Remember the IRS scandal? It's gone. Poof. So flaccid has press interest in the story become that President Barack Obama made bold in an interview with Fox News to say there was not a "smidgen of corruption" in the IRS's conduct.
It requires terrific confidence in the passivity of the press to float the discredited "Cincinnati did it all" dodge since we know that IRS employees in that office were taking direction from Washington. We further know that IRS offices in California, Oklahoma, Washington, D.C. and other places have been identified as singling out groups with "Tea Party" or "Patriot" in their names.
Obama's confidence in the press is not misplaced. Despite juicy opportunities to delve into the story of government abusing its power, reporters have let the matter drop.
There was no smoking gun showing that Obama personally ordered the harassment of conservatives, some explain. Is that the standard? Because it seems the press applied a different yardstick to Chris Christie. Well, there's a "scandal attention cycle," says the Columbia Journalism Review. To some extent, this is true. But there are different rules for Democrats, and particularly for Obama.
To review: When the behavior of the IRS was first revealed in May of 2013, the press furor was considerable. The president was alarmed enough about the damaging story to hold a press conference. "If ... IRS personnel engaged in the kind of practices that have been reported on," he said, " ... then that is outrageous, and there is no place for it." He continued, "I will not tolerate it, and we will make sure that we find out exactly what happened on this."
Or not. Now it's just "bone-headed decisions out of a local office." This is tamely accepted. If it concerned just a local office, why did Obama fire the director of the IRS? Why did Lois Lerner plead the Fifth and resign? (Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee erred by not granting her use immunity and intensely questioning her about what really happened. They could still do it.)
It was also a non-scandal when the Justice Department appointed an Obama donor to investigate the IRS. Nor did the press follow up on uncontested accounts of IRS employees leaking confidential taxpayer information -- which is a felony.
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