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.