Does anyone have the impression that the IRS singled out or “targeted” conservative groups seeking special tax status (501(c)4. If so, how did you get that impression. Did you read the New York Times or the Washington Post, watch ABC or the other networks. If you read this The Latest Lie: IRS Targeted Conservatives – it may change your mind. That article does have links to primary sources, including the report from the IG that everyone is using as absolute proof conservatives groups were targeted or denied the status they were seeking unfairly. Not one, not even one tea party group was denied the (501(c)4 status that deserved to have it. In fact some of the groups granted (501(c)4 status should have been denied because they were funneling more than 51% of their donations directly to advertising that advocated the election of certain candidates or the disposition of certain clearly partisan legislation. Why do we find ourselves in this bubble of misinformation. These major media outlets do not seem to have a liberal bias, according the well-known myth. On the contrary. The IG’s report (pdf), which many people have not bothered to read, trusting that the media would not get such a big story wrong. In the report it says that “For the 296 total political campaign intervention applications TIGTA reviewed as of
December 17, 2012, 108 had been approved, Final Report issued on May 14, 2013 28 were withdrawn by the applicant, none had been denied, and 160 were open from 206 to calendar days (some for more than to the Internal Revenue Service Acting three years and crossing two election cycles).” I’m not claiming the IRS is completely innocent ( the time delays seem unfair). Only that conservative groups were not signaled out. That perhaps some of the groups that gave up seeking 501 were conservative, but that is not that same as targeting. Some of them were liberal groups. Why are we not hearing from the media about liberal groups being subjected to the same basic litmus tests as conservative groups. Why are we not hearing that more liberal groups were denied 501 status than tea stain groups. This tsunami wave of sound bites has happened before. It is not a coincidence and no tin foil is required, it is not an especially secret conspiracy. Like the IG report on the IRS. People could read that. It does take some reading comprehension and analysis skills, but nothing a high school grad couldn’t handle. Yet we’re not reading the report, we’re hearing or participating in the echo of the media’s interpretation of the report, Background: Democrats & The Netroots
Looking at the political landscape, one proposition seems unambiguous: blog power on both the right and left is a function of the relationship of the netroots to the media and the political establishment. Forming a triangle of blogs, media, and the political establishment is an essential step in creating the kind of sea change we’ve seen in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
[ ]…With a well-developed echo chamber and superior top-down discipline, the right has a much easier time forming the triangle. Fox News, talk radio, Drudge, a well-trained and highly visible punditocracy, and a lily-livered press corps takes care of the media side of the triangle. Iron-clad party loyalty – with rare exceptions – and a willingness of Republican officials to jump on the Limbaugh-Hannity bandwagon du jour takes care of the party establishment side of the triangle. The rightwing netroots, therefore, is already working within the triangle on most issues. Their primary strategic aim is to prevent the left from forming its own triangle, as occurred with Katrina. It’s a defensive posture, with the goal being the preservation of the status quo. Which explains why the right is profoundly hostile to dissent and why the pretense to libertarianism is common: “independent thinkers” don’t like to be seen as defending the powers that be.
The triangle construct also explains rightwing bloggers’ relentless attacks on the “MSM” and on anyone who contends that the media is conservative. In a nation dominated by shrill rightwing voices, with all branches of government in the hands of Republicans, and an ineffectual press corps, the “liberal media” myth is so absurd that it requires no rebuttal. But the right desperately needs to keep the media from doing what they did in the aftermath of Katrina: tell the unvarnished truth. They need to block the left from building the kind of triangle that Katrina generated, where outspoken left-leaning bloggers are joined by leading Democrats and reporters who have no choice but to describe the catastrophic results of Bush’s dismal leadership. The result in Katrina’s case is a major political crisis and a dramatic shift in public perceptions, a body blow to the long-standing conventional wisdom of Bush as a “resolute leader” and a protector.
Whereas rightwing bloggers can rely on their leadership and the rightwing noise machine to build the triangle, left-leaning bloggers face the challenge of a mass media consumed by the shop-worn narrative of Bush the popular, plain-spoken leader, and a Democratic Party incapacitated (for the most part) by the focus-grouped fear of turning off “swing voters” by attacking Bush. For the progressive netroots, the past half-decade has been a Sisyphean loop of scandal after scandal melting away as the media and party establishment remain disengaged.
Some people will dismiss conservative bloggers because of how unhinged they sound. Not just on any particular day or topic, but everyday they post. With Drudge at the top of that pyramid. At the level of Drudge and the next level down, his echo, new realities are created. So it goes with the IRS controversy, where tea stain group were not targeted and were not asked questions anymore silly than they asked liberal groups. Besides the conservative love of victim-hood this controversy serves their agenda. They get to funnel more money from more anonymous donors to groups getting special tax treatment, and in return they get more control over elections.