Chuck Todd's Nixonian Defense of the IRS
NBC Senior White House Correspondent Chuck Todd's Nixonian defense of the IRS earlier this week was so intellectually dishonest and filled with lies of omission, regardless of your political beliefs, no intellectually honest person can watch without marveling at the mendacity.
In a mere 90 seconds during a segment called "My Take" on his MSNBC show "The Daily Rundown," Todd used his admittedly impressive political and analytical skills to mislead his audience into believing the IRS scandal is something it's not.
Let's start at the beginning, with Todd's statement that "the question [of the IRS scandal] at hand is whether explicit political groups should be filing for status as social welfare groups."
That's just not true.
The "question at hand" is not what the law is. The question at hand is how the law -- whether you agree with it or not -- was selectively used and applied by our government to grant one side protection under the law and harass the other side seeking that same protection.
Furthermore, not once does Todd bother to inform the viewer that conservative political groups were the ones singled out, harassed, and paralyzed (with endless red tape in the form of audits, intrusive questions, stalls, and paperwork) by their own government in the run-up to a presidential year.
Not once does Todd inform his viewers that a number of Democrat lawmakers asked the IRS to single out conservative groups in this fashion.
Todd does say that both conservative and liberal groups have complained about being singled out, but that's just Todd mealy-mouthing around the truth.
By saying what other people say, Todd dodges having to inform his viewers that the facts are quite simple: Conservative groups were singled out for harassment by the IRS and therefore -- whether you agree with the law or not -- the "question at hand" is how high does the corruption go that allowed this to happen?
Todd then asks a rhetorical question: Are the any "real victims" in the IRS scandal. And the answer he's obviously attempting to convey to his audience is a big fat no.
Again this is a lie of omission. It is not a subjective opinion that when the federal government, especially in the form of the IRS, clamps down on one political group over another, the victim is not just our free and fair democracy, it is every person and group singled out to a point where their civil right of free expression was suppressed.
This, however, is where Todd crosses a line that I have yet to see anyone -- including his colleagues at MSNBC -- cross:
This scandal is not black and white since, frankly, two wrongs do not make a right.
Apparently, in Todd's mind there are no victims because everyone is a bad faith player.
Except... they're not.
Todd might not like the rule that allows political groups to file under a certain status, but there is nothing WRONG or even close to WRONG with following the law by filing papers with your government in accordance with the law to receive a legal status that legions of your counterparts on the left side of the aisle have been granted.
What is WRONG and criminal and un-American is The People's own government abusing its power in ways Nixon never dreamed of to harass, attack, intimidate, and paralyze the voices of everyday people following the rules in order to have an equal voice in their democracy.
What is also WRONG is a media (not just Todd) so warped and frustrated by the idea of everyday right-of-center Americans competing with them for a voice in the political debate, that they abandon the honored trust of being democracies watchdogs to instead assume the Nixonian posture of protecting -- not just power, but poisoned and corrupted power.
All things being the same, if gay and/or black and/or any left-wing group had been singled out by the IRS in this fashion, Todd and the media would not be attempting to shift the focus of the scandal to the validity of a law as opposed to where it belongs: on a powerful government giving left-wing groups selective protection under that law while using bureaucratic water torture to tie the hands of conservative groups seeking those same protections.
Just try and tell the media that the issue is the validity of capital punishment, not that more black people are being executed.
But that's what Todd wants us to believe.