June 27, 2014

Brief AP Report on Marriage Group’s Court Win Over IRS Takes ‘Conservatives Say’ to Absurd Extreme

A staple of establishment press reporting is to attribute a contention to a limited group of people to either place the truth of a statement into doubt, or to make it appear that only the group involved holds that opinion. Examples taking this to the absolute extreme could include: “Conervatives say the sun rises in the east and sets in the west,” and “Republicans believe that abortion takes a human life.”

Note that I didn’t write that such extreme examples never occur in establishment press reporting. That’s because they sometimes do, even to the point where the reporter(s) involved don’t recognize how utterly ignorant and contradictory their content is. Take the following two bolded paragraphs from the Associated Press’s terse, “Let’s make this story look boring, and tell them as little as we possibly can” story about the National Organization for Marriage’s court victory over the IRS in the release of its donor list (report produced in full because of its brevity, and for fair use and discussion purposes):

COURT ORDERS US TO PAY CONSERVATIVE GROUP $50K

NationalOrganizationForMarriageLogo

A federal court has ordered the U.S. government to pay $50,000 to a conservative group that says confidential information from its tax returns about its donors was published on the website of a political opponent.

The board chairman of the National Organization for Marriage said Tuesday that his group still wants to learn more about how the information from a 2008 tax form emerged from the IRS.

John Eastman’s group opposes same-sex marriage. The information about his organization’s donors ended up being published in 2012 by the Human Rights Campaign, which supports gay rights.

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia issued a consent judgment dated Monday ordering the U.S. to pay the $50,000.

IRS spokesman Bruce Friedland says privacy law prevents his agency from commenting.

The first bolded passage tells readers that the donor list’s publication was only alleged, i.e., by a “conservative group says.”

The second bolded passage states that the information “ended up being published in 2012.” So it’s not just something someone “says”; it’s an irrefutable fact.

An interesting experiment to try any time readers see a “Republican say” or “conservatives say” statement in an establishment press report might be to mentally replace those phrases with “the truth is.” The guess here is that more often than not, the substitution would be accurate.

From the Catholic News Agency, here’s the detail that the AP had no interest in reporting — detail which indicates likely involvement in the illegal information release by an official in Barack Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign (bolds are mine):

IRS ordered to pay $50,000 to marriage defense group

A federal court has ordered the IRS to pay $50,000 to the National Organization for Marriage due to the leak of confidential tax documents, but the organization has called for further investigation to determine the extent of the wrongdoing.

“Thanks to a lot of hard work, we’ve forced the IRS to admit that they in fact were the ones to break the law and wrongfully released this confidential information,” National Organization for Marriage chairman John Eastman said June 24.

“While we are very pleased that the IRS has been exposed as being responsible for this leak of our confidential information to our political opponents, we believe the IRS may still be hiding information from the American people,” he added.

On June 23, a consent judgment issued by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia sided with the pro-marriage organization’s lawsuit that sought to uncover suspected wrongdoing at the IRS.

The lawsuit concerned the disclosure of confidential documents in early 2012.

Around that time, Matthew Meisel, a homosexual activist in Boston, received the National Organization for Marriage’s 2008 tax return and a list of its major donors from a “conduit,” his e-mails showed. Some of the documents were labeled for official government use only.

Meisel then gave these records to the Human Rights Campaign, a homosexual advocacy group at the time headed by Joe Solmonese, a co-chair of Barack Obama’s 2012 presidential re-election campaign. The advocacy group published some of the documents, as did the Huffington Post.

At a legal deposition, Meisel invoked Fifth Amendment protections against self-incrimination and refused to say how he obtained the documents.

The National Organization for Marriage is now calling on Attorney General Eric Holder to grant immunity to Meisel in order to “force him to disclose the identity of his conduit.” The organization has also urged Congress to examine the case.

Well, you can forget about Eric Holder doing anything to advance any kind of fact-finding the NOM case — and I’m not just “saying” that.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

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