Fox News And GOP Team Up For IRS Hearing

A June 4 hearing before the House Ways and Means Committee that focused on interviews with alleged victims of IRS targeting was used by Fox News as an opportunity to hype the witnesses and their allegations of unfair targeting.

The hearing was the second of at least three this week, with the first coming on June 3 and a third to come on June 6. It featured several witnesses who have either appeared frequently on Fox or who represent groups that have made appearances on the network

As The Washington Post's Dana Milbank reported following the June 3 hearing, Fox News' promotion of the flurry of hearings has become a pattern:

A third House committee joined the stampede to examine the IRS on Monday, and its chairman did exactly what you would expect somebody to do before launching a fair and impartial investigation: He went on Fox News Channel and implicated the White House.

Asked by Fox's Bill Hemmer what he hoped to learn at Monday afternoon's hearing, Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) offered this bit of pre-hearing analysis:

“Of course, the enemies list out of the White House that IRS was engaged in shutting down or trying to shut down the conservative political viewpoint across the country -- an enemies list that rivals that of another president some time ago.”

On the June 4 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, Kevin Kookogey, founder and president of Linchpins of Liberty, a group that describes itself as an “American leadership-development enterprise designed to challenge the imagination of the rising generation,” appeared in an exclusive interview to preview that day's hearing.

Later in the day, America's Newsroom co-host Bill Hemmer interviewed the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI), to preview the hearing. Hemmer asked Camp if Obama administration knew about the IRS' targeting of conservative groups, to which Camp replied, “We just don't know at this point.”

Then, in the midst of Fox's wall-to-wall coverage on the hearing, America's Newsroom co-host Martha MacCallum described hearing witness and Wetumpka Tea Party President Becky Gerritson's “fervent appeal” and informed viewers that Gerritson would be a guest on the show the following day.

On June 3, Fox News' America Live hosted National Organization for Marriage's Brian Brown, allowing him to revive his organization's claim that the IRS stole and leaked their Form 990 to the Human Rights Campaign last year. NOM was also represented at the June 4 hearing, with Dr. John Eastman, the organization's chairman, appearing to make the same accusation that Brown had made just a day earlier on Fox News.