How government bureaucrats are like the media

Matthew Hoy
By Matthew Hoy on May 13, 2013

This morning's "Morning Jolt" e-newsletter written by National Review's Jim Geraghty has some discussion of the Obama administration scandal du jour that the IRS targeted conservative groups with "Tea Party" and "Patriot" in their names for extra harrassment scrutiny when filing for tax-exempt status. We don't yet know who exactly knew what and when. There's no evidence that President Obama, or even anyone in the White House, gave direction to the IRS to take a harder look at these groups. But as Geraghty notes, they don't always have to.

One point to keep in mind: sometimes no organizational boss has to explicitly say that there’s a great incentive to target a particular political foe. Sometimes these sorts of illegal and unjust incentives simply resonate throughout the culture of an organization. If everyone within a particular office culture (i.e., Internal Revenue Service employees) believes that a particular group is particularly bad (conservatives) and another group is good (liberals), there will be enormous psychological incentives to pursue the “bad” groups, both out of personal beliefs and out of reinforcing groupthink.

There’s a simple, direct method for changing the culture, of course: fire anybody involved.

This is the same way media bias works in the vast majority of newsrooms across the country. It's not that they conspire with one another or get orders from on high. They all just think the same way.

The Los Angeles Times  and The New York Times have each provided excellent case studies of this over the past couple of days.

As Mark Steyn noted in a weekend column regarding how the media has assiduously avoided covering Benghazi:

The dying Los Angeles Times reported this story on its home page (as a sidebar to "Thirteen Great Tacos In Southern California") under the headline: "Partisan Politics Dominates House Benghazi Hearing." In fact, everyone in this story is a Democrat or a career civil servant. Chris Stevens was the poster boy for Obama's view of the Arab Spring; he agreed with the president on everything that mattered.

The Los Angeles Times isn't alone in this attitude toward the Benghazi story, but most news outlets do a little better in hiding their disdain.

Earlier today, Abortion "doctor" Kermit Gosnell became convicted child murderer Kermit Gosnell as he was convicted on 3 counts of killing newborns by cutting their spinal cords with scissors. The story from the so-called Paper of Record is a case study in how pro-abortion (not pro-choice) reporters must torture language to hide obvious truths.

The verdict came after a five-week trial in which the prosecution and the defense battled over whether the fetuses Dr. Gosnell was charged with killing were alive when they were removed from their mothers.

The English language has a multitude of words for just about everything--and if it doesn't, it will make one up at a ginormous rate. The word for "fetuses ... removed from their mothers" is "baby." Not only is it more accurate. It saves a lot of typing.


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May 2013



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