Obama: IRS Behavior 'Inexcusable.' Obamaite Journalists: It's a 'so-called scandal'


Sure, the president of the United States called the Internal Revenue Service targeting of Tea Party and conservative groups "intolerable and inexcusable," but that hasn't stopped an army of commentators from claiming loudly and proudly that there's no there there. Just do a Google News search on "so-called scandal," and here's part of what comes up:

Elizabeth Drew, New York Review of Books:

References to Watergate, impeachment, even Richard Nixon, are being tossed around these days as if they were analogous to the current so-called scandals. 

David Horsey, Los Angeles Times:

Sadly, after this so-called scandal has blown over and enough heads have rolled, the cowed IRS will be even more timid in denying tax-exempt designation to any front organization run by partisan political operatives and funded by corporate moneymen who want to keep their names out of the news. 

Thom Hartmann, Truthout:

The fact is, while the GOP obsesses about so-called scandal, the pressing issues facing our nation are being ignored. 

Nelson Graves, The News Virginian:

Admittedly, errors in judgment were made in regards to the Benghazi and IRS so-called scandals. But the DOJ was completely within its rights to protect American security.

And so on.

But the real party comes when you search on "the real scandal." So much to choose from!

There's "child poverty" (Jesse Jackson, Chicago Sun-Times), "political gridlock" (Ned Barnett, Charlotte News & Observer), "the Republican party's devotion to grandstanding over governance and its preference for slime over substance" (Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., The Huffington Post), "secret money influencing US elections" (Ari Berman, The Nation), "that 501(c)(4) groups have been engaged in political activity in such a sustained and open way" (Jeffrey Toobin, New Yorker), that "they let General Electric not pay any taxes" (Michael Moore, HuffPost Live), sex abuse in the military (Katrina vanden Heuvel, Washington Post), and even "the IRS itself" (John Tamny, Forbes).

Note that we're talking just about "the real/so-called scandal" as regards the IRS business here; there's an entire media ecosystem devoted to pointing and laughing at the rubes and conspiracists who persist in being troubled by the administration's duplicitous handling of Benghazi. Here's TPM's Josh Marshall from earlier today:

That's often why people are so surprised when something like the 'Benghazi scandal' has such persistent juice behind it even after it's not even clear from a reality-based point of view what the pretended 'scandal' is even about.

Bolding mine, for the nostalgia/irony factor of "reality-based."

Two related pieces from me: "Benghazi Hall of Shame: Remembering the officials and commentators who inaccurately blamed a murderous attack at least in part on an obscure YouTube trailer," and "The 'Truth' Hurts: How the fact-checking press gives the president a pass."