ABSOLUTELY UN-AMERICAN: Fox News And Darrell Issa Squelch Democrats In IRS Hearing

In an extraordinary hearing Wednesday morning, Republicans put on a display of tyrannical suppression of speech that would make the Taliban green with envy.

Fox News

Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee (and recidivist criminal), called to order a hearing on allegations that the IRS targeted conservative groups for enhanced scrutiny on their applications for tax-exempt status. The sole item on the agenda was testimony from former IRS official Lois Lerner. Lerner had previously notified the committee that she would be exercising her Fifth Amendment right to decline to answer questions. Ignoring that, Issa scheduled the hearing anyway as a sideshow that he hoped would embarrass his Democratic colleagues. His strategy blew up in his face.

After making a five minute opening statement, Issa proceeded to ask a series of questions, each time eliciting the same response from Lerner saying that, on advice of counsel, she was exercising her constitutional right to decline to answer. Since Issa already knew that Lerner would not be testifying, it is clear that his only purpose was to hear himself ask a bunch of questions that he framed to imply something incriminating. But it’s what happened next that demonstrates just how disreputable and dictatorial Issa is. [Full video of the hearing via C-SPAN]

Upon completing his opening statement and faux inquiry, the committee’s ranking Democrat, Elijah Cummings, began his opening statement, as is the practice of congressional proceedings. However, Issa immediately cut him off and ordered the hearing adjourned. Issa did not permit Cummings, or any other Democrat to utter a single word on the record. And after silencing Cummings, Issa stomped out of the hearing room.

Not surprisingly, this outraged Cummings who insisted on having his time to address the committee and the witness. Whereupon Issa instructed his staff to cut Cummings microphone off. Cummings valiantly persevered without a mic and made his objections known. He pointed out that Issa’s behavior was one-sided, wrong, and “absolutely un-American.”

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The coverage on Fox News of this shameful display of Republican hubris was pretty much what you might expect. Fox broadcast most of Issa’s opening statement and questions. Then, when Cummings began to speak, Fox curtailed their coverage after showing a brief portion of the dust-up between Issa and Cummings. Fox did not show any of the remarks Cummings made after Issa walked out of the room. Ironically, Fox host Martha MacCallum said that “We’re trying to give equal time to both of these gentlemen here.” Apparently equal time on Fox News is seven uninterrupted minutes of a Republican harangue and 42 seconds of a Democratic response.

Following the hearing, the same measure of biased coverage occurred when Issa and Cummings addressed the press. Fox again broadcast Issa’s press conference in its entirety, but cut away as Cummings approached the same podium from which Issa had just finished speaking. Fox aired none of Cummings remarks to the press. [Full video of the press avails via C-SPAN]

To matters even worse, Fox aired a segment about the hearing shortly afterward with a reporter from U.S. News and World Report. In addressing concerns by Lerner that she was getting death threats, Fox host Jon Scott made this unbelievably grotesque comment:

“I can see why if you’re getting death threats, maybe you wouldn’t want to open yourself up to more scrutiny. But at the same time, it would seem that answering some of the questions might cause some of these people who are so angry to ease up if she’s got legitimate answers for why the IRS did what it did.”

In other words, just comply with the demands of those making death threats and maybe they won’t kill you. See? Problem solved.

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After numerous hearings, testimony from more than three dozen IRS employees, and review of thousands of pages of documents, the Issa Inquisition has proven none of its allegations about corruption, partisanship, or White House involvement. What Issa has proven is that he is a brazenly dishonest hack who has repeatedly deceived the public and the media by issuing reports and releasing documents that he purposefully manipulated to create a falsely negative impression of malfeasance by Democrats. In the process he would systematically remove any data that contradicted his fictional version of events.

As for Fox News, they could not have been more obviously biased in their coverage of this affair. In all they broadcast about a quarter hour of Issa’s propaganda and less than a minute of the Democratic side of the debate. What’s more, they are already promoting appearances by Issa (and only Issa) on Fox News later today. And not once has Fox made note of the fact that Issa, and his GOP led committee, held an unprecedented hearing where only he was allowed to speak.

[Update 3/6/14] The Congressional Black Caucus has put forward a motion to condemn Darrell Issa for his tyrannical abuse of power and to remove him from the chairmanship of the committee. However, Speaker John Boehner has already expressed his continuing support for Issa whom Boehner believes acted appropriately.

Also, Media Matters has obtained and posted the emails that Issa referenced during his sham hearing. Consistent with Issa’s repeated acts of deception and partisan cherry-picking of information to make public, these emails actually prove that IRS director Lois Lerner was taking great pains to avoid any politicization of the agencies activities. As usual, when all the information is made available, it shows that Issa and Co. have lied through their teeth.

IRS Email


26 thoughts on “ABSOLUTELY UN-AMERICAN: Fox News And Darrell Issa Squelch Democrats In IRS Hearing

  1. Absolutely un-American is an apt description of everyone working at Faux News and every Republican in the House, Senate and SCOTUS.

    Republicans side with America’s enemies everytime and are ardently working to bring back slavery.

