Imagine Watergate. America’s greatest political scandal took down a president. Only picture The Washington Post barely covering it. The story would have died on the vine. Richard Nixon would have completed his term in office without scandal. He would have been the president who got us out of Vietnam. Liberals might even recall him fondly.
Modern American history would have been totally changed. The signature event that redefined journalism as a perpetual quest to embarrass the right would never have occurred.
Fast forward to an administration beset by far-worse scandals – Benghazi, Fast and Furious, NSA spying, the VA and the IRS. Two of those weren’t just horrendous, they were deadly. But the situation at VA hospitals and the IRS scandal are surely two of the worst in the scandal-ridden Obama White House. In both cases, government bureaucrats took deliberate actions against American citizens.
When our veterans were pushed aside and their medical problems hidden from Congress, journalists at the three major broadcast networks took their time reporting it. It was almost two weeks before the networks’ news divisions noticed that as many as 40 veterans died while on secret waiting lists.
Yes, the networks finally did their jobs. But look at their priorities. ABC, CBS and NBC news shows devoted just 110 minutes in an entire month about the VA scandal. It took those same shows just four and a half days to dig up that much reporting on Chris Christie's staff and the bogus scandal surrounding the closure of the George Washington Bridge.
Of course, many network journalists are based in the New York/New Jersey area. So their potential traffic problems must deserve more coverage than the lives of our veterans.
Then there’s the IRS scandal. While it didn’t cost lives, it did undermine the very foundation of our government. The IRS made of point of investigating conservative and Tea Party groups, something strictly forbidden, and then destroyed the evidence. Conservative nonprofits were bullied, harassed, asked for ridiculous amounts of information and put through the ringer all because they wanted to participate in the electoral process. When Congress dug into the targeting of conservative groups, and wanted to see the evidence, the emails magically disappeared.
The IRS even paid $50,000 to the National Organization for Marriage because some IRS employee leaked the organization’s tax return and list of donors to its enemies on the left.
If Republicans had been involved in something so awful, the major media would run Capitol Hill hearings on live television, as they did with Watergate. Now, we’re lucky if they mention the story at all.
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held hearings on June 23 and 24 about the news that the hard drive of former IRS executive Lois Lerner had been destroyed. The “CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley” was the only broadcast evening news show to cover them.
That’s a trend. CBS is the only one of the Big Three to even attempt honesty in its IRS coverage. CBS’ Nancy Cordes also explained that the “head of the federal archives testified that the IRS was supposed to notify his office three years ago when Lois Lerner's hard drive crashed.” That’s pretty big news. But ABC and NBC didn’t mention it.
NBC’s Political Director and Chief White House Correspondent Chuck Todd actually criticized the conservative groups involved in the IRS scandal. He asked “are any actual real victims?” Of course, he also hosts the MSNBC show “The Daily Rundown.” The only folks who get “run down” on MSNBC are conservatives.
A new Fox News poll finds that a full 76 percent of Americans don’t believe the IRS accidentally destroyed the missing emails. That means three out of four Americans think the IRS did something criminal.
Most journalists appear to land in the 12 percent who don’t believe the IRS did anything wrong. They think a story about traffic tie-ups is worse than parts of our government being used against the very people it is meant to serve.
To be fair, a small part of the team at MSNBC was getting the IRS story right. Host and sometime conservative Joe Scarborough was flabbergasted by the lack of coverage. On June 24, he held up a New York Times’ front page, wondering where the IRS story was, calling the stories featured on the front page “a scam.” “This is why conservatives don’t trust the national newspapers,” he exclaimed. “It’s not the news that they run,” he added. “It’s the stories they don’t run.”
Time magazine senior political analyst Mark Halperin had made similar comments the day before on “Morning Joe.” “I think with a different administration, one that was a Republican administration, this story would be a national obsession,” he predicted.
He’s right but the liberal media won’t allow that. American government was designed with three branches to check and balance one another. The media were protected by the First Amendment to be a check all three. That’s not the nation we have now.
We now have a fourth branch, of government. It’s “an administrative state of sprawling departments and agencies that govern with increasing autonomy and decreasing transparency,” explained law professor and legal analyst Jonathan Turley.
In today’s upside down world, the media don’t keep tabs on the operations of government. Instead, most members of the media have all but openly declared for one political party.
Journalists now use their massive power and influence to ensure that the Democratic party and its president get largely favorable coverage.
When asked what type of government our new nation had, Ben Franklin famously responded, “A republic, if you can keep it.” The Founders would be appalled at how much we have failed.
Dan Gainor is the Media Research Center's Vice President for Business and Culture. He writes frequently about media for Fox News Opinion. He can also be contacted on Facebook and Twitter as dangainor.