The PJ Tatler

FLASHBACK: When the Media Crowdsourced Sarah Palin's Emails

Those were the days. It was June, 2011. 24,000 pages of former Gov. Sarah Palin’s emails were released by the state of Alaska. She had resigned as governor nearly two years before, and was by then a happy private citizen.

The media were so interested in getting into every nook and cranny of those emails that they facilitated their release, and then crowdsourced processing them. The Guardian even published a guide.

“We think it’s important to get the documents out into the world as soon as possible and see what you think about them – just like we did with MPs’ expenses,” the Guardian wrote at the time.

The LA Times got in on the act. So did the Daily Beast. The Washington Post published a full searchable database of all 24,000 pages.

Mother Jones bragged that its own David Corn had gotten the emails released in the first place. Corn himself “live blogged” every discovery, as if he was Indiana Jones hunting the Lost Ark.

He’s a tool like that.

Palin’s emails turned out to be mundane stuff. There was no scandal in there, just waiting for the intrepid reporter to unearth it and put it in the Newseum.

The “lost” IRS emails are from the 2009 to 2011 — the period during which the IRS is accused of targeting conservatives for abuse, to such an extent that the tax agency may have impacted the 2012 election. Accused — the IRS admitted to the targeting, before blaming it on “rogue” officers,” before “losing” thousands of emails between Lerner and persons unknown outside the IRS itself.

That’s a big deal. If nothing else, access to the emails could prove whether the agency and the likes of Lois Lerner are guilty or innocent. An intrepid reporter could discredit Rep. Darrell Issa and his committee investigation pretty thoroughly.

Or they could prove that the IRS has been weaponized. They could even take down a sitting president. That opportunity doesn’t come along very often.

But Mother Jones doesn’t care. David Corn isn’t interested in the IRS emails, lost or not, at all. The Guardian isn’t crowdsourcing anything, isn’t talking with IT experts about the likelihood of the agency “losing” anybody’s emails, let alone the emails of 7 central scandal figures. The Washington Post relegates the scandal to a mere “controversy,” a far cry from the heyday of Woodward and Bernstein.

None of these media outlets are actively investigating the IRS, its targeting or its “lost” emails.

Because they’re partisan hacks like that.