June 14, 2014

ROGER KIMBALL: 18 1/2 minutes vs. 2 years: which is worse?

This will amaze you, I know, but it is true: The New York Times today devotes zero words to the story. Take a look at the front page here: Nothing. Couple article about Iraq’s descent into chaos—Iraq, the country that Joe Biden, in 2010, called one of the “greatest achievements” of the Obama administration. “I’ve been there 17 times now,” the Vice President told Larry King. “I know every one of the major players in all of the segments of that society. It’s impressed me. I’ve been impressed how they have been deciding to use the political process rather than guns to settle their differences.” But I digress . . .

What else do we have on the front page? Warnings about a connection between obesity and liver disease. Something about the tea party in the aftermath of David Brat’s upset victory in Virginia and a story about restauranteurs upset by apps bypassing maitre d’s in securing good tables at posh eateries. The public has a right to know these things. There is also advance word about a coming article about the entertainer “Beyoncé the Boundless” (they teahc alliteration in J school), the soccer games in Brazil, and sundry other topics.

What about the missing emails? Nary a word on the front page. Or the next page. Or the next or the next. . . .

But here we have a former senior official from the IRS who deliberately harassed hundreds of conservatives groups. She has taken the 5th Amendment—why? What sort of self-incrimination is she worried about? A look through her emails would have the answer. But those emails are, according to the IRS, unavailable because of a hard disk failure. Do you believe that? Do you believe that that the agency charged with tax gathering for the United States does not have multiple back ups of its business correspondence? Do you? Imagine what the IRS would have to say to a (conservative) business it decided to audit if a response for electronic records was met with, “Gosh darn, we had a hard disk failure, and they’re just plum gone.” Imagine. And why have there not been instant calls for the data recovery folks to get involved? Why? The public, I’d wager, would find all this keenly interesting—if only the people charged with reporting the news would tell them about it.

They’re still covering for him. And they’ll still be covering for him on January 21, 2017.