There are no facts anywhere in this land!


Bill O’Reilly just keeps pimping those trips to the White House: Did former IRS head Douglas Shulman visit the White House 157 times?

That’s what the Daily Caller reported last Thursday. The site’s latest fraudulent report appeared beneath this summary:

“Publicly released records show that embattled former IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman visited the White House at least 157 times during the Obama administration, more recorded visits than even the most trusted members of the president’s Cabinet.”

Early in his hapless report, the Caller’s hapless Vince Coglianese asserted that “the scope of Shulman’s White House visits...strongly suggests coordination by White House officials in the campaign against the president’s political opponents.”

As you continue reading, it soon becomes clear that Coglianese doesn’t know how many times Shulman went to the White House. But so what? Last Thursday night, Fox News went wild with his thrilling new claim. At 8 PM, the channel’s prime-time program block began with this presentation:
O’REILLY (5/30/13): The former IRS Chief under President Bush says he did his job without White House interference.

But listen to this—the IRS Commissioner under President Obama visited the White House an astounding 157 times. Is this the smoking gun in the IRS scandal? We will have a special report.
All night long, O’Reilly, Hannity and Van Susteren pounded away at this deeply troubling report. Commissioner Shulman visited the White House 157 times! It must have been about the way the IRS slimed the Tea Party!

The next day, the Atlantic’s Garance Franke-Ruta largely debunked this thrilling report. Her piece appeared beneath these headlines:

"The Fake Story About the IRS Commissioner and the White House/White House records show Douglas Shulman signed in for 11 visits, not 157, between 2009 and 2012."

What made the Daily Caller story “fake?” Franke-Ruta detailed two groaning problems with the exciting new story.

For one thing, the vast majority of the meetings in question did not take place at the White House—at “the president’s home,” to quote the Caller. At least 115 of the meetings in question took place at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, which isn’t part of the White House and isn’t “the president’s home.”

That said, Franke-Ruta described a much larger second problem. The Daily Caller presented no evidence that Shulman attended the meetings in question. In fact, the Caller had gone through lists of people who were cleared to attend certain meetings, not those who had actually appeared.

For many regular task force meetings, pro-forma lists of names are automatically cleared, whether the people in question plan to attend or not. After reviewing sign-in records, Franke-Ruta could only prove that Shulman had attended eleven of the meetings in question.

Franke-Ruta explains:
FRANKE-RUTA (5/31/13): [J]ust 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...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.
Franke-Ruta doesn’t know how many meetings Shulman attended, though it could have been as few at eleven. But that’s the point—the Daily Caller and Bill O’Reilly don’t know either! Beyond that, the vast majority of the meetings in question weren’t held at the White House, which is “the president’s home.”

Last Thursday night, O’Reilly, Hannity and Van Susteren pimped this bullshit all night. The very next day, Franke-Ruta blew their story apart.

But in this country, there are no facts. Beyond that, there are no ranking fact-checkers willing to stand up to Fox. Here’s the way Bill O’Reilly opened his program last night:
O’REILLY (6/3/13): Is the IRS scandal like Watergate? That is the subject of this evening's Talking Points Memo.

First off, a clarification—Talking Points is not linking the IRS scandal to the White House. We are not implying, insinuating, hinting or doing anything else other than reporting the facts.

And so far we have been dead on. Last week we told you that former IRS Chief Douglas Shulman visited the White House 157 times, far more than any other department head. And it wasn't even close. Logically, we asked the White House to explain those meetings with whom did Mr. Shulman chat and what was the subject on all 157 occasions?

Any honest reporter would ask that question and the White House should provide the answer immediately. Incredibly before my analysis last Thursday there were no mentions last week of Mr. Shulman's abundant visits to the White House on CNN, on ABC, on CBS, or on NBC. None, nada, zip.

That is what's called a news blackout. Because everybody knows the IRS is under scrutiny for admitting it targeted conservative groups and individuals. So if the IRS boss visits the White House 157 times, that's a big story.
O’Reilly went on to say, “We could be repeating history.” He then reviewed the basic history of the Watergate break-in.

After that, O'Reilly brought out brought out the clueless, uncaring Bob Woodward. The sleuth embarrassed himself once again, this time saying this:
WOODWARD (6/3/13): Clearly in the pipeline lots of people knew some of this or should know it and I agree, this needs to be investigated. But you know who should lead the investigation? President Obama. And the White House put out his version of all of these things. I have found in recent weeks they still respond to questions. You say they aren't answering this question about the 157 visits by the IRS commissioner. They should. They should get on top of this story.
Woodward didn’t seem to be familiar with Franke-Ruta’s report.

There are no facts in this country. Nor are there any major press organs devoted to defending the need for facts. The happy children at MSNBC have completely ignored this story—refusing to fight, as is their wont. Nor did the major Sunday programs attempt to clarify this matter.

