• Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Subscribe
  • RSS

Douglas Shulman’s 157 Visits To The White House: Less Than Meets The Eye

White Hosue Daytime

During last weeks hearings before the Congress on the IRS scandal, one of the Congressman questioning former IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman alleged that White House Visitor Logs showed that he had visited the White House 157 times between January 2009 and November 2012 when he left office at the end of his term. Throughout the rest of the Shulman’s appearance before the Committee, he was questioned repeatedly about what the purpose of his visits were and Shulman answered, quite understandably, that he cannot really remember off the top of his head the details of all of his meetings at the White House. Shulman did testify that he imagined that a good number of his  meetings would have been concerned with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and the role that the Internal Revenue Service will play in that process. Shulman also testified that the only truly memorable visit he could recall at the time was attending the White House Easter Egg Roll with his children, a response that didn’t exactly sit well with Republican members of the Committee.

Ever since that story, there’s been a constant theme on the right at these visits somehow constitute proof that the White House and/or the Obama campaign was directing the IRS in politically targeting conservative groups who applied for 501(c)(4) status. After all, their argument goes, why else would the IRS Commissioner visit the White House that much, indeed allegedly far more than many Cabinet Department heads over the same period of time? The fact that Shulman has testified, without any evidence to contradict him, that he was unaware of what was going on in the 501(c)(4) processing office until after it had ended doesn’t seem to matter to people making this argument. Personally, I never really saw much significance in these visitor log reports. After all, thousands of people visit the White House every month and most of them never see the President. Instead, they’re meeting with lower level staffers. Presumably, I thought, that’s what was happening with Shulman.

The Atlantic’s Garance Franke-Ruta decided to look into the details behind those visitor logs and, not surprisingly, found there was much less there than met the eye:

[T]he public meeting schedules available for review to any media outlet show that very thing: Shulman was cleared primarily to meet with administration staffers involved in implementation of the health-care reform bill. He was cleared 40 times to meet with Obama’s director of the Office of Health Reform, and a further 80 times for the biweekly health reform deputies meetings and others set up by aides involved with the health-care law implementation efforts. That’s 76 percent of his planned White House visits just there, before you even add in all the meetings with Office of Management and Budget personnel also involved in health reform.

Complicating the picture is the fact that just because a meeting was scheduled and Shulman was cleared to attend it does not mean that he actually went. Routine events like the biweekly health-care deputies meeting would have had a standing list of people cleared to attend, people whose White House appointments would have been logged and forwarded to the check-in gate. But there is no time of arrival information in the records to confirm that Shulman actually signed in and went to these standing meetings.

Indeed, of the 157 events Shulman was cleared to attend, White House records only provide time of arrival information — confirming that he actually went to them — for 11 events over the 2009-2012 period, and time of departure information for only six appointments. According to the White House records, Shulman signed in twice in 2009, five times in 2010, twice in 2011, and twice in 2012. That does not mean that he did not go to other meetings, only that the White House records do not show he went to the 157 meetings he was granted Secret Service clearance to attend.

So, for those 157 meetings on the record, we have 146 where Shulman was cleared for access but for which we don’t have official confirmation that he actually showed up and checked in at the White House Gates. Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean that Shulman didn’t attend those meetings. There could have been instances where he ended up attending by phone because he was unable to get away from the office, and there could have been others where his arrival was not properly noted in the records. It is hard to believe, though, that there would be 146 times when his arrival was not properly noted by whomever happened to be in charge of checking guests in that particular day. That would indicate a level of failure in White House security and record keeping that quite simply doesn’t comport with reality. So, we’ve got two points that a simple check of the records would have shown anyone who looked. First, Shulman was quite simply not present at the White House all 157 times his name appears in the logs, and second, other records contemporaneous with the logs show that when Shulman was at the White House the meetings were most with middle and lower level staffers regarding implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

Franke-Ruta’s investigation didn’t stop there, though, and what was found casts considerable doubt on any theory that there was something nefarious about Shulman’s visits to the White House:

The real problem with combing through the White House visitor logs is that they were a system designed for Secret Service clearance and White House security, not as comprehensive means of documenting every visitor to the White House, high to low. They miss the top end and some of the social end of people visiting the White House — people who are cleared through separate processes designed to protect presidential security other than getting swiped in at the front gate for an appointment.

