Critic Slams Networks for Ignoring Contempt Vote on IRS' Lerner

Thursday, 08 May 2014 04:33 PM

By John A. Oswald

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Media critic Geoffrey Dickens is blasting America’s major network news channels for ignoring the House vote Wednesday to hold former IRS supervisor Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress.

"Just a 15-second brief on Thursday’s edition of ABC’s 'Good Morning America,'" Dickens’ NewsBusters analysis found.

Instead, it was all weather all the time, Dickens reports.

"In total, ABC, CBS, and NBC (from Tuesday morning through Wednesday morning) spent a whopping 27 minutes and 37 seconds on the Obama administration’s climate change scare-mongering," Dickens observed. "ABC and NBC even sent their weather reporters to interview the president."

Lerner is at the center of the controversy surrounding the Internal Revenue Service's targeting of conservative, tea party, and religious groups. She was held in contempt for refusing to testify about the scandal.

Lerner, who retired last year, was head of the department that evaluated applications for tax-exempt status sought by nonprofit organizations.

Her department was found to have singled out tea party, conservative, and religious groups for specialized screening that often involved unusual delays and detailed requests for information.

The scrutiny of the groups started in 2010 and continued to just before the 2012 presidential election.

Lerner’s lawyer, William Taylor III, cried foul in a letter to Congress ahead of Wednesday’s vote.

"Holding Ms. Lerner in contempt would not only be unfair and, indeed, un-American, it would be flatly inconsistent with the Fifth Amendment as interpreted by the Supreme Court," Taylor wrote in late April to House Speaker John Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.

Lerner only invoked her Fifth Amendment right not to testify before Congress after essentially reading a statement denying any wrongdoing.

The GOP says that shes trying to have it both ways – and that her initial testimony meant she waived her Fifth Amendment rights.

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