PALM BEACH, Fla. – As the probe continues into the Internal Revenue Service's targeting of conservative and tea-party groups, it has been revealed the practice started coming to light in early 2012, but was ignored or suppressed by the national media.
The New York Times is now linking radio powerhouse Rush Limbaugh as one of the key reasons the press corps did not cover the emerging scandal.
The Times reported in its Wednesday edition that in the first week of March last year, "Rush Limbaugh, the conservative icon and radio host, called a Georgetown University law student, Sandra Fluke, a 'slut' for her comments about the availability of birth control. The fallout from that consumed Washington, and Mr. Obama eventually called Ms. Fluke."
Limbaugh wasted no time mocking the Times, the self-proclaimed paper of record, for not reporting the real news of significance.
"They were so busy, that all of Washington was so absorbed with that story that they missed everything else going on that week and during that period of time. And during that period of time is when it was discovered that the IRS was investigating itself over targeting tea-party groups," Limbaugh said Wednesday.
"So the New York Times, in a story this morning, is trying to blame me for the media not uncovering the IRS scandals before the elections. Now I've heard everything! This takes the cake. I have now surpassed Bush, folks, in terms of being responsible for things that have gone wrong. I've got to put a notch in belt on this one or something."
Limbaugh noted found it ironic because he said national news pundits often say he's "irrelevant and inconsequential."
"The media ... couldn't be bothered with any of the news about the IRS a year ago because of me," he said. "I was so distracting, I occupied so much of their time, the story was so fascinating, they had blinders on. They were unable to let any other news story in."
He also said there's no doubt the suppression of the IRS story had an effect on the 2012 presidential race.
"The fact that the IRS story was not reported before the elections is a huge factor in Obama winning, make no mistake about it," he explained. "I want you to imagine that everything happening now was happening last May and going into last summer. Everything we're hearing about the IRS: targeting the tea party, and the IRS babe that was handling this now being promoted to handle Obamacare for the IRS – imagine all of this that's happening now, happening exactly one year ago. You think it would have had an impact in the election? Damn right it would have. And this is why it was suppressed. The entire effort ... the politicizing of all of this was designed to keep it hidden and unreported prior to the election. Ditto Benghazi."
The Times reported the potentially damaging events at the IRS seemed to pass with little notice.
"At the time, it was a dog-bites-man story," said Matt Bennett, the senior vice president for public affairs at Third Way, a liberal policy group. "Tea Party complains about IRS – that's not interesting. There's zero there that would capture anybody's attention."
In addition to the IRS scandal which is embroiling the nation's capital, the Obama administration has also come under fire for monitoring phone records of the Associated Press, as well as a number of reporters at the Fox News Channel, including James Rosen and even his parents.
Limbaugh wondered why there's suddenly national outrage over the practice when he himself has been personally targeted by Presidents Obama and Bill Clinton.
"I'm a member of the media. I'm America's anchorman," Limbaugh said. "Where is the outrage at trying to suppress me? This administration has been trying to suppress me long before they started going after the AP, and long before they started going after Fox News, and long before they started going after James Rosen."