It’s hard to take in these two scandals rocking the Obama Administration right now.
First, on Friday, the news that the IRS specifically targeted conservative groups. Tea Party Groups
Today, the news that the Department of Justice had been surveilling the phones of Associated Press reporters.
There is certainly no love lost for me when it comes to Tea Party Groups. I find them dangerous and politically unhelpful to our democratic process.
Also, I believe that the IRS is right to crack down on groups that are misusing the 501c4 designation as “social welfare groups.” You may recall, this is the kind of group that Stephen Colbert set up last year, during the campaign, to highlight just how ridiculous the “soft money” groups had become.
Having said both those things –that I have no real love for Tea Party groups, that I do think the IRS should crack down on abuse of “social welfare” Superpacs– this story is very very disturbing.
No group should ever be flagged simply because of their affiliation with a political movement, right or left. Profiling by politics, age, gender, race, sexual orientation…this should never be done.
It’s a troubling, troubling story.
But today, I’m even more troubled by the DOJ spying on Associated Press Reporters.
As usual, Morning Joe had a great discussion of these issues this morning. So, rather than rehash it here, I’d just invite you to watch:
Of course Bernstein knows a bit about these things, doesn’t he?
I agree with everybody around the table. The real chilling effect here is on sources and their willingness to talk to news outlets. This kind of surveillance will “chill” sources everywhere, and may have already put people in danger.
Terrible terrible news on both these fronts.
People might say, “But Obama didn’t know about these things.”
And in both scandals, I am sure that is true. But, ultimately, as people used to say about President Bush related to the Iraq War, the “buck stops” at the president’s desk.
So, I don’t know what he’ll end up saying about these things, or what he even can. It’s troubling.
Conservatives: If for years you’ve felt that the press was in the back pocket of the Obama Administration (something I’ve never been convinced was true), the good news for you is that the honeymoon is officially over. My training as a journalist training teaches me that the White House has gotten its last “softball question” between now and 2016.
But, beyond this, you conservatives should be concerned about any targeting of journalist anywhere.
Liberals: If you’re somehow happy about Tea Party Groups being targeted, how happy will you be when it’s groups that are pro gun safety, or LGBT rights, or pro-immigration? And, you know how much paranoia there is on the Right.
Now it will be said, “Just because you’re paranoid…SEE! They ARE out to get us!!”
This ain’t gonna help.
This DOL targeting should be condemned by everyone too.
All the way around, whomever you are, and where ever you fall out on the Purpleland spectrum, there is little to rejoice about today.
(Leave a comment below. If you like this post, then “share it” or “like” it on Facebook/Twitter by clicking the box below, so others can see too. Comments here are moderated, and are approved at my discretion, when I can get to it..so be patient if they don’t appear right away)