(…)

The lay reader understands the White House to be the big white mansion with the columns and the Oval Office and the West Wing and the presidential family living in residence. The Daily Caller talked about visits to “the president’s home.” But the White House visitors’ records cover the entire White House complex — the big famous white building, along with the freestanding Eisenhower Executive Office Building inside the gated compound and the New Executive Office Building, which is up 17th Street and outside the White House gates.

The vast majority of Shulman’s scheduled meetings were to take place in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building — 115 of them. Another three were slated for the NEOB. That leaves just 25 percent of the meetings in the White House itself, or on its South Lawn.

Investor’s Business Daily accused Shulman of having scurried “to the West Wing more than 100 times” in the piece “IRS Chief’s 118 White House Visits Must Be Explained.” But the publicly available data shows that the assertion of more than 100 West Wing visits is plainly wrong.

Franke-Ruta has a detailed listing of all of the visits for which Shulman’s name shows up in the logs that I commend to your attention, and the data backs up the conclusions the piece reaches. Yes, it’s true that Douglas Shulman’s name shows up some 157 times in the White House visitor logs, however we can only say for sure that he was physically present on the White House campus 11 of those 157 instances, less than ten percent of the listed instances. As noted above, it’s still possible he took part in meetings attached to the remaining 146 visits via telephone, or that he appeared on some occasions but was not properly logged in, however we can’t tell that for sure from the records. We know from other records that the primary purpose of  virtually all of these meetings was related to issues dealing with the PPACA. Therefore, the suggestions and innuendos being thrown around by conservatives “journalists” and commentators simply don’t appear to have a basis in reality. Finally, if the IRS Commissioner, who was appointed by a Republican in 2008, was really engaged in a political conspiracy with the White House, does any rational person think they’d have him noting all those visits to the White House?

Linking to Franke-Ruta’s piece, John Marshall makes this point about what this story tells us about certain conservative journalists:

Now, this isn’t an indictment of conservative journalists. There are so many great ones like Byron York or my friend Eli Lake. But as a group, the standards of most institutional right wing journalism are just so appallingly bad that their stories simply aren’t credible. (I’d note that Lake works at either nonpartisan or slightly-progressive leaning pub.) Of course there are exceptions like the Menendez phony escort story. Which, wait, that ended up being a hoax enabled by appalling shoddy reporting standards. Again, if you wonder why conservative scandal mongers can’t have nice things … look at the conservative media.

It’s worth noting, of course, that the Menendez story originated, and was pushed relentlessly by, The Daily Caller, which has made a name for itself since its founding by pushing several different stories like this that ultimately turn out to be much about nothing. Even at there, though, there are individual reporters/columnists that are doing actual work worth paying attention to, such as Matt Lewis who does a great and credible job of covering politics in general and the battles inside the conservative movement in particular. The journalists that Marshall mentions, who work for the Washington Examiner and The Daily Beast respectively are more examples, and there are others such as Robert Costa at National Review, all of whom do a very good job at what they do. What this story reveals, though, is simple laziness on the part of The Daily Caller and the other outlets that ran with it. There was nothing preventing any of those organizations from doing the same research that Franke-Ruta did and finding that there was far less to the “157 visits” meme than met the eye. One can only assume that this shoe-leather journalism wasn’t done because it was easier to just run with the sensationalized headline, and because the primary mission behind going with the story that was ideological rather than aimed at finding out the truth. In this respect, The Daily Caller has much in comment with the various Brietbart sites, which have declined even futher in quality in the nearly fifteen months since the death of their founder. Increasingly, though two sites are becoming the leading voices of conservative “journalism,” and the fact that they’re basically jokes with low standards means that conservative journalism as a whole is suffering. Do the actual work, guys, or nobody is going to take you seriously.

Update: And, perhaps not surprisingly, The Daily Caller is using this to attack the White House for allegedly not keeping proper visitor logs.

Related Posts:

About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Matt Bernius says:

    Great summary Doug. I meant to check in on this story after Jenos posted something about it on another thread here.

