January 9, 2014

In May, LAT’s McManus Called IRS, DOJ Spying on AP ‘Scandals’; But Now They’re Not

In the competition for most obvious Obama administration apparatchik at the Los Angeles Times (i.e., the biggest tool in the toolbox), Doyle McManus has to be considered a front-runner.

As I noted on Tuesday (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), McManus, in a Sunday column, contended that “President Obama has run into his share of controversies, but none that quite reached scandalhood.” He even petulantly asked, “Does anyone even remember the IRS flap?” McManus was apparently so unconcerned about being seen as inconsistent that he didn’t bother telling readers that he held exactly opposite positions on at least two Obama administration “scandals” — that’s what he called them – just eight months ago (HT to frequent commenter Gary Hall).

In May, McManus even implied that the Obama administration is “scandal-ridden”:


McManus: The second-term scandal plague

What is it about presidents’ second terms that makes them seem so scandal-ridden? Simple: The iron law of longevity.

Excuse the digression, but I must ask: What is it about being a captive LAT columnist that causes you to turn into such a complete leftist hack? Simple: A culture lacking anything resembling opinion diversity.

Now to the column (bolds are mine):

… All governments make mistakes, and all governments try to hide those mistakes. But the longer an administration is in office, the more errors it makes, and the harder they are to conceal.

Just ask Richard M. Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton or George W. Bush, all of whom spent much of their second terms playing defense.

The longevity rule caught up with Barack Obama last week as he wrestled clumsily with not one controversy but three: the Internal Revenue Service’s treatment of “tea party” groups, the Benghazi killings and the Justice Department’s seizure of Associated Press telephone records.

… Let’s take the three issues in turn.

The IRS scandal is the most straightforward: A mismanaged unit of the tax agency applied political criteria to its scrutiny of applications for tax-exempt status. Despite the initial portrayal of a rogue operation confined to Cincinnati, IRS officials in Washington knew about the problem and failed to fix it. At least one appears to have misled Congress last year by suggesting that tea party complaints were unfounded.

… every customer of the IRS, not only Republicans, should want an independent investigation to determine whether higher-ups encouraged the Cincinnati cabal.

We now know that “higher-ups” directed the “Cincinnati cabal” — but now, in Doyle McManus’s world, it’s only a “flap” no one remembers. We also know that at least one person who directly reports to the President knew of the IRS’s actions in 2012, if not far earlier.

McManus, as seen above, called for an independent investigation. Today (to be clear, after his Sunday column), we learned that Barbara Bosserman, the administration’s designated internal investigator, “is a frequent and significant donor to both the Democratic National Committee and President Obama.”

McManus mostly blew off Benghazi in May (“the Benghazi talking points still look mostly like a partisan sideshow”), but here’s what he wrote about the Department of Justice’s spying on the Associated Press:

The third controversy, over the Justice Department’s secret decision to seize telephone records of dozens of reporters and editors at the Associated Press, is a different kind of scandal.

But it still fits into the GOP’s critique of Obama as imperious and authoritarian. …

If Obama is both smart and lucky, all three controversies will gradually fade away, assuming no more wrongdoing comes to light.

Plenty of wrongdoing and attempts to dodge accountability have come to light during the eight months after McManus’s May 2013 column. Yet on Sunday, he claimed that the litany of Obama administration scandals never “quite reached scandalhood.”

Horse manure, Doyle.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.


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