    • Welfare has enslaved millions for decades. Thanks LBJ. The fed, a privately owned bank, dictates policy and prints the notes for enslavement. Thanks Woodrow. Progressive codependency is the master, more slaves get chained to the government with every job lost.

  2. I always love it when someone IN government takes the 5th when trying to hide what they did in the name of government. Maybe you progressives need to find a new religion. Darrell Issa is just the latest symptom of the sickness in government – and it’s not all republican.

    • So what I’m getting from your brilliant comment is, it would be nice if government employees were deprived of the same constitutional rights that are bestowed to employees in the private sector? What a funny little fascist you are.

      • I’ve read enough commentary on this website to know with 100% certainty that your defense of this person has everything to do with her party affiliation and zero to do with her civil rights.

        • And I can be 100% sure, and indeed, point out very clearly that you 100% did not respond to CS’s post, and also 100% made your usual acid and biased statement which oozes the same sort of partisanship that you accuse this site of having.

          You need a new act, seriously.

        • If that’s the case, maybe you should ask Issa why he refuses to allow the Bush appointed, republican IRS supervisor of the Ohio office, where this took place, to testify as to why he insisted on the extra scrutiny of these political organizations filing for tax exempt status. Issa knows that both conservative and liberal organizations were scrutinized and only liberal organizations were denied tax exempt status. But he can’t allow that to get out because then he wouldn’t get any airtime for his conspiracy theories. He would be seen as the irrelevant pompous ass that he is. That’s one of the things Cummings was referring to when he asked Issa what he was hiding.

          And besides, there really is no reason to have Ms Lerner come in to testify about the administrations involvement since that has already been debunked. And that’s all Issa gives a shit about anyway.

        • Her party affiliation is Republican.

          • Doesn’t matter, really. If Obama supports Ms. Lerner, that automatically makes her a minion of the enemy. Party affiliation no longer makes any difference in the modern Shlox Snooze era.

    • Issa will be on Faux newz tomorrow with more lies. An early morning re-cap with his friends the three stooges of the curvy couch.

    • I guess you loved it just as much when one of Christie’s aides did the same thing in light of the gridlock scandal. In fact the right wing media loved it so much, they gave it EXACTLY the same amount of airtime as when this person cited the 5th.

      ….I lied, the right wing media didn’t say one word about that.

    • It’s very entertaining to watch the “party liners” go toe to toe. This is why I am a Libertarian. This group will grow tremendously in the next decade. Just ask a Republican and a Democrat about Ron Paul. Oh, I hate his foreign policy. Well, what is his foreign policy ? Most don’t know. Heads in the sand.

  3. Darrell Issa sure has an inferiority complex. Probably has a small dick … lousy in bed …or both.

  4. As a citizen I would like to see the IRS target conservatives when they break the law and liberals when they do. Is that so wrong?

  5. In reports I saw today, this is unprecedented. Contentious hearings are nothing new but not allowing the ranking member to have equal time is a violation of the committee rules. Unlikely to happen but Issa has opened himself up to a potential ethics violations investigation.

  6. Is the IRS supposed to look the other way when Political groups apply for tax-except status that they are not entitled too?
    There are other more appropriate tax programs that cover what these groups qualify for that don’t violate Fed law.
    If a single person suddenly files as a parent with 10 dependents, they too will likely face scrutiny.
    Besides, Democratic groups also faced the same scrutiny as the Teabagger groups, so it would be hard to prove their case.
    I would find it amusing if Lois Lerner(Bush appointee) were taking the fifth in order to protect the previous administration and all the Republicans that were running things at the time.

  7. Rep. Issa gave his 5 minute opening statement followed by his 3 questions.
    He then tried to close the Hearing.
    It was then Rep. Cummings time for the minorities opening statement and questions.
    Rep. Issa reluctantly recognized Rep. Cummings.
    As Rep. Cummings started to speak he was interrupted by Rep. Issa who tried to close down the hearing without giving the minority “equal time” under the rules of the Committee, which is why Rep. Cummings told Rep. Issa that “you can’t run a hearing like that.”
    Rep. Issa was in contempt.
    Rep. Cummings was correct to point that out.

  8. I can’t believe this…Issa should resign.

  9. John Bonehead and Darrell Issa should both resign – but if we’re lucky, Bonehead’s gonna lose his job in November anyway, so let’s push for that.

    • That’s wishful thinking – the republican party – as messed up as it is – is all that stands between the progressive terrorists occupying the white house and the democrat party and any freedom. Not really a good group to rely on though, I’ll admit since they can be just as bad as the incompetent we have now playing president, so it really just a false choice.

      • You can’t really condemn Obama as incompetent when the sole purpose of Bonehead’s House is to ensure that nothing gets accomplished under his administration. At worst, it’s just that Obama keeps proving that he is only willing to go so far and will not press further. That’s not Chicago-style politics no matter what Lord Rush of Limburger keeps saying. That’s cowardice.

      • Terrorists….wow. Good goin.

  10. “He’s taking the Fifth, Elijah.” I don’t know who said that in the video, but I love it.

  11. In all fairness, if they aren’t suppressing freedom, Republicans don’t seem to have much to offer.

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