Last night, Republican Congressman Jim Jordan appeared on On The Record where he announced, “We think” that then-Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner was aware that an IRS audit had exposed the supposedly wrongful investigation of Tea Party groups long before he said he did. The Washington Post did a great job of debunking this claim today. But not only did host Greta Van Susteren unquestioningly promote it, she acted as though Republicans have gone too easy on Geithner and suggested ways of prosecuting him more aggressively.
In a Fox News “alert,” Van Susteren began the segment by announcing, “New documents exposing what top IRS and Treasury officials knew about the IRS targeting scandal and exposing when they knew it.” But that's not quite true.
At least one of those “new documents” was a memo that, Jordan said, proves “the top people at the IRS were given a heads up (that IRS had supposedly improperly targeted Tea Party groups) when the inspector general was just starting the audit May of 2012.”
Van Susteren added, just to make sure her viewers saw the GOP point of view, “That’s five months before the 2012 election… and the second thing is that this is the phony scandal that, you know, the president’s now quite demeaning about the whole investigation.”
Van Susteren was suggesting that the top levels of the Obama administration knew the IRS was targeting the Tea Party and either ignored it or covered it up (presumably to help him win re-election) undercutting President Obama's claim, as Jordan later explained, of knowing nothing about the matter until May, 2013.
Jordan went on to say that an email referred to “a Secretary’s meeting on Monday, …held on that Monday, June 4, 2012” in which the audit was to be discussed. Jordan said:
We think also the Treasury Secretary, himself, was in that meeting. And that’s why we think, you know, this idea that you didn’t know until May of this year - you knew in June of 2012. And so don’t give us this ‘phony scandal’ stuff. Don’t give us this idea, ‘Oh, Shazam, we didn’t find out about this until Lois Lerner gave her speech and the inspector general released his audit.’ We have evidence now that shows people knew in the spring of the last year.
Had Van Susteren bothered to independently verify claims coming from a Republican partisan, as the Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler did, she might have found out what he did:
“(T)he secretary’s meeting” turns out to just be monthly bureau heads meeting. And Geithner did not attend that meeting, as his schedule shows, and as Treasury stated in a statement to The Fact Checker.
Furthermore, Kessler notes, the documents cited by Jordan do not suggest a revelation to Treasury officials of anything more than the fact that an audit was taking place. Kessler also cited testimony from Deputy Secretary Neal Wolin indicating that it is standard operating procedure (and proper) to step back and allow an Inspector General to go forward without much interaction with the department at that point in order to avoid the perception of interference. Kessler continued:
A spokesman for the (Republican-controlled) House Oversight and Government Reform Committee noted that it is unknown whether Geithner was ever briefed on what his staff learned about the IG investigation.
But Treasury officials have no recollection of discussing it with Geithner during that period. Moreover, GOP investigators have not demonstrated that Treasury officials learned anything more than the fact that there was an audit.
Kessler concluded by awarding Jordan two Pinocchios for an “unseemly” and “unsupported” allegation.
But not only did Van Susteren – the host Fox touts as a liberal balance to Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity – fail to challenge a single one of Jordan's allegations, the only challenge she made was to suggest Republicans are not going after Geithner aggressively enough. Then she offered her own ideas for doing so.
“What are you going to do?” Van Susteren asked impatiently, “This has been hard to get these documents. …We’re learning more and more.” Then, after grilling Jordan as to whether or not general counsel for the Treasury Department has been involved - and being informed that it is - she said, “You know what I would do? I’d refer them to the Bar. Because you know what? …Let the Bar do an investigation, too, to see if there’s anything wrong. Because I tell you, when the Bar’s all over you? I’d rather have the police chase me down than the Bar."
“Great idea! Great idea!” Jordan enthused.
But Van Susteren had more helpful suggestions: “Subpoena Geithner. …Will the Speaker go with subpoenaing him? And you ask him why he didn’t say it before? …I would actually comb his prior testimony to see if he should have answered that question specifically… under oath.”
How many Pinocchios should Fox News be awarded for their "fair and balanced" charade? Heck, for putting "news" in their name at all instead of "GOP TV"?
My guess is that her hubby is far more political than she is. He’s much closer to the Clintons. If you want some good reading, google Castano Litigation Group. Coale was the lead lawyer in Clinton’s gun legislation movement back in 2000. His law partner back then was Hillary’s brother.
