Unlike her colleagues at the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) networks, investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson, on Tuesday night, actually dug into the finer points behind the big bombshells revealed in the IRS scandal this week.
Invited on Fox Business Network’s Lou Dobbs Tonight to discuss the revelations of a Department of Justice (DOJ) lawyer confirming the existence of Lois Lerner’s “missing” e-mails and the IRS’s destruction of her Blackberry (stories the networks through Wednesday morning have yet to touch) Attkisson also did a great job of explaining the conflict of interest going on at the DOJ. (video after the jump)
On the heels of a Department of Justice (DOJ) lawyer admitting to Judicial Watch that Lois Lerner’s missing e-mails do exist comes another stunning revelation.
On Monday evening the New York Observer reported “the IRS destroyed Lerner’s Blackberry after it knew her computer had crashed and after a Congressional inquiry was well underway.” Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) network coverage of this fishy behavior on the part of the IRS and Lerner? 0 seconds.
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]
The latest bombshell in the IRS scandal has landed. On Monday, Judicial Watch’s president Tom Fitton told FNC’s Shannon Bream that a Justice Department attorney told them the missing Lois Lerner e-mails do exist.
Appearing on FNC’s The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson, Fitton announced: “A Department of Justice attorney told a Judicial Watch attorney on Friday that it turns out the federal government backs up all computer records in case something terrible happens in Washington and there is a catastrophe....So everything we’ve been hearing about scratched hard drives, about missing e-mails of Lois Lerner, other IRS officials, other officials in the Obama administration, it’s all been a pack of malarkey.” (video after the jump)
ABC's World News stood out as the sole Big Three evening newscast on Wednesday to not cover the release of Lois Lerner's e-mails, where the former top IRS official slammed conservatives as "a**holes" and "crazies." Instead, the news program devoted full reports to the water main that burst on the campus of UCLA and the controversy over usage charges on cell phone bills.
By contrast, NBC Nightly News and CBS Evening News on Wednesday both set aside about two minutes each of air time to Lerner's "salty language," as NBC's Kelly O'Donnell put it: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
What will it take for the networks to start covering the IRS scandal again? How about the central figure emonstrating her personal bias against conservatives? On Wednesday CNSNews.com reported the following bombshell: “A newly discovered email exchange from Lois Lerner’s official IRS email account ‘directly demonstrates Ms. Lerner’s deep animus towards conservatives, which she refers to as ‘---holes,’ House Ways and Means Committee Chair Dave Camp wrote in a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder on Wednesday.”
Will the venomous language Lerner used be enough to get the networks to notice the IRS targeting scandal again? If recent history is any guide, probably not.
The saga of Lois Lerner’s missing emails took a bunch of twists and turns this past week, but you wouldn’t know that if you only got your news from the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) networks. On July 21, it was reported that even more IRS officials had their hard drives crash on them, including employees who “routinely corresponded” with Lerner. What a coincidence! On that same day it was revealed that a top IRS official was uncertain if backup tapes of Lerner’s lost emails still existed. The next day the story changed again when it was reported that Lerner’s hard drive was only “scratched” and the data was recoverable.
Then on July 23 the head of the IRS testified that the back up tapes had finally been discovered but stressed he does not “how they found them” or “whether there’s anything on them or not.” So how many of these intriguing nuggets were reported on any of the network evening or morning shows last week?
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.
On Tuesday, July 22, CBS News’ Stephanie Condon got around to reporting that the IRS may in fact be able to recover Lois Lerner’s missing emails despite previous claims that they were permanently lost. In testimony to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Thomas Kane, deputy associate chief counsel to the IRS, maintained that “there is an issue as to whether or not there is a - that all of the backup recovery tapes were destroyed on the six-month retention schedule.”
Although CBS was a day late covering the latest in the IRS scandal, when the network finally reported on this development, it didn’t make it onto CBS News’ airwaves and instead appeared only on CBSNews.com.
On Monday, IRS deputy associate chief council Thomas Kane told the House Oversight Committee that he is unsure whether or not backup tapes of the lost Lois Lerner emails exist.
Despite the potential bombshell surrounding the investigation into the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups, all three network evening news shows, ABC’s World News with Diane Sawyer, CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley and the NBC Nightly News, ignored the revelations on Monday, July 21.
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.
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]
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.
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.”
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]
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):
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.
