Breitbart.com editors either cannot read, or their intentions are clearly to willfully deceive. As with Benghazi, this hurts them terribly.
My cousin shared this article from Breitbart with me. It’s about the IRS scandal and how the IRS targeted Tea Party or other “conservative” groups for extra questioning and “intimidation.” From the way it looks, this could be a legitimate scandal for Obama’s administration, and it’s going to have legs according to Rachel Maddow. I’ve personally noticed over the last week that all of a sudden, many GOP and conservative websites had been doing some really good reporting on this. They cite legitimate sources, they use media reports (without all of a sudden talking about how the media is terrible), and they stick to the facts. Honestly, I really started to believe Obama and his administration could be in some serious trouble. If the right wing media doesn’t have to make stuff up to make you look like a criminal, you probably did something wrong.
But then I read the Breitbart piece my cousin shared. Now, it claims that the New York Times (iknowritetehgraylady!!!!) basically attacks the Obama administration. According to Breitbart, the NYT “in no uncertain terms and with no hedging…reports that the Obama administration was aware of the fact that the IRS was targeting Tea Party groups as far back as June of 2012.” That’s a pretty heavy claim, and knowing the Times as well as I do (I’ll admit that they’re unquestionably liberal and they soft-pedal anything that hurts liberals or progressives when they can get away with it), I was surprised to hear that the Times would go all in against the administration like that. So, I kept reading. In the Breitbart piece (linked above), they say that the Times reported this:
The Treasury Department’s inspector general told senior Treasury officials in June 2012 he was investigating the Internal Revenue Service’s screening of politically active organizations seeking tax exemptions, disclosing for the first time on Friday that Obama administration officials were aware of the matter during the presidential campaign year.
Now, they either misquoted the Times or the Times changed the article (from the looks of my own google searching, the Times may have changed it), but basically, that’s what the Times reported. Basically. Here’s the paragraph they cited and how it reads now.
The inspector general gave Republicans some fodder Friday when he divulged that he informed the Treasury’s general counsel he was auditing the I.R.S.’s screening of politically active groups seeking tax exemptions on June 4, 2012. He told Deputy Treasury Secretary Neal Wolin “shortly after,” he said. That meant Obama administration officials were aware of the matter during the presidential campaign year.
Two problems here with Breitbart’s reporting. One, the paragraph on nytimes.com as of this writing, and even the paragraph Breitbart provides, does not report that the IRS was targeting Tea Party or conservative groups. It says “politically active groups,” which could be anyone from the Tea Party to Planned Parenthood. Claiming that the NYT declared in “no uncertain terms” that the administration knew about the IRS targeting the Tea Party is factually inaccurate, and I all I had to do was read the paragraph they used as evidence.
The second problem here is, let’s say I grant that the administration WAS aware of an investigation into the IRS’s conduct vis a vis Tea Party groups: what does that mean exactly? So the admin was aware of an investigation. If the administration tried to STOP that investigation, then you have a scandal, and a potentially massive one, I would say. But, if someone tells you, “Hey, we’re investigating this thing,” and your response is, “Okay cool. Let me know how it goes,” that’s about as scandalous as a baby farting in church. From the same NYT article Breitbart cited, “Treasury officials stressed they did not know the results until March 2013, when the inspector presented a draft.” So, until two months ago, no one could have known anything about the RESULTS of the investigation—only that an investigation was taking place.
This is a scandal?
This is precisely why, especially with Benghazi, most Americans aren’t responding to GOP and conservative efforts to attack Obama. Obama’s faithful opposition has been trying to destroy him since 2007 (and you could probably say 2004, after he gave his DNC speech) when he first declared his candidacy for president. Ever since then, they’ve thrown everything they possibly can at the guy: where’s the birth certificate, release your college records, Reverend Wright, Bill Ayers, Benghazi, Fast and Furious, Solyndra, he’s a secret Muslim, he’s an atheist, black liberation theology, he’s un-American. None of that has stuck. Obama weathered through it all, and he was able to do so mostly because all of that is either a. complete bullshit or b. the GOP and conservatives overplayed their hands before they had all the information. The Fast and Furious scandal should be have been way bigger news. But, when there have been impeachment talks since about a month after Obama was elected (Maddow NAILS IT here), any real opposition tends to be lumped into the existing nonsense opposition. The incessant outrage and indignance from Obama’s detractors gets dull. People start tuning out. It loses its force.
It’s the boy who cried wolf.
Just like now. The GOP just got dealt a KILLER hand. This IRS scandal is a real problem. It’s a potential game-changer for them in their never ending quest to destroy Obama. And what do they do with it? Rather than sticking to the clearly reported facts, they start to make shit up. Over the last three or four days, I’ve been following this story, and everything the right wing media was claiming seemed legitimate. And then I read this article from Breitbart, and my eyes roll back into my skull in horror and disgust at the incompetence or dishonesty of it all.
Plain and simple: the New York Times did not say that the Obama adminstration knew of this “scandal” before the election. They knew of an investigation. Investigations ≠ scandals.
I’m not saying the Obama administration isn’t to blame for this: I’d love to see a full investigation into what happened and who knew what. And if there’s any evidence that this is in any way linked to the Obama administration, or if there’s in any way any evidence which shows that Obama or his administration tried to OBSTRUCT the investigation, then well shit. The GOP finally has themselves a legitimate, undeniable Obama scandal. The GOP and conservatives would do very well by themselves to sit back, shut up, let the facts come out, then attack. This could be what they’ve been waiting for since 2007.
But instead, we get Breitbart’s editors either proving themselves illiterate or revealing themselves as dishonest pageview whores. Keep up the good work, conservatives. Watching you shoot yourselves in the foot, pat each other on the back, and blame Obama for your self-inflicted wounds will continue to be entertaining, even if they’re infuriating at the same time.
