New York Times: IRS Scandal Ignored Because of Rush Limbaugh

There has been much speculation in the media on why Obama’s current scandal of the IRS targeting conservative groups for attack didn’t come out last year when the initial flurry of reportage on the incident was seen. Well, The New York Times thinks it has the answer: it was Rush Limbaugh’s fault.

When the IRS finally admitted these last few weeks that it had, indeed, unfairly targeted conservative groups–most especially during the 2012 election cycle–many pointed out that this targeting was being complained about for some time. But why did the scandal just break big now, in May of 2013, when stories about it go back several years?

The paper of record pondered this very question in a May 21 piece by Michael D. Shear that places the blame on Limbaugh. It’s all because of “slutgate,” Shear claims.

The Times points out that in March of 2012, Representative Charles Boustany, Jr. (R, LA) held a hearing on the IRS targeting but the story got little traction. Shear quotes several parties to the effect that it was a “dog-bites-man story” in that the media wasn’t interested in talking about Tea Party groups complaining about the IRS.

So, what stories did hold the media’s attention during Boustany’s 2012 hearing? Rush Limbaugh’s media manufactured “slutgate.”

It was during the first week of March that Rush Limbaugh ridiculed abortion mill supporter Sandra Fluke for being a “slut” because she wanted the U.S. government to pay for her contraception.

The media, of course, went into a feeding frenzy on “slutgate” to the point that Rush eventually apologized for his over-the-top characterization of the abortionist. It was all the media could talk about at the time.

This and a few other issues, the Times said, overshadowed Boustany’s investigation into the IRS. The paper also notes that most news outlets just didn’t care about the story preferring to tell other tales and blowing off Tea Party complaints against the IRS as mere election year posturing. Not to mention that it was a yawn-worthy tale being all too common anti-IRS carping from the right.

Of course, a closer read of the Times’ piece reveals the real reason the IRS story was ignored. The media didn’t care about the IRS attacking conservatives. It really had little to do with Rush Limbaugh.

It took the IRS actually admitting its guilt before the media deigned to pay attention to this story. And so conveniently that they did so after the election was over.

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  • Paul Hooson

    I continue to question calling this a scandal by the news media or by anyone else. Some organizations which were seeking tax exempt status had a history of political activity that might be construed by some IRS agents as being highly characteristic of some tax protesters. Further, some organizations were seeking a tax exempt status that was supposed to be for “social service” organizations such as groups like the Salvation Army use who run actual services for the poor or those with chemical addictions, and operate organizations like thrift shops. Where are any thrift shops or other social services provided by these Tea Party organizations that were put under scrutiny by maybe one or two IRS agents out of an agency that employs more than 106,000 persons. And because some Tea Party types are such paranoid types, believing so much in government conspiracies and other border line mental illness issues, it was right down their alley to believe themselves to be persecuted because of their political views, and not because they were seeking questionable of use of tax exempt status rules or their possible tax protester views sending up red flags.

    I just don’t have a lot of sympathy here, and I don’t get this story. Some groups sent up too many red flags for maybe two IRS agents and were asked to provide a little extra information to the IRS, and then they scream discrimination , unlike some many other conservative organizations who are not put under the same scrutiny because they send up a lot of red flags like these few groups did.

    Probably my reasonable view won’t be popular here. But, i just don’t see this one. This one isn’t logical for me. It makes no sense to me on so many levels.

    • Gee, the IRS already admitted to inappropriate screening … moron …

      • Paul Hooson

        I don;t agree with a lot of things that the IRS does. One year they asked me to send them 75% of business income, which I knew was wrong and a mistake. But rather than continue to fight to issue, it was easier just to pay it and to be more careful next year not to fall into the same trap. I can’t justify what the IRS did to these particular groups. It wasn’t right. But, looking at the facts here, these groups sent up enough red flags that they earned themselves extra scrutiny compared to other conservative, liberal, environmentalist, special interest, or other groups who didn’t send up so many red flags.

        The reality is that these few groups that were put under IRS scrutiny are bring their case to the court of public opinion, where the IRS isn’t popular, but if the same case was actually tried in a court of law, these groups would have no legal case. They sent reg flags of being possible tax protesters and were asking for a questionable tax exempt status meant for social service or social welfare organizations. All this earned them was a little extra scrutiny, forced them to do a little extra paperwork, and none were actually denied tax emempt status in the end. So their prospects of seeking any damages here are probably nill to none. You have to actually prove injury in a court case to collect damages. These groups cannot prove that standard, even in a civil court with far lower standards than a criminal court.

        Further, out of the 106,000 people who work for the IRS, maybe two people were involved, in what some Tea Party types believe might have been some scandal originating from the White House. That’s a far fetched scandal conspiracy belief as well. The White House, no matter who is president hardly has control over what each individual who works for a government agency does. If some Tea Party type has problems at their DMV getting their driver’s license renewed, that’s hardly a sign of a White House scandal, and just an issue with an individual working for that agency.

        • jim_m

          The admin’s claim that this was only 2 low level workers has already been debunked and abandoned. Only the truly gullible ever bought such lies and only the ignorant or deceptive continue to peddle them.

    • LiberalNightmare

      Its difficult for me to understand how you can work for this blog and be so woefully uninformed on this subject.