    Again, this is indicative of a broader theme we’ve seen in conservative coverage of the TIGTA Audit — the assumption is that there is no credible explanation for why decisions were made other than intentional bias and a vast-left-wing-conspiracy against the Tea Party.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 4

  2. @Matt Bernius:

    I tend to agree, but I also wouldn’t discount the influence of pure laziness. Once they found the 157 visits they had their smoking gun and didn’t feel like they needed to dig any further. That, combined with the need to be first to publish in a web-based world probably explains a lot of it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 3

  3. Matt Bernius says:

    BTW, to be somewhat fair to conservative journalists, I’d argue that the vast majority of journalists covering the TIGTA audit have done pretty lazy work. There are a number of important stories to be told about the audit. Very few of them have anything to do with Issa’s witch hunt.

    As a slightly broader note, it seems to me that Benghazi + IRS has become the right wing’s answer to Florida in 2000, and Ohio in 2004.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  4. @Matt Bernius:

    I don’t hold much grief for a lot of the traditional media either to be honest, especially the cable news side of it. Interesting, though, that the person who actually did the legwork here writes for a print publication (and yes The Atlantic still does have a print publication) that’s been around since 1857

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Finally, if the IRS Commissioner, who was appointed by a Republican in 2008, was really engaged in a political conspiracy with the White House, does any rational person think they’d have him noting all those visits to the White House?

    I think I have found the problem here.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 26 Thumb down 2

  6. Matt Bernius says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    . Once they found the 157 visits they had their smoking gun and didn’t feel like they needed to dig any further. That, combined with the need to be first to publish in a web-based world probably explains a lot of it.

    Completely agree on the second point. And the fact is once one conservative outlet went with the story, it started to move around the echo chamber.

    The first point is worth unpacking more. For as much as conservatives like to talk about a clearly biased liberal press, they seem to have no issues reproducing exactly what they critique. I don’t think it was laziness that made them stop at the smoking gun — it was a fear of discovering that there was no story there.

    The one thing that a *professional journalist* is supposed to do (in theory) is follow the story no matter where it leads. The problem is that isn’t good for a style of reporting where the finger is on the scale for one side or the other. The further you follow a story like this, the great possibility that it’s going to contradict your original beliefs. That doesn’t work in the partisan press. Or rather, it doesn’t sell.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  7. Do the actual work, guys, or nobody is going to take you seriously.

    I wish……

    It seems like there’s a diminishing demographic that is more than eager to eat this stuff up. And they still number in the millions.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  8. wr says:

    @Doug Mataconis: “I also wouldn’t discount the influence of pure laziness. Once they found the 157 visits they had their smoking gun and didn’t feel like they needed to dig any further. ”

    I suspect it’s more like the editorial philosophy of the old Weekly World News. I remember hearing the EIC interviewed once, and he said that they’d never knowingly publish a false story… but they certainly didn’t “believe in researching a good story out of existence.”

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 0

  9. @wr:

    I’m guessing Tucker Carlson has that quote framed over his desk

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0

  10. Matt Bernius says:

    Now — btw — for all I complain about this, I need to again say that the Daily Caller and company are representative of a much longer running and historic style of journalism. The American press, from the revolutionary period to the early 20th century, was always a partisan press.

    So to some degree — for better or worse — the type of slower, longer form journalism practiced by writers at The Atlantic is far more the exception than the rule.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  11. Matt Bernius says:

    @wr: Thank you so much for that quote!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  12. michael reynolds says:

    Many long years ago I used to work for a DC law firm as a law library grunt. My particular gig was locating and picking up documents from around the city which often meant going to the EOB.

    In other words, by the standards of this story, I was pretty much hanging out with Richard Nixon all during Watergate.

    Me and Dick. We were tight.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 29 Thumb down 0

  13. Sam Malone says:

    “…without any evidence to contradict him…”

    If facts mattered we never would have invaded and occupied Iraq.
    If facts mattered we never would have heard of Death Panels.
    If facts mattered we never would have had to endure the Birth Certificate nonsense.
    If facts mattered John McCain would be censured for giving aid and comfort to terrorists.
    If you have no ideas…and nothing really to contribute…then you rely on BS.
    Republicanists are totally reliant on BS.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2

  14. Matt Bernius says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Me and Dick. We were tight.

    Then you met you lovely, talented and uber-patient wife.

    [See what I did there?]

