A Thursday front page New York Times story reported that Friends of Abe, a group made up of Hollywood conservatives like actors Gary Sinise and Kelsey Grammer, became the latest right-leaning group to be targeted by the IRS. Total Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) network time spent on this story: zero seconds. However there was a celebrity news story the Big Three news networks did jump all over -- Justin Bieber getting arrested for drunk driving.
From Thursday morning through Friday morning the Big Three networks, on their evening and morning shows, devoted a total of 36 minutes and 10 seconds to the troubled pop star. Altogether NBC led all networks in Bieber coverage at 16 minutes, 13 seconds. ABC was close behind at 15 minutes, 1 second. CBS devoted the least amount of time to Bieber with 4 minutes, 56 seconds.
The following excerpt is from the January 23 New York Times story, headlined: “Leaning Right in Hollywood, Under a Lens”:
In a famously left-leaning Hollywood, where Democratic fund-raisers fill the social calendar, Friends of Abe stands out as a conservative group that bucks the prevailing political winds.
A collection of perhaps 1,500 right-leaning players in the entertainment industry, Friends of Abe keeps a low profile and fiercely protects its membership list, to avoid what it presumes would result in a sort of 21st-century blacklist, albeit on the other side of the partisan spectrum.
Now the Internal Revenue Service is reviewing the group’s activities in connection with its application for tax-exempt status. Last week, federal tax authorities presented the group with a 10-point request for detailed information about its meetings with politicians like Paul D. Ryan, Thaddeus McCotter and Herman Cain, among other matters, according to people briefed on the inquiry.
The people spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the organization’s confidentiality strictures, and to avoid complicating discussions with the I.R.S.
Those people said that the application had been under review for roughly two years, and had at one point included a demand — which was not met — for enhanced access to the group’s security-protected website, which would have revealed member names. Tax experts said that an organization’s membership list is information that would not typically be required. The I.R.S. already had access to the site’s basic levels, a request it considers routine for applications for 501(c)(3) nonprofit status.
Friends of Abe — the name refers to Abraham Lincoln — has strongly discouraged the naming of its members. That policy even prohibits the use of cameras at group events, to avoid the unwilling identification of all but a few associates — the actors Gary Sinise, Jon Voight and Kelsey Grammer, or the writer-producer Lionel Chetwynd, for instance — who have spoken openly about their conservative political views.
Friends of Abe is just the latest conservative group to be targeted by the IRS. To read more about how the Big Three networks have covered or failed to cover the IRS-Tea Party targeting scandal please visit this page.