On Thursday afternoon, FBI director Robert Mueller was called before the House Judiciary Committee to answer questions about the bureau's association with the recent scandals that have rocked the president's second term. He testified about the FBI investigation into the IRS targeting scandal as well as about the security at Benghazi and their delay in responding to the attack. Mueller stumbled through the interview, as he did not give many straight or definitive answers. In fact, he seemed to be remarkably uninformed about key elements regarding the scandals given the fact that he was supposed to be in charge of the entire operation.
Curiously, with such a significant development in these scandals, particularly the one pertaining to the IRS targeting, all of the broadcast networks’ evening newscasts neglected the story. NBC Nightly News along with CBS Evening News and ABC World News did not deem this progression in the scandal newsworthy as it was given collective total of no air time. The only network that gave this new development any time at all was the Fox News Channel. In fact one of the channel’s staple primetime shows, Hannity, featured the story as its leading piece and had a number of guests on the show to comment about the scandal and its lack of media coverage, including the founder of the Media Research Center, Brent Bozell.
Not that it absolves them from blame, but one contributor to the Big Three establishment TV networks' utter failure to report on or keep up with developments in the IRS targeting scandal -- failures which have been noted by Geoffrey Dickens at NewsBusters, as well as by the Media Research Center's Brent Bozell on Sean Hannity's TV show last night -- is the Associated Press.
The AP provides much of the raw material for the networks' stories and largely determines the nets' perception as to which stories are important. It is still quite appropriate to refer to it as the Administration's Press, even after Obama administration Attorney General Eric Holder admitted to scouring phone records involving 20 business and personal lines used by over 100 AP reporters and editors in April and May of last year. Yesterday's failure by the wire service's Pete Yost to even mention that the IRS scandal was on the agenda at a House Judiciary Committee hearing yesterday involving FBI Director Robert Mueller exemplifies how negligent or intimidated (or both) the AP has become.