MSNBC panel convinces themselves that no one cares about the IRS scandal

posted at 10:41 am on June 30, 2014 by Noah Rothman

On Monday, the majority of a panel on MSNBC’s Morning Joe attempted to convince themselves of a flawed premise: that the public largely is not convinced that the scandal involving the IRS targeting conservative groups, misleading investigators, and then failing to produce evidence relating to that investigation because they had destroyed it, is that big of a deal. The panel went on to explore an equally flawed premise regarding why the public is not incandescent with rage over this evolving controversy.

“People separate the IRS from big government,” Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson hoped in the form of an assertion.

In reaction to Robinson’s claim, The Daily Caller columnist Matt Lewis offered an interesting thought experiment. He asked if the Watergate scandal would have been as thoroughly investigated as it was if it had broken in today’s fractured and partisan media environment. “This should be outrageous to people,” he said. “The possibility that a president is using the power of the IRS…”

Here he was cut off as a chorus of insulted MSNBC panel guests erupted with indignation over Lewis’ unthinkable and vulgar assertion that the president could possibly have been involved in a “Nixonian” abuse of power like what occurred at the IRS.

“Nixonian was Nixonian because Nixon had his hand on the button,” Donny Deutsch insisted with unassailable accuracy. “I don’t think anybody, even the most wacked out people, are thinking President Obama is sitting in his office picking up the hotline.”

Robinson agreed, noting there is no equivalent of E. Howard Hunt in the IRS scandal. Neither seemed aware that they had unwittingly proven Lewis’ point. Their rush to extend the White House the benefit of the doubt suggests that there would not have been a modern Watergate if columnists and commentators like Deutsch and Robinson were on the case.

A potential link to the White House could only be uncovered after exhaustive investigation on the part of reporters. Those reporters today would have to endure a withering campaign of shaming from their most powerful colleagues for chasing ghosts and displaying a disturbing lack of zeal for The Cause.

But the most shocking admission came from the program’s co-host and anchor Willie Geist who noted that the IRS targeting scandal “should be an outrageous story.” His assumption seems to betray the fact that, in his circles, it is not an “outrageous story.” That is not a widely shared opinion.

A Fox News poll released last week showed that 74 percent support a congressional investigation into the targeting scandal, including 86 percent of Republicans, 65 percent of surveyed independents, and 66 percent of Democratic respondents. That poll also revealed that 76 percent believe the IRS intentionally destroyed hardware in order to hide evidence relating to the targeting scandal from investigators.

A Quinnipiac University survey released last week showed that 76 percent want a special counsel appointed in order to investigate the scandal. Again, there is no partisan, age, gender, or race gap in the findings. “The idea has strong support across all parties, with 88 percent of Republicans, 63 percent of Democrats and 78 percent of independents calling for a special prosecutor,” The Hill reported.

The IRS investigation may not be as pressing an issue for the American people as, say, unemployment or health care, nor should it be. Broadly supported new background checks for firearms purchases in the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre was also low on voters’ list of priorities, but this did not stop members of the press – and Morning Joe’s regulars in particular – from declaring it the single most important issue of our time.

Robinson concluded by laughing off the IRS scandal, noting inaccurately that the liberal groups were also targeted by the IRS with equal fervor. They weren’t. Fortune’s Leigh Gallagher came up with the most charitable means of exculpating the press for their lack of interest in the IRS scandal by suggesting that the public has chalked up the IRS scandal to rampant and unsurprising incompetence displayed by a federal bureaucracy. They haven’t.

This panel segment was a perfect window into the mentality that dominates the press today. The press is subject to a form of peer pressure which often takes the form of derision heaped upon those who are investigating stories inconvenient for the White House. It is a mechanism for enforcing consensus and it has worked spectacularly well.

The public cares a great deal about the revelations coming out of the IRS. This morning’s panel represented the minority of those who do not.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

“People separate the IRS the Gestapo from big government the Nazi party,” Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson hoped in the form of an assertion.

Flange on June 30, 2014 at 10:44 AM

The idiots at MSNBC – “We have a vested interest in the success of this administration!” – aren’t exactly known for their intelligence.

