Monday, June 3, 2013

If At First You Don't Succeed... Lie, Lie Again

So the latest outrage (it has Bill O'Reilly, golly darn upset) is that the former IRS director, Douglas Shulman visited the White House a mind-boggling 157 times. What could that mean but that it was to head to the basement with President Obama to get high and plot the harassment of teabaggers everywhere? Right?

Well, not so much, as it turns out. Literally, first and foremost. And figuratively. First of all, the guy was a Bush appointee, not too likely to be interested in turning the IRS into a left-wing hit squad. Second, the number refers to the times he was cleared to visit. Not visits. Cleared to visit. Of which he evidently took advantage approximately eleven times. Eleven.

Indeed, of the 157 events Shulman was cleared to attend, White House records only provide time of arrival information -- confirming that he actually went to them -- for 11 events over the 2009-2012 period, and time of departure information for only six appointments. According to the White House records, Shulman signed in twice in 2009, five times in 2010, twice in 2011, and twice in 2012. That does not mean that he did not go to other meetings, only that the White House records do not show he went to the 157 meetings he was granted Secret Service clearance to attend.

To visit whom were the visits cleared? Well, health care people. Because (another conspiracy a-brewing) the IRS is involved in administering Obamacare. (Note: as one who's never been thrilled by Obamacare, because it's a giveaway to private insurers, I'm hardly one to defend using the IRS in this role. So I won't. Among other things, it's perfect fodder for the lunatics of the right to gin up all manner of fears. And ginning they are.)

So O'Reilly's (and, The Daily Caller's, Tucker Carlson's right-wing "news" site which may be the only one with worse journalistic standards than Fox "news") smoking gun is the usual right-wing excuse for journalism: a nothingburger. Lazy journalism, meant not to inform but to propagandize, produced on the assumption (confirmed over and over) that those consuming it will neither be interested in its truthfulness, nor care if they found out. They'll believe it. And the more it's disproved, the harder they'll swallow. They actually prefer lies. 

How many times need it be said? Today's elected Republicans and their paid propagandists are dangerous, nasty, destructive people, who care neither for the truth nor the good of our country.

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