On Reliable Sources, Howard Kurtz offered a very murky, very fuzzy account of this problem. For unknown reasons, the Washington Post's Greg Sargent praised Kurtz and the Washington Post's Dana Milbank for their work on this matter, which was extremely bad. (We saw no sign that either fellow had read Franke-Ruta's report.)

There are no facts in this country! And by the way, Glenn Kessler will never discuss this latest con at his Washington Post Fact-Checker site. If things run true to form, neither will the likeable children at The One True Liberal Channel.

They are too busy letting us know about the legalization of marijuana—pot, grass. For unknown reasons, they don't seem to have a whole lot of fight.

On Fox, millions of voters were getting conned again last night. There are no facts, and no ranking defenders of fact, anywhere in this sad land.

Extra credit for children who finish early: Today's word problem:

How long will it be before Bob Woodward goes to work for Tucker Carlson? Use the metric system. Discuss.


  1. Bob is absolutely right. In addition to the excellent points he makes, we should note that it was only natural that the IRS be deeply involved in drafting the Health Reform act, because the IRS will have a major role in the administration of this new law.

    Also, a lot of people work in the White House. At one point, an acquaintance of mine worked in the White House. She was a minor functionary in some Department. Nevertheless, anyone who met at her office would be properly listed as "visiting the White House."

    1. As usual, you completely miss the point.

      Bob isn't arguing about the number of visits, he's documenting once again the total complete incompetence of our highly overpaid mega-rich and famous media failing miserably to establish even the most simple basic facts of a story.

  2. Sadly, even Jon Stewart got suckered in, though he at least has the excuse of being on vacation last week.

  3. At this moment I am going away to do my breakfast,
    afterward having my breakfast coming again to read additional news.

    Stop by my web-site; how can i lose weight in a week fast

  4. With havin so much content do you ever run
    into any issues of plagorism or copyright violation?

    My site has a lot of unique content I've either written myself or outsourced but it seems a lot of it is popping it up all over the web without my agreement. Do you know any techniques to help prevent content from being stolen? I'd really appreciate it.

    Here is my web site ... how to lose weight quickly

  5. What's annoying about the IRS scandal (I'm going to say, this is not even worthy of contemptuous quotes) is it's crude obviousness. Since the two tracks where Obama's White House are painfully vulnerable to criticism (Wall St. and Afghanistan) are not open to the right, it's scandal time, and the moth eaten canard of tying your rival to the IRS
    is always worth a shot; it dates back long before Nixon.
    Oh yeah, people are taking the fifth. It's an all American way to stay out of trouble, memorable to all those who followed the story of the born again Bushies grilling job applicants about abortion.
    Since Nixon is in the air, it's worth remembering the concept drilled into him by his mentor that would be the birth and death of his political life: always be on the offensive, never the defensive. That's really all the gang at MSNBC are doing. And why shouldn't they? The scandal is much like the Jaunita Broaddrick rape case: Bill Clinton raped me. When? A long long time ago, I don't even remember the date or year. Any evidence? No. Did you tell anyone? Not that can be confirmed, in fact I signed a piece of paper saying it didn't happen. Oh, do you have any political dog in this fight? None except the hard right political organizations who's events I'm appearing at.
    The defense is flummoxed. The charge is too flimsy to defended yourself from.
    So, Lindsey Graham, taking a classier tact than some others, but he still gives vent to his "gut." Again, Bob seems among those who have blocked the whole Woodward lying to the public about The Libby Case thing; but Woodward has been a joke since he punished the Hollywood Stars who wouldn't talk to him for the Belushi Book.
    The Daily Howler may have become an awfully nervous nelly. Yes, more people are watching Fox New out of the people who watch Cable TV. Which is almost nobody! I agree that this stupid, relentless pounding on the nothing machine hurt Al Gore, but there is some evidence American's have wised up; namely, ignoring every stupid birther and reelecting Obama. Remember how nervous Bob was about that? Please, find me one credible person who has not quaffed the Kool Aid and thinks there is anything to this. Fox News nuts and a few embittered progressives who will do anything to get at Obama. That's it.
    Yet, David in Ca and I do have some common ground for a change. I would LOVE LOVE LOVE a special prosector, nothing would be better to remind Americans of the moral rot and brazen degeneracy of "conservative" America than a Ken Starr Sandwich.
    Let Lindsay Graham and Mary Bono trip the light fantastic once again!
    Once more with feeling. Please.

    1. Probably you shouldn't try to post while drunk/stoned.

  6. I'll be sober tomorrow, but you'll still be too stupid/lacking in imagination to think of a handle.

  7. Yes! This private nonprofit seems to be outpacing their public and private counterparts and they don't pander to guardians, either. Click Here