Both NBC's Today and CBS This Morning on Thursday saw the beginning of the end of an investigation into the Obama administration's IRS scandal following tirade by Democratic Congressman Elijah Cummings at the conclusion of a Wednesday hearing on the topic. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On Today, news reader Natalie Morales proclaimed: "Well, after a shouting match on Capitol Hill, California Republican Darrell Issa says his probe of alleged IRS abuses may have hit a dead end." The headline on screen read: "IRS Hearing Showdown; Probe In Danger After Chaotic Hearing." CBS This Morning co-host Charlie Rose similarly declared: "A congressional investigation into the IRS may be stalled this morning because of partisan bickering."
Despite the way Morales and Rose portrayed it, there was no "shouting match" or "partisan bickering," Cummings alone started yelling at Chairman Issa and other committee members after the hearing adjourned following former IRS official Lois Lerner refusing to answer questions.
Only NBC Nightly News covered the hearing Wednesday night, and only then because, as anchor Brian Williams put it, "The top Democrat on the committee, Elijah Cummings of Maryland, was not allowed to speak."
CBS Evening News and ABC's World News skipped the story. ABC's Good Morning America continued to ignore the news on Thursday. In fact, ABC has managed to completely avoid the topic since November.
Here are transcripts of the Today and This Morning reports on March 6:
7:12 AM ET
NATALIE MORALES: Well, after a shouting match on Capitol Hill, California Republican Darrell Issa says his probe of alleged IRS abuses may have hit a dead end.
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: IRS Hearing Showdown; Probe In Danger After Chaotic Hearing]
MORALES: Issa tried to end a hearing Wednesday when a former IRS manager refused to testify, but he was interrupted by Maryland Democrat Elijah Cummings.
REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS [D-MD]: Let me say what I have to say. I've listened to you for the last 15 or 20 minutes, let me say what I have to say.
MORALES: Well, Chairman Issa proceeded to adjourn the hearing anyway, saying that Cummings had a chance to ask a question and did not ask it.
CBS This Morning
7:33 AM ET
CHARLIE ROSE: A congressional investigation into the IRS may be stalled this morning because of partisan bickering. On Wednesday, former IRS division head Lois Lerner refused to answer questions about targeting conservative groups. The Oversight Committee chair, Republican Darrell Issa, quickly adjourned the meeting, but ranking Democrat Elijah Cummings boiled over when Issa cut the microphone.
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Capitol Hill Clash; Tempers Flare at Hearing on IRS Targeting]
REP. DARRELL ISSA [R-CA]: Miss Lerner, you're released, you may-
REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS: But first I would like to use my time to make some brief points. For the past year, the central Republican accusation in this investigation-
ISSA: We're adjourned. Close it down. Thank you.
CUMMINGS: If you will sit down and allow me to ask the question, I am a member of the Congress of the United States of America! I am tired of this! We have members over here, each who represent 700,000 people. You cannot just have a one-sided investigation. There is absolutely something wrong with that and it is absolutely un-American.
ROSE: The Justice Department and two other congressional committees are also investigating the IRS scandal.