Ed Driscoll

The Paranoid Center of Power

“House Oversight memo: Washington Post’s tea party coverage inspired IRS to target conservatives,” Patrick Howley writes at the Daily Caller:

The Washington Post’s anti-tea party coverage inspired IRS officials to improperly target conservative groups, according to a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee memo.

“The IRS first identified and elevated the Tea Party applications due to media attention surrounding the Tea Party…Media attention caused the IRS to treat conservative-oriented tax-exempt applications differently,” according to a September 17 House Oversight memo entitled “Interim update on the Committee’s investigation of the Internal Revenue Service’s inappropriate treatment of tax-exempt applications.”

While the memo acknowledged that President Obama’s and the White House’s anti-Citizens United, campaign finance reform-related rhetoric in early 2010 was not lost on IRS officials, the memo makes clear that the Washington Post’s heavy anti-tea party coverage directly inspired improper IRS targeting.

“When other Tea Party applications were discovered, the cases were classified as ‘sensitive’ due to media attention and two more were transferred to Washington to be processed,” according to the memo, which explains that in February 2010 a Cincinnati-based IRS screener alerted a tea party group’s tax-exempt application to his superior, who brought the concerns to the agency’s Washington office, because “Recent media attention to this type of organization indicates to me that this is a ‘high profile’ case.”

As I wrote the other day regarding the Matthew Shepard narrative the media apparently invented in the late 1990s to bash conservatives, one of Jesse Walker’s central observations in his recent book, The United States of Paranoia is that it isn’t just the disenfranchised who are terrified of  shadowy forces pulling society’s strings from just offstage; those at the center of power can be awfully paranoid themselves.

And as the Daily Caller story highlights, the paranoia that elites are more than willing to gin up in their imaginations can have serious repercussions for the rest of us.

And the left’s paranoia continues today of course:

It’s a bit of a murder-suicide. House Republicans’ willingness to lay waste to the country to satisfy their fringiest faction will ultimately guarantee the GOP irrelevancy as a national party, unless they change their ways. In the meantime, they seem determined to take us all down with them.

— Former Democrat consultant Kirsten Powers in the Daily Beast today, in a piece that bears the delicately nuanced title of “The GOP’s Murder-Suicide” on her bio page there.

“On the Judiciary Committee, which I sit on, that’s Murderers’ Row; that’s Foxx, Gehrig and Ruth. They all like their guns,” Rep. Cohen said of the Republicans of the Judiciary Committee.

Rep. Steve Cohen  (D-TN) appearing on MSNBC yesterday.

Funny, I can remember that it was not all that long ago, that MSNBC was declaring such eliminationist rhetoric as racism, straight up, to coin a phrase.

And Cohen is certainly no stranger to racialist eliminationist rhetoric, of course.

Update: More from Rep. Cohen on MSNBC, including his bitter clingers moment:

Tennessee Democrat Rep. Steve Cohen blamed opposition to gun control on voters’ affinities for “guns and the Bible” on Wednesday in an MSNBC appearance.

“I got the vitriol from on the Twitter from all these people who opposed that cartoon,” said Cohen, who tweeted a cartoon that appeared to blame the National Rifle Association for the Navy Yard shooting spree on Tuesday. ”They are hardcore Republicans. This I think means more to them than — I think their guns are right there next to their Bibles. I’m not sure which they find more important to them.”

Oikophobia? You’re soaking in it, Steve.