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  15. @michael reynolds:

    I knew it, I just knew it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  16. Jr says:

    And they wonder why no gives a crap about the IRS scandal…………..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  17. Anderson says:

    “Daily Caller.” All you need to know before clicking elsewhere.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  18. gVOR08 says:

    I’ve read that the National Inquirer has a motto – never question a good story to death. Once the lady has said her husband had been abducted by space aliens, you’ve got a story. Quit. Don’t ask any silly questions about evidence or witnesses. At 157 visits, the Daily Caller had a story.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  19. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @michael reynolds: AHAH!!!! The missing 2 minutes were just the tip of the iceberg! I knew it!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  20. Septimius says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Ever since that story, there’s been a constant theme on the right at these visits somehow constitute proof that the White House and/or the Obama campaign was directing the IRS in politically targeting conservative groups who applied for 501(c)(4) status.

    Care to provide some links showing this “constant theme” among conservative media accusing the White House and/or Obama campaign of directing the IRS’s political targeting? Or, might that require some actual work.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 18

  21. Paul L. says:

    Shocker Doug repeats CAP/Media Matters/TPM talking point
    @OzarkHillbilly:

    the IRS Commissioner, who was appointed by a Republican in 2008

    I love progressives cling to Douglas Shulman being appointed by Bush and ignore the fact that he was a candidate that the Democrat controlled Senate would confirm.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 25

  22. stonetools says:

    Increasingly, though two sites are becoming the leading voices of conservative “journalism,” and the fact that they’re basically jokes with low standards means that conservative journalism as a whole is suffering. Do the actual work, guys, or nobody is going to take you seriously.

    Doug, you assume they want to be taken seriously. You probably know in your heart that they don’t. They just want to create scandals on demand to serve up to the slavering right wing masses who will believe anything about the usurping Kenyan ni#$%r the White House.
    What we are seeing is the Breitbartization or Malkinization of the conservative media. Even respectable older publications like the National Review and the Weekly Standard are devolving to the level of Brietbart, Hot Air , and the Daily Caller. (The only exception-the Wall Street Journal). Otherwise, if you want conservative, yet critical journalism , you have to go to the “liberal” publications like the NYT, the Washington Post, and Slate. Sad, really.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2

  23. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Septimius:

    Care to provide some links showing this “constant theme” among conservative media accusing the White House and/or Obama campaign of directing the IRS’s political targeting? Or, might that require some actual work.

    They have these things called “Newspapers”. Kinda quaint, but an effective means of distributing information. You could try reading one, any of them, and you would soon come across one of those stories. Or would that be too much like work?

    OK. In that case just watch Bill O’Reilly.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  24. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Paul L.:

    I love progressives cling to Douglas Shulman being appointed by Bush

    I love how Paul just totally ignores what I was saying and tries to put words in my mouth that were never uttered. But as I said before, there is a lack of sane people on the right. That is why FOX and the Daily Caller are so successful.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  25. Matt Bernius says:

    @Septimius:
    Really….

    Here’s a start of that list after a little googling. I haven’t event started at the Daily Caller, Red State, or any of the major bloggers…

    But move along, no one in conservative media is talking about a connection….

    http://www.mediaite.com/tv/bill-oreilly-rails-irs-commishs-157-white-house-visits-a-smoking-gun/
    http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/daily/2013/05/28/the_media_will_not_turn_on_obama
    http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/daily/2013/05/20/everyone_gets_the_limbaugh_theorem_as_the_irs_scandal_unfolds_but_they_re_missing_the_purpose_of_obama_s_strategic_detachment
    http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2013/05/10/Flashback-2009-auditing-political-enemies
    http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2013/05/10/Flashback-2009-auditing-political-enemies
    http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2013/05/28/Former-IRS-Head-Shulman-Visited-Obama-White-House-118-Times-His-Predecessor-Visited-Bush-White-House-Once
    http://www.theblaze.com/contributions/the-irs-scandal-is-much-worse-than-anyone-realizes/
    http://www.wnd.com/2013/05/was-i-obama-tax-enemy-no-1/
    http://www.wnd.com/2012/08/political-use-of-the-irs-is-growing/
    http://www.realclearmarkets.com/articles/2013/05/25/the_dots_already_lead_to_obama_in_the_irs_scandal__100345.html (originally published at the Business Insider)
    http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/05/30/how-high-up-did-it-go-gop-lawmaker-isnt-buying-rogue-agents-defense-in-irs-scandal/

    Oh… or wait, by “constant theme” did you mean LITERALLY the only thing they were talking about. Because, surely, someone like you would never parse words at that level in order to win an argument, would they?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 1

  26. Matt Bernius says:
  27. Rafer Janders says:

    @Septimius:

    Well, Septimius, any comment? Or is replying to Matt too much, you know, actual work?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1

  28. Matt Bernius says:

    @Rafer Janders:
    There’s no need for him to rush.

    Given past experience, I’m sure that he can find at least one thing I got wrong… which of course invalidates my entire argument.

    Right now I’m betting it will have something to do with the fact that there are “left wing” sites included in that Google search. Or perhaps that multiple right wing websites are running editorials by the same person who has been complaining that Obama is targeting him (though I’m not sure how that invalidates the bigger point).

    Or perhaps it will be that most of these things are simply right wing sites reporting on “the news.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  29. @Paul L.:

    Shocker Doug repeats CAP/Media Matters/TPM talking point

    Well….that would be a shocker…..

    Doug doesn’t repeat liberal talking points. He eats them for breakfast.

    @Matt Bernius: HAHAHAHAHAHA. That was funny.

    Of course, I suspect it was all for naught. I don’t think that was a serious request. It was set-up for the punchline:

    Or, might that require some actual work.

    (Oooooh….burn!)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  30. wr says:

    @Doug Mataconis: “I’m guessing Tucker Carlson has that quote framed over his desk ”

    Well, it’s that or Jon Stewart calling him a dick.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  31. Woody says:

    Oh, heck, whether or not a story is actually true is rarely the point for some outlets, no?

    • Getting linked from all over the internet
    • Getting a reference on the ‘A’ level (Fox News, Rush, maybe some prominent local conservative radio jocks)
    • Anyone correcting the piece simply allows these outlets to scream persecution, further highlighting their brand in the rightwing marketplace

    By this standard, quite a success, I’d say.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  32. stonetools says:

    There was actually a time that I would watch Tucker Carlson. That was a long time ago. Pity.
    Also too, we may never see Septimus again.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  33. Jeremy R says:

    This is a good example of how, at least when it comes to transparency efforts from the executive branch, no good turn goes unpunished. You take the unprecedented step of making the white house visitor logs publicly accessible and easily searchable on the internet, and all it does is feed the right-wing lazy-scandal-mill with 100 stories where they search for some hated name and scream conspiracy. Sometimes it bleeds into the mainstream press too, like when the Right went nuts over finding William Ayers and Jeremiah Wright in the tour logs, and even though it would have been entirely meaningless if they were actually two of their favorite boogeymen, they weren’t even the same people.

    In previous admins, this sort of information was often carefully guarded. For example, the Bush Era Energy Task force, chaired by VP Cheney and chock full of coal & oil lobbyists and executives. Environmental groups tried for years to get logs of attendees and access to the task force’s secret records, but all FOIA requests and lawsuits were rebuffed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  34. jukeboxgrad says:

    woody:

    Oh, heck, whether or not a story is actually true is rarely the point for some outlets, no?

    Republicans have reached the point of admitting candidly that they don’t care “whether or not a story is actually true.” Fresh example from a real wingnut commenter at a real wingnut site (link):

    of course we’re not [here for facts]. For myself I see no shame in that. Look what the left was capable of once it shed its sense of shame.
    No, the goal here is clear: use the appearance of scandal to gain the offensive. We’re doing that.
    You want to whine about facts now because you’ve got few other options. That’s both understandable and amusing.

    I love that last part: ‘you losers, all you have on your side is the truth.’

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  35. Hal 10000 says:

    The whole IRS commissioner visited the White house thing never did make any sense. Why would he need to go 157 times? That’s more than the number of Tea Party groups that got queried. Why would he need to meet with the President at all? I thought these sort of things involved some chicago heavy going into the IRS chief’s office, leaning over his desk and pointing at the groups to target. EVEN IF you assume Obama was doing something nefarious, he wouldn’t be so stupid as to make it that obvious.

