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The Palace Guard MSM Drops the Mask

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Since its birth in the 1920s with the first national radio networks, the modern MSM has always had a cozy relationship with power, and until the creation of Fox News, one channel on your TV dial or satellite guide, that power has almost exclusively meant their fellow Democrats. The media have long voted overwhelmingly Democrat in presidential elections; as Walter Cronkite once said at a Radio & TV Correspondents Dinner in the mid-1990s, in-between feting the Clintons on his yacht in Martha’s Vineyard,  “Everybody knows that there's a liberal, that there's a heavy liberal persuasion among correspondents.” But in the past, those correspondents at least paid lip service to being out for the little guy, and holding politicians’ feet to the fire. Al Roker of NBC has had enough of that pretention – and as we’ll see, he’s far from the only one. But first up, here’s Roker this morning, trashing a fellow NBC “journalist":

At the top of the 9 a.m. ET hour on Wednesday's NBC Today, weatherman Al Roker suggested in jest that his colleague David Gregory deserved to be punched in the face by former President Bill Clinton after the Meet the Press moderator asked Clinton in a recent interview about wife Hillary being "out of touch." Roker joked: "You know, I'd give anything if after David finished the question, Bill just kind of hauled off and popped him. Just see what happens." [Audio and video at NewsBusters – Ed]

What a fascinating development – of course, the fact that millions of potential viewers would also like to (hopefully only in the metaphoric sense) “haul off and pop” David Gregory helps to explain why Gregory’s ratings at Meet the Press are much more anemic compared to Tim Russert, his late predecessor, to the point where NBC has tried to stage an intervention to save Gregory from himself. But remember when journalists at least posed at asking tough questions to politicians? Here’s an NBC newsreader insulting another NBC newsreader for one of his very few questions asked to a fellow Democrat that caused him just a jot of discomfort, and yet Roker is mad at the interviewer for asking it.

And then there’s the IRS scandal.

“The IRS tea-party audit story isn't Watergate; it's worse than Watergate,” Daniel Henninger of the Wall Street Journal perceptively noted earlier this month. “The Watergate break-in was the professionals of the party in power going after the party professionals of the party out of power. The IRS scandal is the party in power going after the most average Americans imaginable":

Here's a partial list of the American place names where the "tea party" groups audited by the IRS were organized: Franklin, Tenn.; Livonia, Mich.; Lucas, Texas; Middletown, Del.; Fishersville, Va.; Jackson, N.J.; Redding, Calif.; Chandler, Ariz.; Laurens, S.C.; Woodstown, N.J.; Wetumpka, Ala.; Kahului, Hawaii; Sidney, Ohio; Newalla, Okla.

He's right, these people do live most of their lives in the shadow of daily American life, out of the public eye. Still, they considered themselves to be very much inside "our democracy." Then the IRS asked them for the names of their donors, what they talked about, political affiliations.

The IRS tea-party audit story isn't Watergate; it's worse than Watergate.

The Watergate break-in was the professionals of the party in power going after the party professionals of the party out of power. The IRS scandal is the party in power going after the most average Americans imaginable.

They didn't need to do this. The Obama campaign machine was a wonder, perfecting the uses of social media in 2008 and 2012. But the Democrats were so crazed in 2010 by Citizens United, so convinced that anyone's new political money might bust their hold on power, that they sicced the most feared agency in government on people who disagreed with them.

It’s so crazed that Chuck Todd, former political operative to fellow Democrat Tom Harkin turned “NBC political director,” today lived up to both current and former titles when he asked regarding the IRS scandal, “Are there any actual real victims?”

So while the IRS is certainly not a good guy here they have been terrible about being forthcoming. Are there any actual real victims? Folks, this scandal is not black and white since frankly two wrongs don't make a right. We know what really is working here for Republicans. Beating up the IRS, good for the base. Good politics there makes for great fundraising e-mails. But let's remember what the controversy itself is about.

Also today, when it was announced that the EPA “unexpectedly” had a hard drive failure of its own (no word yet if a Roberto Clemente baseball bat was the proximate cause) when they were subpoenaed by a Congressional oversight committee, Sam Stein of the Huffington Post astonishingly tweeted:

sam_stein_defends_irs_epa_lost_evidence_6-25-14

Somewhere, H.L. Mencken, who in the 1920s wrote, “It is the prime function of a really first-rate newspaper to serve as a sort of permanent opposition in politics,” is roaring with cynical laughter at the pitiful 21st century state of his profession.

Meanwhile back in reality -- as opposed to the media fiction created by the Democrats and their operatives with bylines -- the news gets worse regarding IRS malfeasance, as we'll explore right after the page break.

"Oh, by the way, Lois Lerner apparently targeted a Republican senator for 'examination' too," Allahpundit writes at Hot Air. "Not just any Republican senator either. It’s Chuck Grassley, who’s been a bigwig on the Senate Finance Committee — which oversees taxation matters — for ages. It’s unclear what an 'examination' would have entailed, but an audit seems to be on the menu":

DrewM makes an interesting point, though: Are we sure from the e-mails that it was Grassley whom Lerner was targeting rather than the organization that sent the invitation? It’s ambiguous; read the e-mails yourself and see. It may be that she wanted the group examined, not Grassley, for offering to pay for his wife irrespective of whether Grassley acted on that offer. Although even there, the deputy’s point is that … it’s not illegal! It would all depend on whether the group properly recorded and disclosed the payment made to Mrs. Grassley. The Grassleys might have ended up getting sucked into the investigation later, to see whether they had disclosed the income from the group on their own return, but it could be that it was the group that was chiefly in her crosshairs, not him.

So that’s the best-case scenario. The head of the IRS’s exempt organizations divisions wasn’t targeting a Republican, she just didn’t know the rules about exempt organizations well enough to handle a rudimentary question involving an invitation. Sleep tight, America.

We certainly can knowing that Top Men are covering the massive corruption in Washington for the MSM. Top. Men.

Update: Meanwhile, back at the IRS, note that Lerner's email in which she debated targeting Chuck Grassley for an "examination" was sent via her Blackberry. Which simultaneously means that there's material beyond her hard drive, and that, well, she has a Blackberry that should be subpoenaed as evidence before its memory is smashed or wiped, if it hasn't been already. But then, as Glenn Reynolds notes,  "As I’ve said, the emails that they didn’t destroy are bad enough that the emails that they did destroy must be truly awful."