GarandFan on June 30, 2014 at 10:45 AM

“Nixonian was Nixonian because Nixon had his hand on the button,” Donny Deutsch insisted with unassailable accuracy. “I don’t think anybody, even the most wacked out people, are thinking President Obama is sitting in his office picking up the hotline.”

I see Dummy Douche still has a job. obaME! fluffer. I hope he is one of the first to go.

VegasRick on June 30, 2014 at 10:45 AM

The IRS should have caused a Rebellion back in the 1920′s. But better late than never.

ConstantineXI on June 30, 2014 at 10:46 AM

“People separate the IRS from big government,” Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson hoped in the form of an assertion.

Wtf? What world is he living in. The IRS is the epitome of big government.

Patriot Vet on June 30, 2014 at 10:47 AM

HAHAHAHAHAHA

Like the defendants at Nuremberg lined up to claim that no, nothing untoward happened while they and their guy were running the show.

Bishop on June 30, 2014 at 10:48 AM

The press is subject to a form of peer pressure which often takes the form of derision heaped upon those who are investigating stories inconvenient for the White House. It is a mechanism for enforcing consensus and it has worked spectacularly well.

I agree. This looks like delusional nonsense to normal people, but it’s not aimed at normal people.

forest on June 30, 2014 at 10:50 AM

This panel segment was a perfect window into the mentality that dominates the press today. The press is subject to a form of peer pressure which often takes the form of derision heaped upon those who are investigating stories inconvenient for the White House. It is a mechanism for enforcing consensus and it has worked spectacularly well.

The public cares a great deal about the revelations coming out of the IRS. This morning’s panel represented the minority of those who do not.

Very nice summary here Noah.

Doomberg on June 30, 2014 at 10:50 AM

Delusional, simply out their minds whacko

jaywemm on June 30, 2014 at 10:51 AM

Talk about people who aren’t in touch with the average citizen…

parke on June 30, 2014 at 10:51 AM

Robinson concluded by laughing off the IRS scandal, noting inaccurately that the liberal groups were also targeted by the IRS with equal fervor. They weren’t.

That’s another problem with the media these days. Not only are they corrupt and in the tank for big government(and especially Obama), but they’re idiots who don’t even know what they’re talking about.

Doughboy on June 30, 2014 at 10:53 AM

There’s a Tone Deaf Hillary thread rattling around here somewhere.

Can we merge the two to save hard-disk space?

Tsar of Earth on June 30, 2014 at 10:57 AM

Note to conservative contributors: Instead of dumping money into lost elections and internecine primary rivalries, create your own major cable channel! Load it with unbiased news, educational programs on civics, economy and spiritualism (no televangelism, though), and inexpensive but wholesome entertainment – and not only you will reap more political benefits, the enterprise may actually surprise you by turning a significant profit!

Rix on June 30, 2014 at 10:57 AM

“People separate the IRS from big government,” Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson hoped in the form of an assertion.

Wow! That was like an RNC leadership conference where a bunch of morons convince themselves that amnesty is the way to getting the Hispanic vote.

Happy Nomad on June 30, 2014 at 10:58 AM

The only people they are in touch with are Extremely Low-Information Voters. This network is so pathetic. I live in New York City, and even here Statists & Low-Info’s do not publicly admit to watching it.

HiramRevels on June 30, 2014 at 10:58 AM

Idiots

cmsinaz on June 30, 2014 at 11:00 AM

The MSM adheres to a simple rule: They must toe the line of the Democrat party. We simply have no idea of the corruption and conspiracy that takes place every day between the MSM and the Democrat party. Reporters take their orders from the top — see former CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson — and know what will happen if they do not.

supersport667 on June 30, 2014 at 11:04 AM

Idiots

cmsinaz on June 30, 2014 at 11:00 AM

Comparing MSLSD to idiots, is very insulting… to the idiots.

oscarwilde on June 30, 2014 at 11:06 AM

They’re right…. No BFD here people….move along… especially now that the emails that would exonerate these fine bureaucrats were accidentally destroyed.
If the glove is missing, and it can’t fit…..you must acquit.

FlaMurph on June 30, 2014 at 11:06 AM

Nobody believes 0bama any longer except for the zealots.

What is so obvious is that no one gets their news from the lame stream media any longer. Not even the Left.

The fringe zealot media have refused to cover this scandal yet 0bama has still lost in the court of public opinion.

Imagine that!

Jayrae on June 30, 2014 at 11:08 AM

Statists: “The truth is what we say it is”

BobMbx on June 30, 2014 at 11:11 AM

The definition of an echo chamber.

Fallon on June 30, 2014 at 11:12 AM

Oh, and ~75% of the people that saw the show this morning (3 of 4 known to watch) disagree with the panel.

BobMbx on June 30, 2014 at 11:13 AM

My bad oscar

cmsinaz on June 30, 2014 at 11:15 AM

I think that a lot of us here have convinced ourselves that no one cares about MSNBC. Does a network exist if it goes off the air and there is nobody around to witness it?

warmairfan on June 30, 2014 at 11:17 AM

I think that a lot of us here have convinced ourselves that no one cares about MSNBC. Does a network exist if it goes off the air and there is nobody around to witness it?

warmairfan on June 30, 2014 at 11:17 AM

What was the name of the liberal radio network that is now defunct?

Does that answer your question? MSLSD will follow them down the memory hole.

dogsoldier on June 30, 2014 at 11:19 AM

The stooges at MSNBC certainly are not journalists. Their researching abilities are non-existent.

From Rasmussen today:

71% Think IRS Likely to Have Destroyed E-mails to Hide Guilt
Additionally:

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 53% of Likely U.S. Voters believe that the Internal Revenue Service broke the law when it targeted Tea Party and other conservative groups. That’s up from 49% earlier this year and back to the level seen last September.

sadatoni on June 30, 2014 at 11:22 AM

When I was younger, I worked security at a grocery store…I never caught a thief that didn’t say “This was the first time”, and I never caught a thief that came up to me and admitted they committed a criminal act.

You have to catch them first, and they deny they did anything wrong, than you have to find what they stole and actually show it to them…than they admit they took something from someone that has plenty of it…than they state it was the first and only time.

Whether it was a kid, or a seasoned criminal adult, they all act the same…deny, deny, deny, until you prove it…

BTW, Nixon said he didn’t do anything wrong at the beginning, until “proof” came forward.

No criminal ever commits a crime…they are found guilty, than they might admit it.

right2bright on June 30, 2014 at 11:25 AM

What the MSM fails to realise that any power they have to shield democrats is diminished as they use it. The less people trust the MSM to objectively pursue the truth, no matter who it hurts, the less power (and revenue) the MSM will have.

yetanotherjohn on June 30, 2014 at 11:25 AM

What was the name of the liberal radio network that is now defunct?

dogsoldier on June 30, 2014 at 11:19 AM

Error America.

Flange on June 30, 2014 at 11:27 AM

On February 25, 2013 on Piers Morgan Tonight, Deutsch declared that he is a member of the Democratic Party.[10] Deutsch has also stated: “I’m a feminist”.[11]
In other words he swings from both sides of the plate.

woodhull on June 30, 2014 at 11:33 AM

he says there is no evidence connecting this to the White House. conveniently leaving out that there is no evidence because it was mistakenly, on purpose destroyed.

Apparently common sense and the countless lies from the administration isn’t enough to break down the walls of blind-ideology

@AsalamaTweetum

Opinionnation on June 30, 2014 at 11:35 AM

In other words he swings from both sides of the plate.

woodhull on June 30, 2014 at 11:33 AM

Nah, catchers squat behind the dish.

Flange on June 30, 2014 at 11:36 AM

A couple things come to mind.

First, no Conservative should appear on any MSM outlet without his or her own personal make-up artist.

Second, let these morons go…if the Liberal establishment wants to make its stand in defense if the INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE, for God’s sake LET THEM!
This “phoney” scandal is a gift. Let them keep on giving.

Kenz on June 30, 2014 at 11:36 AM

When IS blows up DC or Gotham, they’ll be telling themselves it was really the Koch brothers.

“I don’t think anybody, even the most wacked out people, are thinking President Obama is sitting in his office picking up the hotline.”

You mean the guy who bragged about what a good killer he is?

Note to conservative contributors: Instead of dumping money into lost elections and internecine primary rivalries, create your own major cable channel! Load it with unbiased news, educational programs on civics, economy and spiritualism (no televangelism, though), and inexpensive but wholesome entertainment – and not only you will reap more political benefits, the enterprise may actually surprise you by turning a significant profit!

Rix on June 30, 2014 at 10:57 AM

No, don’t give up the political process, but he is right about the cultural battle.

We need more FNCs (now that FNC is sliding leftward) and there are a number of channels that offer the good old stuff (and, in some cases, televangelism, but you can alter your schedule if need be).

formwiz on June 30, 2014 at 11:39 AM

MSNBC panel convinces themselves that no one cares about the IRS scandal

…that’s why their ratings are so high?

JugEarsButtHurt on June 30, 2014 at 11:42 AM

Nixon could only wish he was as clever and devious as Obama and had a propaganda machine who was willing to stonewall with the efficiency of our left wing media.

MSNBC is swimming at the bottom of an almost empty barrel along with CNN gasping for whatever water is left to swim in.

iamsaved on June 30, 2014 at 11:42 AM

Don’t worry… it’s all “phony” anyway!


@AsalamaTweetum

Opinionnation on June 30, 2014 at 11:51 AM

Flange on June 30, 2014 at 11:27 AM

LOL!

dogsoldier on June 30, 2014 at 11:58 AM

We all know, that in their heart of hearts, they know the truth. And that alone has to bug the crap out of them. They are the ones that placed odumbo on his alter, worship away boys.

D-fusit on June 30, 2014 at 11:59 AM

All MSNBC talking heads are full of delusional baloney!

MCGIRV on June 30, 2014 at 11:59 AM

That is the problem with an Echo Chamber. You only hear repeated what you say.

Tinker on June 30, 2014 at 12:01 PM

These are political scumbags who not only know but follow the religion that ‘If you say the same lie repeatedly, it becomes the truth’

RdLake on June 30, 2014 at 12:05 PM

Talk about being in a bubble of their own making. Such a demonstration of closed minds.

tjmorrill on June 30, 2014 at 12:11 PM

When was the last time any politician admitted they did something illegal, before being “convicted” with evidence?

Of course Obama is “innocent”…what else are the supporters going to say?

right2bright on June 30, 2014 at 12:11 PM

The IRS investigation may not be as pressing an issue for the American people as, say, unemployment or health care, nor should it be.

Like heck. It’s more important, because it directly reflects the tyranny of government. Perhaps with the right emphasis on this scandal, the public will grasp why government-run health care is so dangerous to them, and get the national government out of their lives – which will immediately get the economy going again.

GWB on June 30, 2014 at 12:27 PM

Things are really bad when even Ratt Lewis can expose the bias.

CommieJuice on June 30, 2014 at 12:35 PM

Remember, these are LIBs (low-information broadcasters).

virgo on June 30, 2014 at 12:39 PM

Yeah, this is not the press. PMSNBC is just a collection of halfwit Obamatards, race victims, and know nothing’s like Don Douche.

Jaibones on June 30, 2014 at 12:54 PM

Yes, nobody cares about MSNBC anymore (still???)

How about we capitalize on this meme that “they did it to liberal groups to.”

Well, then you lefties ought to be standing with us in calling for probes into the behaviour of the IRS.

Keith_Indy on June 30, 2014 at 1:33 PM

Circle of jerks.

Sherman1864 on June 30, 2014 at 2:29 PM

Donny Deutsch insisted with unassailable accuracy. “I don’t think anybody, even the most wacked out people, are thinking President Obama is sitting in his office picking up the hotline.”

“I have a pen and a phone.”

Jasper61 on June 30, 2014 at 4:41 PM

The telling thing here is that the panel members are on a LSM TV channel. They apparently do not know that the LSM is, well, uh,…..so Lame! We get that and that is why for stories deeper than the left’s talking points or stories they find disturbing, the public goes elsewhere. It’s ridiculous how out of touch they are and I’m not sure they are even aware of it.

geezerintraining on July 1, 2014 at 7:58 AM

These people must not watch their own shows.

I get emotional when I try to: Laughing and crying.

When you toss in not being informed, it is no wonder they don’t get viewers.

MSNBC is to news analysis what “The Three Stooges” is to humorous wit.

ha_tspc on July 1, 2014 at 10:02 AM