade online on Sunday, when she posted on Twitter that it's “Fun to see the same (named & unnamed) folks calling for Holder resignation who always have” and asserted that “people don't want to know the details back and forth” of the IRS targeting.
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:
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":
There have been a number of new revelations this week in the ever expanding scope of the IRS scandal. However, even with so many developments in the investigation of this egregious scandal, there was extremely limited coverage of the unfolding of this affair in the morning news of many more liberal stations like ABC, NBC, and CBS. In contrast, Fox News devoted almost 15 minutes in their programming on Thursday morning’s Fox & Friends show to enlighten the public of all of the new information in the scandal.
The only other station to provide any coverage of the IRS controversy this morning was CBS News, who barely covered it at all. The network devoted all of 50 seconds to covering the controversy on CBS This Morning while also airing a few minutes on their show Up to the Minute, which airs at 3 a.m. Eastern. You can ask CBS for verification, but I do not think their viewership numbers for that show are too incredibly high.
“When it rains, it pours” is an accurate description of the situation currently faced by the Internal Revenue Service, which is under intense criticism for denying tax-exempt status to conservative groups with the words “Tea Party” or “Patriot” in their names.
As if that wasn't enough, even though the national media are not drilling down on this, the IRS is now being accused of delaying the application process and seeking an enormous amount of minuscule details before granting nonprofit status to pro-life groups across the country.
At Bloomberg Views, Al Hunt, formerly "the executive editor of Bloomberg News, directing coverage of the Washington bureau," referred to the controversies swirling around the White House as "faux scandals" and insisted that ... wait for it ... the Obama administration "is the most scandal-free administration in recent memory." No wonder Bloomberg News developed into such a hopelessly biased outfit while he was there. As much as I could stand to excerpt from Hunt's harangue follows the jump (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
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]
For a brief period on the morning of May 17, MSNBC was actually acting like a real news network. Starting at 9:00 a.m. Eastern on Friday, MSNBC carried live coverage of a House Ways and Means Committee hearing on the Obama IRS scandal, but apparently actual news coverage can only last so long before the network breaks out in hives from objective journalism.
Following an hour of live coverage, MSNBC felt it necessary to cut from the hearing to interview Rep. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.) to dismiss the entire proceedings as political partisanship. MSNBC was the only cable news network to cut from the live coverage to conduct a meaningless interview with a Democrat to slam Republicans.
During Wednesday's edition of MSNBC's weeknight program “The Last Word,” host Lawrence O'Donnell responded to a statement made earlier in the day by President Obama about the Internal Revenue Service's discrimination against conservative groups seeking non-profit status: “Across the board, everybody believes” what was revealed in the report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration is “an outrage.”
“Everybody but me,” O'Donnell insisted. “I believe that the IRS agents in this case did nothing wrong.”
MSNBC brews up a fresh pot of liberal talking points every morning with Morning Joe and its liberal co-host Mika Brzezinski. Brzezinski lets it known every day that she is not only extremely liberal, but looks for every opportunity she can to criticize conservatives on a regular basis.
But as a result of her fervent partisanship, Mika has trouble admitting when conservatives are right on an issue, and shows, rather comically, actual physical discomfort at the sign of conservative success. [See video after jump. MP3 audio here.]
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.
On Friday's All In show, MSNBC host Chris Hayes led the show by recounting the news of the "big, bad, scary" scandal of President Obama's IRS targeting conservative groups, but also chided Republicans for continuing to push Benghazi, which he referred to as a "witch hunt" and a "fake, ginned up scandal."
After reading a quote from a Tea Party group which brought up Benghazi in reacting to the IRS scandal, Hayes continued:
"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:
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.]
Scandalous news that the Internal Revenue Service intimidated nonprofit opponents of the Obama administration made page 11 of Saturday's New York Times.
The IRS apology to Tea Party and other conservative organizations for politically motivated targeting of their nonprofit status was dealt with in mild fashion by reporter Jonathan Weisman, though not on the front page. "I.R.S. Apologizes to Tea Party Groups Over Audits of Applications for Tax Exemption." The same audits that were applauded last year by the Times' s editorial page. And a Monday front-page follow-up was topped with what even liberal journalists found a bizarre headline: "IRS Focus on Conservatives Gives GOP an Issue to Seize On." That's the story?
As NewsBusters has been reporting all morning, the folks on MSNBC's Morning Joe almost unanimously came down on the Obama administration for using the Internal Revenue Service to intimidate its political opponents.
Putting an exclamation point on the outrage late in Monday's program were co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Willie Geist who shockingly agreed, "This is tyranny" (video follows with transcript and absolutely no need for additional commentary):