The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Trained Hamsters

During the Obama years, I have noted on many occasions that the main stream media acts as the president's trained hamsters. Not only do they parse stories that they must report in a way that protects this president, but they spike important stories, government and economic data, and outright scandals that might damage the president. Of course, their job should be quite different—to "speak truth to power" and to aggressively question and investigate the nation's ruling political elite. Their abrogation of that fundamental responsibility has made them a laughing stock, an entity that cannot be trusted or believed.

There are, of course, a few exceptions (Jake Tapper and Sheryl Attkisson come to mind) who worked for the MSM but still did their job. But in the main, the editors and "journalists" working for the most "prestigious" new outlets have allowed political bias to cloud their reporting. All to the nation's detriment.

Peter Wehner comments on all of this when he writes:
Here’s a thought experiment. Assume during the George W. Bush administration the IRS had targeted, Planned Parenthood, the Center for American Progress, and a slew of other liberal groups. Assume, too, that no conservative groups were the subject of harassment and intimidation. And just for the fun of it, assume that press secretary Ari Fleischer had misled the press and the public by saying the scandal was confined to two rogue IRS agents in Cincinnati and that President Bush had declared that there was “not even a smidgen of corruption” that had occurred.

Let’s go a step further. Assume that the IRS Commissioner, in testifying before Congress, admitted that the emails of the person at the heart of the abuse of power scandal were gone, that the backup tapes have been erased and that her hard drive was destroyed. For good measure, assume that the person who was intimately involved in targeting liberal groups took the Fifth Amendment.

Given all this, boys and girls, do you think the elite media–the New York Times, Washington Post, The News Hour, and the news networks for ABC, CBS, NBC, and CNN–would pay much attention to it?

Answer: They wouldn’t just cover the story; they would fixate on it. It would be a crazed obsession. Journalists up and down the Acela Corridor would be experiencing dangerously rapid pulse rates. The gleam in their eye and the spring in their step would be impossible to miss. You couldn’t escape the coverage even if you wanted to. The story would sear itself into your imagination.
Any objective assessment of the facts, of evidence uncovered to date and of evidence destroyed to protect the administration (it is inconceivable that after an email information request from Congress, Lois Lerner and six other IRS employees all had their disk drives "crash" in the same time period and that no server backup was maintained) clearly indicates that the IRS scandal is big, very big. It is far worse than Watergate and far more dangerous.

And yet, grudging media coverage or no coverage at all.


The simple answer is bias, but it might be more complicated than that. The vast majority of reporters support left-leaning politicians and policies. Their colleagues, friends, and acquaintances do the same. Who among them would want to break a story that leads to the downfall of liberal icon, Barack Obama? Who among them would actively talk to a modern day 'deep throat,' knowing that the information delivered could lead to this president's resignation? They would be shunned by the same set of colleagues, friends, and acquaintances. It's far easier to act like the three monkeys—hearing, seeing and speaking no 'evil.'

It has now been over 410 days since the IRS scandal first broke. Outright lies, continuous obfuscation, stonewalling, and now a blantant IRS coverup have all ensued. Who is orchestrating all of this? Where does it lead? The media doesn't care, and America loses.

Even as the MSM aids and abets the administration and its party in its effort to stonewall this scandal, elements of the media are doing their job. The Wall Street Journal reports:
The IRS is spinning a tale of bureaucratic incompetence to explain the vanishing emails from former Tax Exempt Organizations doyenne Lois Lerner and six other IRS employees. We have less faith by the minute that there is an innocent explanation for this failure to cooperate with Congress, but even if true it doesn't matter. The IRS was under a legal obligation to retain the information because of a litigation hold. [emphasis mine]

In 2009 a pro-Israel group called Z Street applied to the IRS for tax-exempt status. When the process was delayed, an IRS agent told the group that its application was undergoing special review because "these cases are being sent to a special unit in the D.C. office to determine whether the organization's activities contradict the Administration's public policies." In August 2010 Z Street sued the IRS on grounds that this selective processing of its application amounted to viewpoint discrimination.

Under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and legal precedent, once the suit was filed the IRS was required to preserve all evidence relevant to the viewpoint-discrimination charge. That means that no matter what dog ate Lois Lerner's hard drive or what the IRS habit was of recycling the tapes used to back up its email records of taxpayer information, it had a legal duty not to destroy the evidence in ongoing litigation.

In private white-collar cases, companies facing a lawsuit routinely operate under what is known as a "litigation hold," instructing employees to affirmatively retain all documents related to the potential litigation. A failure to do that and any resulting document loss amounts to what is called "willful spoliation," or deliberate destruction of evidence if any of the destroyed documents were potentially relevant to the litigation.
Great work connecting the dots by the WSJ. Looks like there is now potential criminal liability at the IRS. Does that liability go higher?

Just imagine if the MSM fixated on this important story with an "obsession" that rivaled Watergate. We would know the truth, wherever it might lead.


Today, FoxNews (one of the few media outlets that is doing a good job pursuing the IRS scandal reports:
New evidence about the actions of the IRS official at the center of the investigation into the agency’s systematic targeting of President Obama’s political adversaries is intensifying the firestorm over the alleged corruption. IRS executive Lois Lerner apparently pushed for an audit of one of the administration’s most outspoken critics in the Senate. In emails with a colleague, Lerner claims to have mistakenly received an invitation to Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, to give a speech to a non-profit group in 2012. Lerner wrote that the group offered to pay for Grassley’s wife to attend. Lerner wanted to sic investigators on Grassley, even though, as her colleague observed, the offer was not improper. How did Lerner, a then-unknown IRS division manager, end up with a speaking invitation to an Iowa Republican Senator? We can’t know because Lerner refuses to testify. What other notable Republican did she suggest be targeted? We can’t find out because the agency “recycled” the hard drives that the IRS says include her sent items from the key period of the targeting. But what we do know is: Pushing for the selective prosecution of a high-profile administration adversary in the Senate is a big deal and will change the way this case moves forward.