The “IRS scandal” is best understood as a significant work of fiction, suggested New York magazine’s Jonathan Chait on Tuesday. As Chait tells it, conservatives’ false belief that the tax agency subjected righty groups to especially exacting treatment “prefigure[d] the Republicans’ own blueprint for the use of government as an implement of partisan domination and revenge.”
It didn't take long for CNN to expose its bias against President Donald Trump's 2005 tax returns. At the top of the first hour of CNN's New Day on Wednesday, reporter Suzanne Malveaux said, "The release of President Trump's 2005 taxes raises more questions than answers like whether he skipped out on paying his fair share of taxes more recently."
Lois Lerner’s confession at that conference did contain one small truth. The IRS targeting scandal did indeed start in “Cincy”—as D.C. headquarters refers to that outpost. On a cold late February day in 2010, a Cincinnati screener named Jack Koester found himself focused on an application from a local Tea Party group.
Angry, embarrassed Republicans went looking for a scapegoat and settled on a man who’s more than a decade past the normal retirement age. That’s essentially the explanation The Week’s Paul Waldman gives for House GOPers’ move to impeach 76-year-old Internal Revenue Service commissioner John Koskinen.
That effort, asserted Waldman in a Tuesday column, stems from Republicans’ “frustration over the failure of [the IRS] scandal to take down Barack Obama...With every controversy during this administration…Republicans say to themselves, ‘Now we've finally got him!’…And then it turns out to be a giant nothingburger.”
New York Times reporter and reliable Democratic Party defender-Republican attacker Jackie Calmes valiantly defended that most reviled organization, the Internal Revenue Service, from unfair Republican attacks, under a battle-tinged headline in Friday’s edition: “I.R.S. Supporters Fight Back Against Republican Offensive.” She played the “reduced budget” card as an excuse for agency incompetence. Calmes even downplayed the IRS snooping into Tea Party nonprofits during an election year.
On Wednesday afternoon, the Clinton Foundation group Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) admitted that it had made “minor errors” in its tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in both 2012 and 2013 and thus added another layer to the Clinton Foundation scandal. When it came to major broadcast networks covering this on Wednesday night, however, ABC’s World News Tonight and NBC Nightly News both ignored the new revelation.
On Tuesday, the “big three” networks of ABC, CBS, and NBC censored from their evening newscasts any mention of the House of Representative beginning the procedures to impeach IRS Commissioner John Koskinen on the heels of Republican Congressman and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s expected ascension to Speaker of the House.
In Monday evening’s edition of network bias by omission, CBS and NBC neglected to stories concerning a data breach of American taxpayers at the scandal-ridden IRS and the Obama administration finally giving approval for a major oil company to begin oil drilling in the Arctic off Alaska’s coast. Surprisingly, ABC’s World News Tonight picked up the pieces and provided their viewers with coverage of a full segment on the IRS breach and a brief on the future of drilling in the Arctic.
The network media’s blackout of the IRS scandal continued on Wednesday night with zero mentions of the Senate hearing held hours before as well as a threat issued by a federal judge to hold IRS commissioner John Koskinen and Department of Justice (DOJ) attorneys in contempt of court concerning Lois Lerner’s e-mails. As usual, FNC's Special Report provided coverage that the “big three” of ABC, CBS, and NBC and Spanish-language networks Telemundo and Univision did not and led its Wednesday show with a full story from chief congressional correspondent Mike Emanuel.
On Thursday night, the major broadcast networks ignored a new development in the IRS scandal that the agency erased 422 backup tapes and in turn destroyed 24,000 e-mails of embattled former official Lois Lerner. With ABC, CBS, and NBC on the sidelines, the Fox News Channel’s Special Report offered a full report on Thursday’s House Oversight Committee hearing concerning the multi-year scandal. Bret Baier informed viewers that there was “new information about thousands more e-mails in the IRS targeting scandal destroyed during the investigation.”
In Thursday’s edition of stories ignored by the top English and Spanish networks, the six of them declined to report that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has admitted that illegal immigrants could apply for back taxes under President Obama’s amnesty plan as well as a report by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that fracking does not harm drinking water.
Leave it to taxpayer-subsidized NPR to subtly shade its reporting on a federal government data breach in a way that softens the blow for the Internal Revenue Service.