President Barack Obama called the targeting of conservatives by the IRS “outrageous” at Monday’s joint press conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron, and vowed to “make sure that we find out exactly what happened on this,” according to The New York Times. But if the allegations of a St. Louis reporter have any merit at all, he should begin his investigation at the White House rather than the Treasury Building.
KMOV Channel 4 reporter Larry Conners conducted a person-to-person interview with the president in Washington during his re-election campaign. Especially noteworthy was Conners’ question concerning the first family’s never-ending taxpayer funded vacations:
“The economy is a big issue and concern for folks. I mean, the unemployment, trying to make ends meet, gas prices, food prices going up,” Conners began. “Some of our viewers are complaining, they get frustrated, even angered, when they see the first family jetting around, different vacations and so forth, sometimes maybe they think under color of state business and that you’re out of touch, that you don’t really know what they’re experiencing right now.”
Obama chose not to respond. “Well, I don’t know how many viewers you’re talking about that say that.”
When it became clear that Conners wasn’t going to let it go, Obama first dismissed it, saying, “I hear from all kinds of viewers about everything.” He then gave a “non-answer answer”:
“But the fact of the matter is, I think if you look at my track record, I’m raising a family here. When we travel, we got to travel through Secret Service, and Air Force One, that’s not my choice. I think most folks understand how hard I work and how hard this administration is working on behalf of the American people.”
After the president’s press conference Monday, Conners posted the following on his Facebook page:
Shortly after I did my April 2012 interview with President Obama, my wife, friends and some viewers suggested that I might need to watch out for the IRS. I don’t accept “conspiracy theories”, but I do know that almost immediately after the interview, the IRS started hammering me.
At the time, I dismissed the “co-incidence”, but now, I have concerns … after revelations about the IRS targeting various groups and their members.
Originally, the IRS apologized for red-flagging conservative groups and their members if they had “Tea Party” or “patriot” in their name.
Today, there are allegations that the IRS focused on various groups and/or individuals questioning or criticizing government spending, taxes, debt or how the government is run … any involved in limiting/expanding government, educating on the constitution and bill of rights, or social economic reform/movement.
In that April 2012 interview, I questioned President Obama on several topics: the Buffet Rule, his public remarks about the Supreme Court before the ruling on the Affordable Care Act. I also asked why he wasn’t doing more to help Sen. Claire McCaskill who at that time was expected to lose. The Obama interview caught fire and got wide-spread attention because I questioned his spending.
I said some viewers expressed concern, saying they think he’s “out of touch” because of his personal and family trips in the midst of our economic crisis. The President’s face clearly showed his anger; afterwards, his staff which had been so polite … suddenly went cold.
That’s to be expected, and I can deal with that just as I did with President George H. Bush’s staff when he didn’t like my questions.
Journalistic integrity is of the utmost importance to me. My job is to ask the hard questions, because I believe viewers have a right to be well-informed. I cannot and will not promote anyone’s agenda – political or otherwise – at the expense of the reporting the truth.
What I don’t like to even consider … is that because of the Obama interview … the IRS put a target on me.
Can I prove it? At this time, no.
But it is a fact that since that April 2012 interview … the IRS has been pressuring me.
The use of the IRS to control or retaliate against the press would be a direct assault on the First Amendment, and would have a chilling effect on the dissemination of information free of government interference. If the events Conners alleges are mere coincidence, they’re odd ones. If they’re not coincidence, we’re in big trouble
H/t Dana Loesch
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