The Obama administration has been awash with scandals – some that have been said to surpass Watergate – and yet America’s mainstream press has apparently forgotten its role as watchdog, claims Fox Business News’ Lou Dobbs, and his award-winning journalist guest has a theory as to why.
Emmy-winning investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson appeared on the June 19 “Lou Dobbs Tonight” program and explained the media isn’t digging into allegations the White House used the power of the IRS to target tea-party groups because “propaganda interests” have intimidated reporters so severely, they’re afraid if they cover the administration’s scandals, they’ll be seen as a “right-wing nut.”
“Whether it’s Fast and Furious, whether it is spying on a journalist, whether it’s IRS targeting, Benghazi, the list goes on and on and on,” Dobbs posited to Attkisson. “Yet the national liberal media, as I often style it, simply will not rise up to the level of a watchdog for the state. Instead they are behaving much more like lap dogs. It is, to me, mind boggling.”
Attkisson suggested some reporters may simply not be that interested in these scandal stories, but she also suggested there may be more nefarious forces at work.
“I think to some degree they have been played by propaganda interests who suggest that if these stories are covered, they are simply phony scandals and Republican generated. Which they’re not, in my opinion,” she said. “From a neutral viewpoint there are many important questions to be asked and implications here. But the propaganda campaign says that if you’re interested in the story you’re a conservative and a right-wing nut.
“Media should not be swayed by that,” she concluded, “but I think to some degree they are.”
Attkisson made similar comments on radio host Laura Ingraham’s program the same day – not about the IRS scandal, but about the recent flood of underage illegal immigrants streaming across the U.S. border.
Attkisson explained how “only one side” of certain stories are being reported, the side sympathetic to illegal immigrants.
“It’s perceived as you’re negative, or you’re mean, or you’re racist perhaps if you go after these other stories,” she said, “and I simply don’t think that’s the case, but I feel like there is that kind of pressure sometimes.”
Watch Attkisson’s interview with Dobbs below:
Attkisson has twice won Emmys for her investigative journalism and has been nominated for several more, most recently for her reporting on the Fast & Furious scandal.
In March 2014, however, Attkisson resigned from CBS News, in part because of her frustration with the network's liberal bias and lack of dedication to investigative reporting.
A quick survey of major news sources' online homepages at the time of this report revealed while many were headlining the IRS scandal, CNN.com, for example, had no mention of the story on its homepage and CBSNews.com framed its headlines with the phrases "monumental waste" and "sensationalizing scandal."
Yet Daniel Henninger of the Wall Street Journal, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in his own right, wrote the scandal was even more significant than the one that toppled the Nixon presidency.
"The IRS tea-party audit story isn't Watergate; it's worse than Watergate," Henninger wrote. "The Watergate break-in was the professionals of the party in power going after the party professionals of the party out of power. The IRS scandal is the party in power going after the most average Americans imaginable."