On Thursday, with PJ Media's J. Christian Adams as her guest, Fox News's Megyn Kelly recited a list of assertions (under oath, she reminded us) made by Internal Revenue Service officials which have later been shown to be lies or cause for agency flip-flops after "new" facts have been revealed.
It's a significant list. By implication, it's an indictment of the vast majority of the establishment press, which has refused to give the IRS scandal the attention it deserves. Video and a transcript follow the jump.
In the Friday PBS NewsHour,anchor Judy Woodruff lamented the current impasse in Washington: "I don’t know what else to call it, war between congressional Republicans and the president."
She sounded shocked that Speaker John Boehner filed suit to protest the president's constant end-runs around Congress and legislating from the White House on Obamacare, immigration, and other issues. Shields called the suit "absolutely bogus" and compared it to impeaching Bill Clinton in 1998:
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]
On Friday's Morning Joe program, MSNBC host Joe Scarborough complained about the absence of media attention to the fact that IRS commissioner John Koskinen, in charge of an organization currently embroiled in an investigation into whether it has unfairly targeted conservative groups during the Obama administration, is himself a "big Democratic donor" who has donated to President Barack Obama twice and, over the years, almost $100,000 to various Democrats.
Regular panel members Mark Halperin of Time magazine and John Heilemann of New York magazine joined in as Scarborough called out the New York Times in particular and imagined how the Times would have reacted if the roles had been reversed during the George W. Bush administration. Scarborough asked:
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]
During the regular "Inside Politics" segment of Tuesday's New Day on CNN, Ron Fournier of the National Journal declared that he was "naive" last year in giving the Obama administration the "benefit of the doubt" over the IRS scandal, and called for an independent prosecutor to investigate as he reacted to the recent congressional testimony of IRS commissioner John Koskinen.
A bit later, he asserted that the administration was either "incredibly incompetent" or "crooked" regarding both the IRS and V.A. scandals. Fournier:
After all three broadcast network evening newscasts on Friday highlighted IRS commissioner John Koskinen's testimony before Congress regarding the numerous missing emails of former official Lois Lerner, Saturday morning's Good Morning America on ABC ignored the story completely while CBS This Morning ran a full report and NBC's Today gave viewers a 42-second news brief.
GMA, however, did find time to devote a two-minute full report to the hype surrounding the attractive mugshot of convict Jeremy Meeks.
NBC's Jenna Wolfe informed viewers that the IRS commissioner would make another congressional appearance on Monday as she introduced the brief:
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 World News, ABC's David Kerley pressed I.R.S. Commissioner John Koskinen about taxpayers who are unable to "get an answer as to how much they're supposed to pay," due to long wait times on the agency' help line. However, Kerley didn't bother to ask Koskinen about the House Ways and Means Committee's Wednesday vote to refer former IRS official Lois Lerner to the Justice Department for prosecution, over alleged targeting of Tea Party groups for auditing.
In fact, as of Friday, none of the Big Three evening newscasts have covered the House committee's criminal referral, nor the House Oversight Committee voting on Thursday to hold Lerner in contempt of Congress. Instead, the ABC correspondent zeroed in on taxpayers' complaints about the IRS help line, as well as the commissioner's YouTube video warning about how to deal with the poor service there: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
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.
Well, it's not perfect, but it's a start — and it's certainly a far cry from what President Obama is now willing to admit.
In his report Tuesday on the congressional hearing for John Koskinen, Obama's nominee to be the next IRS Commissioner, Stephen Ohlemacher of the Associated Press wrote that Koskinen "told senators Tuesday he will work to restore public trust in the agency in the wake of the tea party scandal even as the IRS takes on new responsibilities administering the president's health care law." That's a remarkable admission, given that the word "scandal" does not appear in Koskinen's prepared remarks, and of course given that Obama's current opinion of what is better described as the "IRS conservative targeting scandal" is that it isn't one ("they’ve got a list, and suddenly everybody’s outraged"). As nice as it is that he used the "S-word," Ohlemacher's dispatch still contained serious oversights, including his failure to cite the change in Obama's public stance since May and his contention that no one outside the IRS knew of its targeting efforts until then.