      • Uh, who “works for” this blog?
        The last time that I checked, Paul Hooson isn’t a writer for this blog, and the people who are aren’t paid to write for it.

        • LiberalNightmare

          Its interesting that you’d rather argue about Pauls employment status, then argue about whether or not he knows what hes talking about.

          Wizbang Pop! Editorial Staff

          Section Editor: Liz Starr

          Editors: Paul Hooson, Adam Stone

    • Par4Course

      No one criticizes the IRS for investigating 503(c) applications. But liberal groups got prompt IRS approval in weeks while many conservative groups waited months or years before they got a response – many are still waiting. The IRS gave them ideological colonoscopies: Do you ever plan to run for office? What do you pray about? Obama may verbally condemn this but his administration has taken no action to find and put the people responsible behind bars. [They fear, in the words of Greg Gutfeld, that this scandal will lead directly to the Leader of the Free World: Valerie Jarrett.] The Obama administration should be branded with the words of Leonardo da Vinci, “He who does not punish evil commands it to be done.”

    • jwbi1001

      You know Paul there are liberal groups that fit your political activity description too, wonder why they didn’t get the same treatment as conservative groups did?

  • It was during the first week of March that Rush Limbaugh ridiculed abortion mill supporter Sandra Fluke for being a “slut” because she wanted the U.S. government to pay for her contraception.

    Uh, that is a mischaracterization of the Sandra Fluke issue, which had nothing to do with abortion and had nothing to do with the government paying for anything.
    Other than that, I agree that the “Rush Limbaugh” excuse is no excuse at all.

    • Brucehenry

      The sentence you quoted is of the “Zombie Lie” variety, a tactic conservatives love. It happens often — no matter how many times a given factoid of theirs is debunked, they continue to push it as if it were Gospel until their sycophantic rubes internalize it and believe it as if it WERE Gospel.

      Limbaugh is a master of it, as are Hannity and Beck and yada yada yada. Warner tried it for a while with his “liberals are SWATting errbody!!!” trope. Other than that he just repeats Zombie Lies told by others.

      • jim_m

        A tactic we learned from the left. A tactic the left uses daily. A tactic the left think is entirely legitimate. A tactic the left thinks renders their lies the new truth.

        As for SWATing, that happens to be a leftist tactic. You cannot find a legitimate example of anyone on the right doing it. It is the left that wants to murder their ideological opponents.

      • Bruce, not all conservatives accept or promote what you call a “Zombie Lie”.

        • Brucehenry

          Who said “all” conservatives? Not me.

  • Alicante56

    Another trumped up conspiracy theory from the people who brought you Donald Trump as a GOP contender for President. lol…

    btw – When is The Donald going to reveal the deep dark secrets that his investigators discovered in their weeks of research in Hawaii leading up to last year’s election?

    Hint: It’s all just bullshit made up by haters.

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  • herddog505

    Sounds like the excuse a small child would make.

    But credit where credit is due: at least NYT is (grudgingly) admitting that wrong was done, unlike some lefties including a couple of commenters here.

  • jim_m

    The IRS scandal is not ignored because of Rush. The left just uses Rush as a convenient excuse.

    The reason the left and the media (but I repeat myself) have ignored the IRS scandal is because they really want the suppression of speech and ideas other than their own. They really want to make illegal ideas that oppose their own.

    The primary excuse given by nearly every leftist thug is that we should not be giving tax exempt status to organizations that promote political ideas.This alone should tell you that they have no understanding of the 1 amendment, no interest in protecting constitutional rights and are primarily focused on creating a left wing dictatorship that prohibits dissent.

    Anyone saying that this is a non-scandal is in favor of such a dictatorship. (and the dems and the media have known about this scandal and ignored it for a very long time)

  • Whatever: We The People are ‘in the know’ with the facts even though Hitlery says what difference does it make: It’s going to make a BIG difference busters and ALL U WH Commies know it. Good enough! BTW Fluke is a slut, among other things.
    These whores for Hussein Obummer are all alike, witches of the first order.

  • Phil Snyder

    Let me see if I understand. The NYT is blaming journalists (sic) for paying too much attention to a man who craves media attention to cover a scandal where the most feared agency in the federal gov’t is making decisions based on partisan ideology and it is somehow the Rush Limbaugh’s fault?

    ISTM that the NYT needs some real journalists rather than people who simply pay attention (for good or ill) to Rush Limbaugh. How about, I don’t know, doing some actual investigation? How about doing some [email protected]#$% reporting rather than getting all upset at what one man with a radio show says.

    Yes, it is Rush’s fault that today’s media is filled with sycophantic, supercilious, SOBs.

  • Sandra Fluke did NOT ask the government to pay for her contraception. As Brucehenry points out, that is a “Zombie Lie,” a bit of propaganda that has been repeated so often, conservatives have come to accept it as Gospel Truth. The fact is, Sandra Fluke had the reasonable expectation that the prescriptions she gets from her doctor should be covered by the Private Health Insurance that SHE PAYS FOR! That’s not asking for a handout. That’s just asking for a little fairness. That’s just common sense.

    • jwbi1001

      Then what was it that she wanted? Why on earth was she in front of all those cameras? It wasn’t because she was willing to pay for her own birth control pills.

      • robcrawford2

        She demanded the government make the Catholic church pay for her sex.

        • jwbi1001

          Yes I know it’s a difference without a distinction.

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