Watch as the president, for the second time in his term in office, is interrupted in the middle of giving a speech like no other president has ever been interrupted before.
First it was Joe Wilson (R-SC) who screamed, “YOU LIE!” at Obama during Obama’s State of the Union address. That had never happened in the recorded history of this country. And, it wasn’t like those “Code Pink” idiots who interrupt Republican politicians during speeches. Let me repeat: Code Pink are a bunch of assholes for the way they go about getting their message into the media. Those are extreme activists. They’re a part of a vast, unsupported minority.
But, when Obama was interrupted during his SotU, that was a sitting member of the United States House of Representatives screaming at the president. It wasn’t some fringe group. It was an officially elected member of the Republican establishment. Sure, he apologized afterwards, but then he went and raised money off of what he did. He raised money off of his disrespect for the president. That’s how sorry he really was.
And now, a few years later, we have another first. Another time the president is interrupted in the middle of a speech. This time, it wasn’t a member of Congress, but it also wasn’t a member of Code Pink or the Tea Party or PETA. It was a “professional reporter” for the hyper-conservative blog “The Daily Caller.” His name is Neil Munro, and he is a professional member of the conservative media. He gets paid to report things that conservatives want to be told. He was given a pass to have the ability to cover the president’s speech, and he used that privilege to disrespect the president by interrupting him mid-speech, just like Joe Wilson did.
(While I was writing this, Munro and the Daily Caller published a reaction to this mess. My updated reaction is on the bottom.)
Whether or not Wilson or Munro are factually correct in their assertions is irrelevant. They may be, but as a politician and a media member respectively, they have to know that the way to disagree is not to be disrespectful. But they seemingly don’t think this president is deserving of the same kind of respect the last 43 presidents have received (I wonder what’s different about this one…?) This is pure disrespect, and it’s not coming from extremist groups who hold up signs at rallies of less than a hundred people. It’s not coming from idiots on Twitter who aren’t educated or civilized enough to form a coherent thought.* It’s coming directly from the conservative establishment. It’s coming directly from the people who are professional representatives of conservatism.
And conservatives have the gall to claim that it is the president who is dividing the country? It’s the elected representatives and the paid professionals of the “right” who are setting the example for inappropriate and disrespectful behavior.
Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity and Mark Levin do nothing but trash the president all day on their radio shows. And you know what? That’s fine. That’s fair game. But, it also sets the stage for these kinds of outbursts which have heretofore not been seen in American politics. One side of the argument is dragging the American media and politics further into the gutter, and it’s people like Joe Wilson and Neil Munro.
They’re a disgrace to America.
Update: Munro and the Daily Caller have published their reaction, and needless to say, it’s laughable. From Munro: ““I always go to the White House prepared with questions for our president. I timed the question believing the president was closing his remarks, because naturally I have no intention of interrupting the President of the United States.”
Watch that video again. There is no way you think Obama is finished, especially given the way Obama speaks. He constantly pauses for effect (and likely to gather his thoughts). And even if he did think Obama was finished, Munro interrupted consistently afterwards. It wasn’t a one time, “Oops, thought you were done. Sorry,” kind of interaction. It was a repeated interruption, so much so that Obama had to remind Munro once that it wasn’t time for questions, and then AGAIN that it wasn’t time for an argument in the middle of the president’s speech. To say he had no intention of interrupting the president is laughable, to say the least.
Then there’s Tucker Carlson’s point about Sam Donaldson and Ronald Reagan. Watch the difference here.
Reagan was CLEARLY done. How do we know? Because he said he was going to let someone else (AG Meese) take the podium. That’s what people do when they’ve finished with their remarks. Compare that to Obama, who had simply paused for a moment. For Carlson to even attempt to create an equivalency here is preposterous. Rather than own their mistake and apologize, they’ll double down on it. Why? Because the conservative media has created such a toxic atmosphere for this president that they know they’ll be able to make more money out of insulting him than being respectful. And insulting him to his face? Even better. Pretty soon, just like Joe Wilson, they’ll be selling t-shirts and raising cash. Just pathetic.
So, someone bombed a Planned Parenthood in Wisconsin. Now that I think about it, is there a political party or political movement who have targeted Planned Parenthood for defunding and lies over the last year or so? Oh, that’s right. The Republican Party and conservatives. They’ve gone from lying about Planned Parenthood (Jon Kyl’s infamous statement which was “not meant to be a factual statement”) to saying that they’ll outright get rid of it (Mitt Romney’s pledge) to defunding it in a political standoff with the President (here’s messin’ with you, Texas) to pressuring the Komen foundation to stop all funding to Planned Parenthood (because Planned Parenthood and their breast exams and healthcare for poor women is evil).
So, one party has targeted Planned Parenthood, whose existence is to help women take control of their own bodies, and Planned Parenthood gets bombed.
You can disagree with abortion all you want. You can call it evil, immoral, unethical, whatever. But, you need to realize other people disagree with you, and you need to realize that bombs aren’t the answer to disagreements. I can’t believe I even have to write that down. It’s the tactic of cowards. It’s the tactic of terrorists. And if you use a bomb like this, you’re no better than the fanatical Muslims who aim to destroy this country. You’re scum, and you’re an enemy of America.
And if you’re on the Republican or conservative side, you have to make sure you don’t vilify and target an organization to the point where this kind of thing happens. Republicans and conservatives especially, because they have created an absolutely disgusting and poisonous atmosphere for this organization and the MILLIONS of American women it serves, MUST come out and denounce this in no uncertain terms. No equivocating. And if you don’t, you’re as much of a coward as the person (or people) who did this.