In the ongoing controversy of the IRS targeting Tea Party groups, CNN jumped all over breaking news that helped the Democratic narrative but was silent when developments occurred that boosted the Republican criticism of the agency.
When news broke Tuesday that liberal groups, not just conservative groups, were flagged by the IRS for potential scrutiny, CNN hammered the story and proclaimed it a "new wave of controversy" that was "rocking Capitol Hill." The network repeatedly quoted Democrat Rep. Sandy Levin (Mich.) slamming the inspector general for previously claiming that the agency unfairly targeted Tea Party groups.
However, the very next day the inspector general responded in a letter that conservative groups were indeed targeted more than liberal groups, and CNN was nowhere to be found on the story.
Although many different groups appeared on an IRS watch list, the inspector general insisted that far more Tea Party groups received "extra scrutiny" from the IRS than did the liberal groups.
CNN.com picked up on the letter, but CNN gave it no coverage. Tom Cohen wrote on CNN.com:
"Another category of the BOLO lists also had liberal-themed criteria including "progressives," but that category didn't set off the automatic extra scrutiny for political activity faced by conservative groups, according to a letter to the panel this week by Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration J. Russell George."
And as Cohen reported, the acting IRS chief admitted to a double standard:
"Under tough questioning Thursday at a House Ways and Means Committee hearing, Werfel acknowledged that the different BOLO categories meant liberal groups avoided the extra scrutiny cited by the inspector general that included processing delays and extensive questions perceived by conservatives as political intimidation."
CNN mentioned on Thursday morning that the IRS hearing on Capitol Hill would take place, but made no report of Werfel's acknowledgment or the inspector general's letter. New Day co-host Michaela Pereira completely ignored the IG's letter in her Thursday news brief:
"Acting IRS commissioner Danny Werfel likely to be grilled today by a House committee on why he did not reveal earlier that the IRS was targeting conservatives and progressives."
On Wednesday night, OutFront host Erin Burnett bizarrely noted that the agency "can't catch a break" amidst scandal: "Well, the IRS can't catch a break. A new watchdog report that shows the agency wasn't keeping an eye on employees with business credit cards. "
Again, as NewsBusters reported, CNN's Dana Bash jumped all over the news that the IRS "targeted" both liberal and conservative groups, and she repeatedly quoted a Democrat slamming the inspector general for misleading the public on the controversy. However, when the inspector general responded that conservative groups were indeed targeted more than liberal groups, Bash was nowhere to be found on the story.