Last Friday, I critiqued a piece by Dartmouth political scientist Brendan Nyhan for inaccurately summarizing the media coverage of the IRS scandal. I encourage you to read both pieces, but in a nutshell Nyhan was arguing that the media had failed to report on new developments since the scandal broke that would reshape our understanding of the scandal as being less driven by partisanship.
Over at the Columbia Journalism Review, political scientist Brendan Nyhan has a piece dismissing the IRS scandal out-of-hand and gently scolding the media for for acting irresponsibly in their coverage. You get the thrust in the first two paragraphs:
At this point, the evidence on the Internal Revenue Service scandal is clear. Contrary to the initial hype, there is no credible evidence of White House involvement in targeting conservative groups or even evidence that Tea Party or other conservative groups were targeted exclusively. It turns out that the keyword lists used by the IRS to target groups applying for tax-exempt status for additional scrutiny also included terms like “Occupy” and “Progressive” as well as “occupied territories” and “open source software.”
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew refused to say on national TV this morning whether the politically appointed counsel of the IRS, William Wilkins, has been asked about his participation in the federal agency's scandal:
"Chris, I am leaving the investigation to the proper people who do investigations," said Lew. "I don't think it's appropriate for me to do the investigation."
It’s going to be a long summer in Washington. With so many scandals, news organizations that have spent years sweeping startling allegations about the Obama administration under the rug now find themselves overwhelmed. Woe betide the average citizen who just wants to know what the heck his government is up to.
Valerie Jarrett, a top adviser to President Barack Obama, says she and the rest of the White House remain "very upbeat" despite the series of scandals that have engulfed the Obama administration in recent weeks.
A Washington Free Beacon investigation has identified at least five pro-Israel organizations that have been audited by the IRS in the wake of a coordinated campaign by White House-allied activist groups in 2009 and 2010.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said today that the White House is satisfied with the responsiveness of the IRS in face of the growing scandal:
Referring to IRS officials testifying in front of Congress, a reporter asked, "Are you satisfied, is this White House satisfied, with the responsiveness of people it sends up to testify about matters of congressional interest?"
"Well, that's a broad question," said Carney, "but the answer is yes."