After ten days of ignoring the June13 revelation that the IRS mysteriously lost two years worth of Lois Lerner's emails related to the scandal plaguing the agency, Tuesday's network morning shows finally took notice of the development only to tout Democrats dismissing the latest congressional hearing on the government abuse as a "farce." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
NBC's Today and CBS This Morning both provided full reports on the "contentious" hearing in which "Republicans unleashed their full fury" on IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. On Today, correspondent Peter Alexander proclaimed: "The hearings showcased another round of bitter partisanship, with little resolution in sight." A soundbite followed of Massachusetts Democratic Congressman John Tierney declaring: "I don't think I've seen a display of this kind of disrespect in all the time I've been here in Congress."
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 emails of Lois Lerner and other IRS officials are gone forever. Therefore any more complaints about it are nothing but Republican nitpicking. Case closed.
That pretty much sums up the attitude of Politico writer Rachael Bade whose Wednesday article title pretty much sums up what she portrays as the futility of any more investigation into retrieving those missing emails, "Sources: Lois Lerner’s emails likely gone forever." Got that? Or so she seems to hope. However, her writing off the possibility of ever finding those emails elicited a tidal wave of response from Politico readers with over 21,000 comments, many of which begged to differ with her hasty conclusion. First let us read Ms Bade hopefully bid goodbye forever on the chances of IRS email recovery:
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]
"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.’
The networks have mostly ignored new stories on the Internal Revenue Service claiming on Friday they lost two years of lost e-mails from IRS official Lois Lerner (and then six others) in the investigation of IRS attempts to inhibit conservative groups in the Obama years. But what about America's leading newspapers? Not Saturday. Not Sunday. Not Monday.
The Watergate hounds at The Washington Post didn’t report on Lerner’s “lost” e-mails in the paper until Tuesday, on page A-17. Today’s paper floods the zone on a Patent Office decision on “Redskins”– including a front-page spread and a gooey top editorial – but this is chopped liver. The New York Times also arrived on Tuesday, on page A-15.
But none of the Big Three network evening newscasts even mentioned the development tonight, even as they had time for stories on the 20th anniversary of the OJ Simpson freeway chase (NBC), a rare postage stamp up for auction (CBS), and how dogs have and enforce a sort of social etiquette when they play with each other (ABC). [MP3 audio here; video montage follows page break]
Despite the damning new revelations in the IRS scandal, ABC and NBC have failed to cover the story as of Monday June 16, and only CBS This Morning reported on the emails on Monday but their evening news program ignoring the IRS alongside ABC's World News with Diane Sawyer and NBC Nightly News.
Brad Wilmouth reported this morning that CNN's John King made this comment about the Lois Lerner emails that the IRS now claims are supposedly lost: ""Do you believe in the Easter Bunny? Do you believe in Santa Claus? Do you believe that Lois Lerner's emails just suddenly went poof?" Well, CBS News seems to be in Easter Bunny belief mode based on their narrow online report Friday, IRS lost Lois Lerner's emails in tea party probe, which carefully avoids any curiosity as how such emails are now supposedly irretrievable. In fact their own former reporter Sharyl Attkisson is now asking on her website the questions that CBS should but so far hasn't been asking:
On Monday, only CBS This Morning reported Friday's stunning revelation that the IRS somehow lost two years worth of emails from Lois Lerner, the official at the center of the agency scandal in which conservative groups were unfairly targeted. At the top of the morning show, co-host Norah O'Donnell wondered: "How did the IRS lose emails in the scandal targeting conservatives after the government spent millions to back up data?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Introducing the later report, fellow co-host Charlie Rose noted: "The Washington Times says congressional Republicans are blasting the IRS for losing some of Lois Lerner's emails.... the controversy that started last year is erupting again." Correspondent Nancy Cordes reported: "Republican lawmakers, as you can imagine, are furious. They say the IRS has been promising to get them these emails for a year, and now suddenly says that Lois Lerner's computer crashed way back in 2011."
During New Day's regular "Inside Politics" segment on Monday, CNN's John King declared that it "makes me suspicious" as he informed viewers of revelations that some of former IRS official Lois Lerner's emails not only went missing, but that it took over a year for the White House to inform Congress.
After beginning the segment by rhetorically asking, "Do you believe in the Easter Bunny? Do you believe in Santa Claus? Do you believe that Lois Lerner's emails just suddenly went poof?" King recalled the details, including a quote from House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp complaining about it taking so long for the White House to inform him of the emails. King then commented: