The Mainstreaming of Conservative Conspiracy Theories
Interesting, isn’t it? The IRS, EPA, and DOJ scandals all happened before the election. We’re only hearing about them now.
— Gabriel Malor (@gabrielmalor) May 14, 2013
Yup. Sure is.
And you can add Pigford and Benghazi to that list, too. To recap:
— EPA chief Lisa Jackson, alias “Richard Windsor,” resigned in late December amidst a transparency scandal involving the use of fake email accounts to avoid scrutiny. Today, the same organization that sued for access to those emails reveals that the EPA gave green groups fee waivers for FOIA requests 93 percent of the time, whereas the Competitive Enterprise Institute was required to pay 14 out of 15 times.
— The IRS’s targeting of Tea Party groups (and small-government ones and ones whose stated mission is to “make America a better place to live”) went back to 2010, when they first started receiving egregiously detailed questionnaires. The White House has known since April, and pinned it on the Cincinnati field office originally, per the IRS commissioner’s apology. Not only is that claim not true—senior IRS officials have known since 2011, as the Washington Post reported last night, and they lied to Congress about it—but the Cincinnati office isn’t just a random peripheral subdivision, it’s the main office for processing exempt organizations claims. Not to mention CNN is now reporting that several other field offices were involved. Both the President and House Speaker John Boehner have promised to look into the matter. On the Senate side, Max Baucus will be heading up the investigation, and he actually encouraged investigating Tea Party groups.
— In the most shocking scandal yet in the president’s war on leaks—alternatively, war on whistleblowers—the Associated Press revealed yesterday that the Justice Department obtained two months’ worth of phone records from more than 20 different phone lines in an apparent attempt to trace the sources of a story about a foiled bomb plot by Yemen-based terrorists. The AP’s CEO has called it a “massive and unprecedented intrusion.”
Not every one of these could have been uncovered by the mainstream press, though all of them have to do with concerns raised by conservatives months or in some cases years ago that weren’t taken seriously. ProPublica’s decision yesterday evening to out the Cincinnati office as their source for confidential tax documents seems especially self-serving in light of the developing scandal. The Washington Post‘s story on Lisa Jackson’s resignation didn’t even mention her pseudonymous emails. You’d think a major newspaper would be concerned enough about transparency to do so. With a mainstream press this solicitous of the administration, is it any wonder they thought they could get away with snooping on reporters’ phone records? American Pravda, indeed.
Update: I guess I should have put that headline in quotes. Also, RNC chairman Reince Priebus has just called for Attorney General Eric Holder’s resignation.