I’ve got a great way to make a group of people think that the government is complete corrupt and without any accountability. It’s really easy. Have the people on TV tell them every day about some terrible scandal. Of course, there is no actual scandal. The news readers just report things that indicate that there is a scandal and don’t report the vast majority of the evidence that indicates there is nothing going on. And then, when all the possible scandal confirming information has been reported, the TV drops the subject altogether.
This is brilliant because the news source never actually lied. It provided true, if highly misleading information. But the biggest part of this is not information at all; it is the sudden lack of reporting. Why would they do that?! It must be yet another example of the government clamping down on the news media. We really do have a fascist government! It won’t even let them talk about these scandals on TV!
Yesterday, The Hill reported, House Republicans See Long Slog Ahead for Probes of IRS Targeting. It got me thinking about the effects that all of these non-scandals are having on conservative television viewers. For almost a year, they’ve been told that Benghazi is a big scandal: Obama killed those four people! And now? Nothing other than occasional comments to the effect that Benghazi is a bad scandal that shows how terrible the administration is, even if there is no evidence to support that.
What’s interesting about the article in The Hill is that the Republicans themselves seem to be aware that they are doing this. Actually, it’s been pretty clear for a while. Why else would Darrell Issa be selectively and deceptively releasing information from the House hearings? But it goes further than that:
In other words, “We are only going to put out information that furthers our goals of embarrassing the White House.” It also makes it sound as if the Republicans on the committee want to slow the process down so that they can use this non-scandal (You do know it is a non-scandal, right?) throughout next year’s election cycle to impugn the Democratic Party.
As much as any group, conservatives bemoan the fact that the people have no respect or confidence in the major institutions of American life (except shockingly, the military). Yet they are willing to hurt our country on this score in the name of short term political gain. There is no doubt that Charles Boustany and Darrell Issa know there is no scandal behind the IRS targeting of Tea Party groups. But they will use their plausible narrative and willing accomplices in the conservative media to imply that it is true. It’s shameful. It’s traitorous.