I don’t think Greta cares one way or the other if people call her a liberal, or a conservative. Why? I don’t think she really cares that much about party affiliation, and I think she is doing what she has to do in order to keep her gig at FOX. She has quoted her mom several times by saying, Sometimes you have to play the cards you’re dealt. Not sure of the exact wording.
It will indeed be interesting to see what she does if Hillary runs. Greta’s a strong feminist, admires and favors women politicians of any political flavor. She was only just starting to do full-time politics on her show towards the end of the primary season in 2008, so her admiration for HRC didn’t really factor into it.
As for Zimmerman— important to remember she was a defense lawyer, so she’s reflexively generally on that side of any legal case at least initially. Add in that the GOPers and other right-wingers she hangs with were virulently pro-Zimmerman, the terrible reporting on that case that was widespread, and it’s no surprise she would take up that side of it.
I agree she is far better doing straight reporting. She was shockingly biased (at least to me) during the George Zimmerman trial but normally she’s not bad on legal matters.
It will be interesting to see what happens if Hillary Clinton decides to run, as I believe GVS really is somewhat close to her.
Ailes is not a dummy, either. The prime time shake-up I believe has more to do with gearing up for the 2016 elections. I’m pretty sure the GOP is very happy with the new line-up from 8-10. Hillary will definitely run.
My belief after watching her for many years is that when Fox decided to turn her show over to full-time politics, Greta was a complete political naif and was completely dependent on her producers to guide her. As a result, she’s lived totally inside the Fox echo chamber.
I don’t think she does much “research” or reading on her own, but relies on the summaries and links her producers feed her. She repeatedly reveals not hostility to but complete ignorance of factual reporting on the issues she covers.
I think her producers remain in control, but they’ve succeeded very well in molding her opinions by exposing her only to what they want her to know, and now she’s become what they were trying to create.
It’s sad and frustrating because she is a smart gal.
No doubt one of the reasons she’s happy about an earlier timeslot is that time-honored “spend time with the family thing” because of her husband’s recent cancer surgery. The rest of Fox’s revamped primetime shows are all going to have big emphasis on social media (except for O’Reilly), and that’s surely going to be part of it for her show.
She also really likes “going out in the field” to do reporting segments and generally does a pretty good job of it, and my guess is there’ll be more of that since it’s a better fit with a 7:00 PM timeslot than her current harsh, non-stop anti-Obama anti-goverment ranting. IOW, I bet the show will lighten up at least a little bit.
OTOH, I didn’t think she’d be the one to take the 7:00 PM timeslot, so what do i know!
“They give us what we need to succeed and they help us when we need them. Without the backup you fail. With backup from management, you have a chance to be very successful and have a successful show. Even at bad times on the show if management decides to help, it rescues a show. If not, you are finished.”
Greta wrote that she thought management left Paula Zahn out to dry and that they could have helped her to succeed. Even though FOX renewed Greta’s contract, I feel the same has happened to her show at 10:00. Now that her show has moved to the 7:00 time slot, maybe there will be a difference. I’m very curious to see what the “challenge” is that she wrote about on her blog about her and the OTR staff redesigning the show.
What Ellen points out in this blog post is why I don’t watch the show anymore. So, are we to believe that the only new developments that are newsworthy are from GOP congressional narratives? Really?? Republicans are not going to subpoena Geithner because it has already been established that groups on the left were subjected to identical treatment by the IRS. Why didn’t Greta bring this fact into play? I doubt is it due to ignorance on her part. Her producers need to “stick a fork into this IRS controversy.”
When you say that, it makes it seem as if things like her Jim Jordan segment are some sort of departure from normal that reveal her real sympathies.
In fact, her program is the most relentlessly and single-mindedly partisan on the network. Hannity, O’Reilly and all the rest frequently have actual liberal or at least Democratic guests who get to present their views, even if they’re ridiculed for them.
Greta almost never does. She never even has on the ostensible Fox house liberals on the Fox payroll.
Really? It’s come that far- All I have to do is say the name, and the rest of the joke writes itself. That’s when you know what your reputation and your legacy both are, that all people need is your name, and the name of anyone else involved in the story.