Fireworks at Hearing Where Lois Lerner Takes the Fifth Again, Will Networks Notice?

Lois Lerner, the IRS figure at the center of the Tea Party targeting scandal, once again pleaded the Fifth on Wednesday before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. In more than 20 minutes of testimony the former director of IRS exempt organizations refused to answer Committee Chairman Darrell Issa on nine different occasions. The hearing also ended with a bit of fireworks between Issa and Democratic Congressman Elijah Cummings.

So now that networks have dramatic footage of a government official repeatedly taking the Fifth and a heated clash between congressmen, will they actually report on the IRS scandal? If recent history is any guide, probably not.


Despite new developments the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) networks have pretty much stopped covering the scandal. The last time NBC or CBS referenced the IRS imbroglio, on their evening or morning shows, was 30 days ago on February 3. It took FNC’s Bill O’Reilly bringing up the IRS issue to Barack Obama, in his Super Bowl interview, to get NBC and CBS to notice. But Obama’s brazen response to O’Reilly, that there was “not even a smidgen of corruption” to the IRS scandal, didn’t invite any follow-up stories on NBC or CBS. ABC didn’t even bother to mention Obama’s denial of corruption. It’s been 98 days since ABC last mentioned the scandal, in a 22 second Josh Elliot brief, on the November 27, 2013 edition of Good Morning America.

— Geoffrey Dickens is Deputy Research Director at the Media Research Center. Follow Geoffrey Dickens on Twitter.