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ABC, NBC Skip Announcement That IRS Aggressively Targeted Conservatives, Not Liberals

ABC and NBC on Thursday night and Friday morning ignored an announcement by the Internal Revenue Service inspector general that liberal organizations were not forced to endure the same invasive investigations as conservative, Tea Party groups. Only CBS This Morning covered the development. This contradicted earlier claims by the IRS. 

This Morning co-anchor Norah O'Donnell explained, "The IRS said this week that conservative and progressive groups were both given extra scrutiny." Reporter Anthony Mason added, "But a Treasury Department official said yesterday he found fewer liberal groups were targeted." According to O'Donnell, this was an example of conservatives "lashing out" at the IRS.

Washington Times reporters David Sherfinski and Stephen Dinan wrote on Friday:

In a letter sent late Wednesday and released Thursday, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration J. Russell George said that just 30 percent of groups with the word "progressive" in their name were put through special scrutiny for tax-exempt applications, but 100 percent of groups with "tea party," "patriot" or "9/12" in their name were subjected to invasive questioning.

In a letter sent late Wednesday and released Thursday, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration J. Russell George said that just 30 percent of groups with the word "progressive" in their name were put through special scrutiny for tax-exempt applications, but 100 percent of groups with "tea party," "patriot" or "9/12" in their name were subjected to invasive questioning.

...

That finding contradicts claims by congressional Democrats who said liberal groups were targeted too — and, they argue, that suggests the scrutiny by the Internal Revenue Service didn't have a political bias.

Hours after the letter was released, acting IRS chief Daniel Werfel said that while an initial investigation has found no evidence of bias or political motivation, he didn't disagree with the auditor's conclusions.

Mason related, "Republican Congressman Kevin Brady accused Werfel of putting out a sham report."

Even though ABC couldn't find time to cover the story on Thursday or Friday, the network's website did highlight it. Writers John Parkinson and Abby D. Phillip informed, "The Internal Revenue Service scrutinized 'progressive' groups less harshly than conservative groups, the Treasury Inspector General said in a letter to Congress this week."

A transcript of the June 28 This Morning segment is below:

08:06 am ET

NORAH O'DONNELL: Congressional Republicans lashed out at Acting IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel over the agency's treatment of political organizations. The IRS said this week that conservative and progressive groups were both given extra scrutiny.

ANTHONY MASON: But a Treasury Department official said yesterday he found fewer liberal groups were targeted.

Republican Congressman Kevin Brady accused Werfel of putting out a sham report.

[CBS News Graphic: "IRS Scandal: Republicans Lash Out At Acting Commisioner"]

REP. KEVIN BRADY, (R), TEXAS (from congressional hearing): I'm told you're a decent person. So, are you serious about getting to the truth?

DANNY WERFEL, IRS ACTING COMMISSIONER: Absolutely, absolutely-

BRADY: Are you serious about-

WERFEL: And I'm serious about doing it-

BRADY: Restoring the integrity of the IRS?

WERFEL: I'm serious about getting to the truth, and I'm serious about doing it consistent with the rule of law and procedure.

REP. PAUL RYAN, (R), WISCONSIN: Okay – just don't forget, you work for the taxpayer. It's not the other way around.

MASON: That was Congressman Paul Ryan weighing in. Democrats claim the Treasury's investigation was one-sided.

-- Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter.