Bridging the Obamacare, IRS, and Benghazi Scandal Gap
My neighbor Professor Zigmund Bensky, stopped in to thaw out. It seems that with all the stuff occupying his big brain -- like "why is 'settled science' like 'established law'?" he'd forgotten to pay his gas bill. While he was waiting for the gas company to turn his heat back on, I offered him a spot near the fireplace and some libations to warm him up.
He's a professor of journalism at Whackadoodle School here in the District of Columbia, a place that attracts ambitious, earnest young people who "want to make a difference" without working too hard at it. He's a nice enough fellow and a decent neighbor but we rarely see eye to eye. I generally try to stick to nonpolitical things with him, but he was not to be muzzled this day, brimming as he was with outrage at reports that Chris Christie's aides manipulated bridge traffic to punish the governor's political opponent.
"Terrible stuff," he humphed, downing a huge gulp of my best scotch. "How can he claim he didn't know?"
"My own view is that most politicians pose as know-everythings when they run for office and know-nothings after they are elected," I replied, hoping that such a general observation would end this discussion before we started tossing things at one another.
"What do you mean?" he asked looking genuinely surprised.
"Well, Obama claims not to have known about almost anything his administration has done until he's read it in the newspaper. And once he does know, no one seems to get punished for his or her misdeeds. He lied repeatedly about ObamaCare and Benghazi which affects many more people more substantially than a traffic jam -- and yet, no one has been fired and the press has not spent a lot of time covering the bad deeds or the lies about them."
After reaching for the cheese and gobbling some on a cracker, Professor Bensky took a crumpled copy of the NYT out of his pocket and started reading aloud the reporters' accounts of the emails of the NJ incident that so incensed him.
"Isn't that the article where the fact checkers misstated the name of the reporter and misidentified the governor of New York (the state where the paper is headquartered), Andrew Cuomo, as the governor of New Jersey?" I asked. He reluctantly admitted that was the case.
"And didn't that paper just this week print a map of the U.S. in which unbelievably they reversed North and South Dakota?" I continued. "These might seem like small potatoes to you, Zigmund, but to me they bespeak an unbelievable degree of carelessness which casts doubt on everything they publish. It's not as if they were self-publishing online on a shoestring budget. This is a large, well-funded operation. This is the paper people like you think of as 'the newspaper of record', but its record is not great in my eyes. And the rest of the mainstream media is usually worse."
I know Professor Bensky's disdain for bloggers, but as he accidentally knocked over the ice bucket, I pointed out some contrasting material from online sources. It seems to me using the IRS to squelch your political opposition while helping your allies is a bigger offense than that which Christie is being charged with, an incident creating hardly more inconvenience to travelers than Obama's many rush-hour convoys in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco -- and yet it doesn't appear that IRS has made any changes or that the officials who carried out this clearly illegal conduct were punished. I showed him the Tax Pro site's coverage of this scandal. "You don't see much coverage from what one would call the mainstream media, do you?"
"No," he conceded, "but surely the media provided more coverage of the IRS meddling than they did of this bridge congestion story."
"Not so, " I countered, showing him Newsbusters count.
In less than 24 hours, the big three networks have devoted 17 times more coverage to a traffic scandal involving Chris Christie than they've allowed in the last six months to Barack Obama's Internal Revenue Service controversy. Since the story broke on Wednesday that aides to the New Jersey governor punished a local mayor's lack of endorsement with a massive traffic jam, ABC, CBS and NBC have responded with 34 minutes and 28 seconds of coverage. Since July 1, these same networks managed a scant two minutes and eight seconds for the IRS targeting of Tea Party groups.
You'd have to read the Washington Times to learn that the Department of Justice lawyer heading the investigation in the lawless behavior of IRS officials to aid Obama was herself a big contributor to Obama and that now, seven months after the conduct was made public, the FBI is just starting to question some of the affected tea party members.
"After seven months of no contact from federal investigators, a small number of our clients recently received a request for an interview from the FBI," said Jay Sekulow, chief counsel for the American Center for Law & Justice, which represents more than three dozen groups.
He said the clients were evaluating FBI's request but were troubled by the revelation of Ms. Bosserman's political leanings.
"This development creates a serious conflict of interest and raises more questions and doubts about the Obama administration's promise to get to the bottom of what happened," he said.
The IRS internal auditor found that the agency singled out tea party groups for intrusive scrutiny, with agency investigators asking questions about groups' reading lists, members' political affiliations and volunteer histories, and work with other tea party groups.
"They did better on international stuff, though, didn't they? Large staff -- lots of my students work there." the professor responded with apparent pride, as he poured himself another stiff drink. If he was hoping to best me on that, I think he failed.
In an 8,000-word article billed as the result of a lengthy New York Times investigation, Kirkpatrick claims the Times could find "no evidence that Al Qaeda or other international terrorist groups had any role in the assault" on the Benghazi consulate and that the attack "was fueled in large part by anger at an American-made video denigrating Islam."
These claims are astonishing since the Obama administration long ago backed away from its insistence that the attack on the consulate was not a terrorist attack but a spontaneous demonstration in response to an anti-Muslim video that spun out of control. (In fairness, I must note that Kirkpatrick admits the attack was not spontaneous although he says it was not "meticulously planned.")
"The State Department on Friday for the first time blamed specific groups and militants for the 2012 Benghazi attack, designating them as terrorists -- a move that further undermines initial claims the attack was spontaneous."
Hillary's assertion, '"With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night decided to go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make?'" simply can't be sufficiently whitewashed by the Times to make it go away. This attempt to distort facts to smooth Hillary's path to the White House should further undermine the paper's already rapidly diminished standing and reputation among those who read for meaning rather than in support of their biases.
I realized by this time that my neighbor had pretty much drained the bottle and his eyes had closed. Further conversation was kind of pointless. So I removed the serving tray, turned out the lights and determined to let him sleep it off. On the way to the kitchen I almost tripped on a slip of paper he'd dropped. It was a letter from the Dean of Whackadoodle warning that the inability of the journalism school's grads to find jobs was well known and enrollment was down so considerably that layoffs of staff were inevitable.