NPR Doesn’t Often Outrage, but When It Does …

NPRNPR’s Morning Edition news hour today featured a four-minute segment titled “Debate Endures Over Tax Exempt Status Of Crossroads GPS.” NPR correspondent Steve Innskeep introduced the piece with these words: “Tomorrow marks a year since the IRS admitted it had given excessive scrutiny to Tea Party and right-leaning patriot groups that had wanted tax-exempt status.”

The report itself, presented by NPR correspondent Peter Overby, takes as a given that the IRS applied special scrutiny to a conservative group’s request for tax-exempt status, never mentioning that the IRS investigates all such requests, from liberal and conservative groups alike.

Overby flatly labels Crossroads GPS a social welfare organization. It is not. It’s a political action committee run by GOP operative Karl Rove. Its purpose is to raise money to produce and air partisan attack ads, as Overby himself demonstrates a few seconds into his piece when he plays one of their ads. Overby doesn’t mention that under US law political action groups are not eligible for tax-exempt status, nor does he point out the IRS is required by law to review applications for tax-exempt status to determine whether groups claiming to be social welfare organizations actually are.

Steve Innskeep, in his introduction, misleads listeners when he says the IRS admitted to concentrating on conservative groups. What the IRS admitted to was scrutinizing “political action type organizations” trying to disguise themselves as social welfare organizations in order to gain tax-exempt status, and that equal scrutiny was applied to applications from liberal and progressive groups. The IRS maintained all along it was doing its job by scrutinizing tax-exempt status applications. This information is public record, confirmed by FBI investigations and congressional hearings, and has been widely reported.

WTF, NPR? Anyone listening to today’s Morning Edition could be excused for thinking your correspondents are reading from a list of GOP talking points. Nice Polite Republicans is supposed to be a joke. You don’t have to live up to it literally, do you? Or are you in fact now just another arm of the Republican Party? Peter Overby and Steve Innskeep certainly seem to be in the GOP’s employ, and their reports should rightly be presented as editorial opinion. You did your listeners … and objective reality … a real disservice today, NPR.

© 2014, Paul Woodford. All rights reserved.

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