Pretty much all you need to know about the current negligent media culture in Washington is summed up in two items involving the Politico’s home page this morning — one which is there, and one which isn’t.
The featured story at top of the home page by Byron Tau is about infighting between “Big Marijuana” — it seems like “Big Pot” would be a more succinct nickname — and those who want to extend recent electoral victories in legalizing the drug. What isn’t there on the home page, as confirmed in a word search, is any story with a headline or tease containing “IRS.”
A search at the web site on “IRS” also demonstrates scandal apathy, accompanied by an eagerness to find excuses to downplay it.
The web site’s most recent story with a reference to the scandal is about President Obama’s plans to visit Capitol Hill Democrats next week. It merely observes that “With the U.S. economy growing slowly and unemployment stubbornly high — as well as a number of high-profile scandals related to the IRS, NSA and Benghazi – Obama has seen his polls numbers slide.” High-profile? Not at the Politico.
A July 26 story about David Axelrod (affectionately referred to as “Axe”) going after House Speaker John Boehner has Obama’s 2012 campaign manager saying the following about the scandal:
Asked about Obama using the phrase “phony scandals” in the speech, Axelrod said he thought the IRS was not a political scandal.
“What I believe is that what happened at the IRS was stupid and disturbing. I don’t think it was a scandal,” he said. “I think the behavior was something that needs to be corrected but I don’t think it was the political scandal — but I don’t think that’s the big issue.”
A July 25 story is about a letter to Boehner from 60 GOP congressmen being circulated by freshman North Carolina representative Mark Meadows urging the Speaker to work to defund ObamaCare. Meadows writes: “In light of the Administration’s recent delay of the employer mandate and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) scandal, it is imperative, now more than ever, that Congress do everything in its power to halt the implementation of the healthcare law.”
A Wednesday story, “GOP Senators target IRS on Obamacare,” is about how “Republican senators are pushing separate amendments on a spending bill this week that would choke off funding to the IRS to implement Obamacare.” It contains no scandal developments.
That moves the coverage timeline to before Thursday morning’s genuine news that House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp has stopped just short of accusing the IRS of obstruction. As noted yesterday (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), the agency has only turned over 13,000, or 0.2%, of the 65 million documents the committee has requested. Why Camp felt he had to qualify his reference to obstruction in any way is a mystery.
The Politico has no coverage of the IRS’s failure to produce requested documents.
Those interested in catching up on the tidal wave of stories Politico has chosen to ignore can visit the TaxProf blog, where Pepperdine University Law Professor Paul Caron has compiled 78 days (and counting) of scandal-related links.
Perhaps Politico’s staffers are spending a bit too much time inhaling the fumes of the cigarettes derived from the plant currently featured at the top of their web site’s home page to be bothered to engage in real journalism.
Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.