Censored: After Skipping the IRS Scandal for Five Months, ABC Allows a Scant 22 Seconds
Five months after dropping coverage of the Internal Revenue Service scandal, ABC's Good Morning America on Wednesday finally found time to allow a few seconds to mention the targeting of conservatives. CBS and NBC on Tuesday and Wednesday both ignored the fact that the Obama administration is doubling down and now attempting to rein in non-profit groups.
GMA's Josh Elliott blandly noted, "In the wake of the IRS targeting scandal, the Obama administration wants to limit the political influence of tax-exempt groups." He added that the White House is seeking to create new "donation standards to curb the explosive growth in political spending." Elliott added, "The IRS has been accused of unfairly scrutinizing groups affiliated with the Tea Party." [MP3 audio here.]
Instead of covering this development, CBS This Morning donated five minutes and 27 seconds to the latest episode of Person of Interest (which airs on the same network).
NBC's Today spent four minutes informing viewers how to deal with being a perfectionist.
Although ABC's GMA covered the move by the Obama administration, it was only for 22 seconds. In comparison, the morning show obsessed over the season finale of Dancing With the Stars for 12 and half minutes. (Naturally, Dancing With the Stars is on ABC.)
Before Wednesday, it was way back on June 26, 2013 that ABC explained any of the scandals swirling around the IRS and its targeting of the Tea Party. It's not as though there haven't been new developments. The MRC's Geoff Dickens in September highlighted the latest, such as this report from the Washington Times:
IRS employees were ‘acutely’ aware in 2010 that President Obama wanted to crack down on conservative organizations and were egged into targeting tea party groups by press reports mocking the emerging movement, according to an interim report being circulated Tuesday by House investigators.
On Wednesday, Washington Post writers Matea Gold and Tom Hamburger explained, "The Obama administration moved Tuesday to limit the expansive role that nonprofit groups play in politics, proposing a regulation that would rein in certain tax-exempt organizations that have been able to spend hundreds of millions of dollars in recent elections without revealing their donors."
The Post journalists recounted:
This comes in the wake of the revelations earlier this year that IRS employees were using political terms such as "tea party" and "patriot" to screen for 501(c)(4) groups that were potentially engaging in excessive election-related activity.
The scandal led to congressional hearings and the departure of senior IRS officials, as well as charges by Republicans that the Obama administration was targeting groups based on their political leanings. In the aftermath, Treasury and IRS officials pledged to review the current "facts and circumstances" test used to ensure that 501(c)(4) groups are staying within the bounds of their "social welfare" mandate, saying there was a need for clearer guidance.
In July, over a mere three days, the network morning shows hyped the birth of the royal baby, offering more coverage in 72 hours than to all of the IRS scandal, up until that point.
A transcript of the November 27 GMA news brief is below:
JOSH ELLIOTT: In the wake of the IRS targeting scandal, the Obama administration wants to limit the political influence of tax-exempt groups. And thus, it is proposing new rules and donation standards to curb the explosive growth in political spending by non-profits. The IRS has been accused of unfairly scrutinizing groups affiliated with the Tea Party.
— Scott Whitlock is Senior News Analyst at the Media Research Center. Follow Scott Whitlock on Twitter.