    The second I saw this, I knew it was BS. Nice to have it confirmed by a journalist who went to the effort of looking something up.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  36. anjin-san says:

    @ Rafer Janders

    No worries, Septimius will absorb this humiliation and live to rant another day.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  37. Jeremy R says:

    You too can be a RW-news-journalist! Just go here:
    http://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/disclosures/visitor-records

    Spend 30 seconds thinking of some controversial names or names that are currently in the news, and then just click the search icon! If you get a hit, don’t bother making any phone calls to determe if it’s the really the actual person in question, instead now you get to start in on writing your scoop. Pitch it to the Daily Caller or the Blaze and there will be plenty of Drudge sirens in your future!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  38. mantis says:

    @Matt Bernius:

    There’s no need for him to rush.

    Well, sure. It takes a little while to move those goalposts.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  39. Todd says:

    I think this is relevant to the leak story discussions from the other day. If we have people out there who call themselves “journalists”, but don’t seem to abide by any journalistic standards, do they deserve the same levels of protection/deference as actual journalists?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  40. stonetools says:

    @Todd:

    If we have people out there who call themselves “journalists”, but don’t seem to abide by any journalistic standards, do they deserve the same levels of protection/deference as actual journalists?

    Indeed. If folks like Carlson, O’Reilly, and Malkin are journalists, hasn’t the term lost all meaning? In the other thread I argued for a tight definition of “journalist”, limiting it to “investigative reporters”. Maybe it should be “investigative reporters who follow certain standards”.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  41. al-Ameda says:

    @Paul L.:

    I love progressives cling to Douglas Shulman being appointed by Bush and ignore the fact that he was a candidate that the Democrat controlled Senate would confirm.

    I love it that Schulman was the guy who called off the request for extra security at Benghazi. The scandals just keep on coming.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  42. MarkedMan says:

    Near the end of his post Doug lists some writers at these right wing websites that he believes have higher journalistic standards and are worth listening to. Fair enough, but why should anyone who doesn’t already hold this opinion bother to sift through the sh*t to find these diamonds? Republican media is a stinking sewer and truly not worth a click.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 3

  43. Xenos says:

    If any of these journalists cared about facts they could do some research on how Shulman got the job in the first place – he was a pretty non-political technocrat who had the expertise to supervise the desperately needed updates to the IRS information systems. Both sides of the aisle were happy to have him appointed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  44. Jenos Idanian says:

    This whole episode has a great deal of value in that it serves as a control.

    It starts out as an odd fact that seems to support the worst possible interpretation of other events. However, with just a little effort, the Obama administration can readily explain it and dismiss the more sinister implications. Well done.

    This is what they can do when they don’t have something to hide.

    On the other hand, there’s the rather interesting story of how Eric Holder personally signed off on the warrant application for Fox News’ James Rosen, where Holder declared that Rosen was a suspected co-conspirator and flight risk, and at least strongly inferred that Rosen would face charges. Then, when asked about it later, denied any knowledge of the Rosen investigation.

    And both statements were made under penalty of perjury.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 7

  45. gVOR08 says:

    @Jenos Idanian: I love the idea that the Daily Caller was shilling for the administration. And people say conservatives have no imagination.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  46. Jenos Idanian says:

    @gVOR08: Sigh… I keep forgetting that I’m dealing with morons of ill will.

    “Control” as in the term from experiments. This example gives us a data point for how quickly the Obama administration can respond to a story that have negative connotations, but an innocent explanation.

    In this context, “control” doesn’t mean that there was any kind of collusion between TheDC and the White House. That would be astonishing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  47. Rob in CT says:

    Three words: The Daily Caller.

    That’s all you needed to know.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  48. Jodie Angela says:

    OK, we have 157 cleared scheduled visits to the White House – 157 times more than his predecessor. I guess we’ll take the word of the White House that the majority of the visits were about implementation of the ACA. That would be the same White House that tells us that the targeting of Conservatives was the work of a few rogue Cincinnati staffers, who managed to coordinate the IRS, FBI, OSHA, and ATF in harassing True the Vote in Texas. Got it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  49. Oral Green says:

    This story about the IRS commissioner visiting the White House times in complete malarkey!

    http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/05/the-fake-story-about-the-irs-commissioner-and-the-white-house/276399/

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1