CNN is, at the very least, whitewashing the IRS scandal for the Obama administration. At worst, they are engaging in an outright cover-up of the scandal. CNN recently posted an article that essentially said the IRS scandal was not politically motivated. This is an amazing turn of events considering that the investigation into the matter has yet to be concluded, and no firm decisions have been arrived at. The fact that a “news” organization could stand up and say “even though an investigation is ongoing, the government probably didn’t do anything wrong” is absurd.
CNN somehow took a report of a recent CNN/ORC poll that found most Americans now believe that the administration may have played a part in the persecution of conservative groups by the IRS, and tried to turn it into a vindication of the administration.
To do this, they took the testimony of one higher-level IRS official, a woman named Holly Paz, and premised their entire theory of the government’s innocence on her word.
The problem with this juvenile method of deciding guilt or innocence is that it completely discounts the myriad of other testimony that we have already heard in this case. Several IRS agents have come forward to say that they were being “handled” throughout the entire vetting process and that their superiors in Washington were “intimately” involved. Someone even further up the food chain than Holly Paz, Lois Lerner, even spent a day taking the Fifth Amendment, worried that she would in some way incriminate herself in the wrong-doing.
Ms. Paz’s testimony also reveals at least two problems that I would point out, especially as it pertains to the author’s narrative of an innocent government. First, Rep. Cummings says, “This interview transcript provides a detailed first-hand account of how these practices first originated, and it debunks conspiracy theories about how the IRS first started reviewing these cases,”
However, this cute rhetorical device begs the question. While discovering the impetus to the IRS malfeasance is important, it is not the main problem. The bigger issue, the issue of a corrupt administration, is: what did they do once they learned of the problem. The answer – according to testimony from sources not named Holly Paz, was to become more involved and actually offer guidance on how to proceed with each application. So while the administration may not have started the harassment, they certainly didn’t stop it. In fact, they empowered their employees to increase pressure on conservative groups.
The second problem with her testimony as evidence that the government was not culpable in the actions of their agents, comes when Paz discusses what she believes really happened: “Paz was under the impression that the ‘tea party’ label was internal IRS shorthand for all cases regarding groups involved in campaign politics.” She even uses a couple of cute illustrations to explain what she means, citing the difference between coke and soda, or Kleenex and tissue. However, if this were true, would we not see evidence of liberal groups involved with “campaign politics” being ill-treated? If “tea party” was just shorthand for groups involved with “campaign politics” you can be sure that groups on the right and left would have undergone these strenuous investigations. The lack of any liberal organizations being abused by the IRS is evidence that the persecutions were indeed politically motivated, and the fact that upper levels of management knew these things were happening insinuates that the administration had given the all clear to carry out these attacks.
CNN’s childish attempt at whitewashing the IRS scandal is becoming all too regular an event with our national media. It seems as though the folks who are supposed to be guarding our freedoms by keeping our politicians honest and endeavoring to simply “report” the news have become palace guards now trying to “make” the news they report. The major networks at times seem to be official government mouthpieces in the vein of Granma, Al Jazeera, and Pravda.
A word of wisdom to CNN from your friendly neighborhood blogger: do not rely on the word of one testimony as confirmation of your beliefs. Do what the Congressional investigators are doing and collect data from as many sources as possible, then use the data gathered to come to a reasonable and fact-oriented conclusion.
The administration is culpable for the IRS’s actions and this is a scandal. What has happened here, under President Obama’s watch, is one of the most egregious examples of tyranny from the American Government in the last hundred years.