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September 23, 2014

Politico Needs You To Know That Lois Lerner Has Suffered Enough Already

Larry O'Connor:

Probably the most glaring example of Politico letting Lerner lie about her involvement in the IRS scandal and the subsequent cover-up comes in one of Lerner’s rhetorical tricks involving the mysteriously crashed hard-drives that contained emails related to the scandal.

Lerner is allowed to pose a rhetorical question that Ms. Bade (and apparently her editors at Politico) cannot or refuse to answer for their readers:

"How would I know two years ahead of time that it would be important for me to destroy emails, and if I did know that, why wouldn’t I have destroyed the other ones they keep releasing?"

We, the reader, never hear Ms. Bade’s answer and her editors never research the issue in any real way to inform us of the facts behind Lerner’s supposed "gotcha" moment...

The answer to Lerner’s suggestion is pretty simple. "Ms. Lerner, there is a letter from Chairman Camp asking you about the tea party group targeting in June of 2011. Your hard drives ‘crashed’ ten days after you received that letter. Why are you pretending you didn’t learn about the targeting until 2013?"

David Harsyani:

Lois Lerner. Hero. Servant. Brownie-baking puppy lover. Sister of the Blessed State.

This is about all a person reading Politico’s new exclusive "interview" with the former head of the I.R.S. division that oversees tax-exempt groups, might take away. "I didn’t do anything wrong" claims Lerner, who, like any innocent person, is flanked by a major law firm's partner, two personal attorneys and her husband -- a lawyer. "I'm proud of my career and the job I did for this country." And in around 3,700 obsequious words, Politico seems to agree.

What exactly did she do for her country, you ask? Well, sitting in her $2.5 million house in Bethesda, Maryland, this question, like most others, goes unanswered.


Remember: A U.S. District Court judge had to force the IRS to tell the court what happened to Lerner's hard drive. It was only then that the IRS told investigators that Lerner's hard drive -- with most of her emails -- had crashed in 2011. With no way to retrieve them. Then, only after the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and groups like Judicial Watch used FIOA were pushing to find Lerner’s emails -- which we’re to believe are completely innocuous – a deputy associate chief counsel of the IRS, said (in an affidavit) that Lerner’s Blackberry had been "wiped clean" and thrown our as "scrap for disposal in June 2012." This, after everyone knew what had happened.

Here's a specific criticism I have in the Politico piece: It reports, almost immediately, that Lerner has received derogatory emails, including one quoted by Politico calling her a "dirty Jew."

Now, this kind of journalism -- the parade of horribles from Internet Nasties -- has the inevitable effect of creating sympathy for the person receiving the email, and, more importantly, discrediting all critics opposed to the recipient, even though very few people critical of Lerner (apparently just the one guy) was so filled with rage and so lacking in self-control or discretion that he wrote an anti-semitic Email Nasty to her.

In a court of law this would not be permitted, as it is irrelevant to the main story (Lerner's actual guilt or innocence) and is also unduly prejudicial.

Now, reporters are not lawyers in court, of course. But the fundamental emotional bias of such a mention should give them pause.

They could respond and say, "What does it matter if such a statement prejudices people against Lerner's critics, or biases them in Lerner's favor? We are not concerned with guessing how The Facts may impact a reader's mind."

Well, I would respond to that -- after I'd stopped laughing at how ridiculously dishonest that claim was -- by noting that many people, many many people on the Right, are frequently the recipients of death threats and Internet Nasties from the Left, but the media never seems to get around to reporting such things.

Seems to me they are aware of the prejudicial emotional impact of such things, and do in fact take the prejudicial impact into account when writing a story. But they only screen such things out of stories about people on the right.

Scott Walker and every public figure in Wisconsin have received death threats and all sorts of uncivil insults since the beginning of the union controversy there.

But I don't see the media reporting this. This would tend to increase sympathy for Walker and like-minded partisans, and decrease it for the forces opposed to them.

They know that -- and so they keep that under wraps.

But when a figure favored by the media receives an Internet Nasty, that gets published in the first paragraph.

This is bias.

I certainly do not support anti-semitic comments directed towards Lerner or anyone else.

But I also don't support death threats directed towards Republicans.

The media seems to only deem one of these trespasses worthy of reportage.

There is a simple method to reduce media bias which the media could employ, if it were interested in doing so. That method is to introduce stylebook rules on such things.

Things like when you report the partisan affiliation of a lawbreaking politician. The media likes telling you that a lawbreaker is a Republican right in the headline. They don't like mentioning a Democratic affiliation at all, though they will occasionally deign to mention it in paragraph 17.

A stylebook rule on this -- always report the partisan affiliation of a politician accused of lawbreaking or ethical lapse, right in the headline -- would end all bias on this score.

But they don't want to end the bias. They want to continue it.

Thus, the simple, cheap, and effective method of stopping these various forms of flagrant bias are simply dismissed.

They want to report similar stories differently according to partisan affiliation. They want to tell you that Lerner has been the victim of nasty emails and threats; but they don't want to tell you that figures on the right, such as Michelle Malkin, get racist and sexist abuse every single day.

Andrew Breitbart was called a homosexual every single day. And they didn't say "homosexual," either. He retweeted most of these taunts.

I was personally right next to him at a rally when leftist protesters shouted to him, "Why are you a faggot?" or words to that effect. Breitbart smiled and responded, "Why do you have a prejudice against homosexuals?"

I have never seen any of that reported by the media in its many stories about this brash upstart Andrew Breitbart.

But the moment that Lois Lerner receives an ugly email, the media decides The World Must Know. *

Thus, no stylebook rule. They don't want to be bound by a rule that covers all cases; they want the freedom to pick and choose their rules according to the political affiliation of the subject in question, and whether or not that person agrees with their worldview.

* This is a major source of frustration in #GamerGate. Those on the #GamerGate side include both fairly thoughtful people and those whose idea of social intercourse is to toss out a sexual slur.

Guess which of those groups the media (including the gaming media, but also the straight media) are primarily interested in quoting?

This is a cheap, dishonest tactic and they should be ashamed of themselves.

But they're quite beneath shame. Beyond it. They have transcended shame.

They're All In, baby.

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posted by Ace at 08:21 PM

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