Fox News repeatedly helped House Oversight Committee chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) hype his July 18 hearing on alleged abuses at the IRS, teasing new “evidence” and “information” linking the “scandal” to the White House. The promised revelations turned out to be old news, and failed to connect the case to President Obama.
On Wednesday night, Fox News chief political correspondent Carl Cameron appeared on The O'Reilly Factor and reported that Issa told him to “watch tomorrow's hearing, because he's going to present the evidence” to prove that the IRS's behavior went “all the way up into the White House.”
The following morning on Fox & Friends, co-host Steve Doocy reported that Cameron had learned that “Darrell Issa has information that will link the scandal to the White House.”
Doocy went on to say that Carter Hull, a recently retired tax law specialist for the IRS would be testifying and “naming names” at the hearing which would “implicate the IRS chief counsel's office who is a Barack Obama appointee.”
Issa appeared on the July 18 edition of America's Newsroom to preview the hearing, claiming that the testimony would show a connection to “high ranking people.” Co-host Martha MacCallum said the alleged revelations could turn the event into “a bombshell hearing.”
While Hull did testify at the hearing that he met with the IRS chief counsel's office, this information was not new. In the report from the Treasury Inspector General, released in May of this year, the timeline of events disclosed that the chief counsel's office was made aware of the issue in August of 2011.
Issa himself noted at the hearing that “when I say something goes to the office of the counsel of the IRS, that is not to be construed as the office of the president, or to the counsel himself.”
The witnesses at the hearing testified that they had no knowledge of White House involvement in the agency's examination of conservative non-profits.
Treasury Inspector General J. Russell George also testified that his office was “reviewing” why it did not have access to documents showing that the IRS had also flagged progressive groups for additional scrutiny.
The information that Fox had hyped for two days over multiple programs was not new or any sort of major revelation, and was not evidence of any sort of interference on behalf of the Obama administration. As they have for the entirety of this alleged scandal, Fox has incredulously promoted and hyped controversial allegations that quickly collapse.