IRS Scandal: Huffington Post Not Aware that People Communicated Before Email

Rep. Darrell Issa has issued a subpoena to the Federal Election Commission for all “communications sent or received from Lois G. Lerner” since January 1, 1986. A bit of overkill? Perhaps, although we can hardly blame the Congressman, given Lerner’s invocation of the Fifth Amendment, misleading statements by top IRS political appointees about what they have and don’t have, and a ranking minority member who is himself hip-deep in the scandal and seems to consider himself lead defense attorney for whomever might have done anything wrong, intentionally or unintentionally.

But even scandal can provide opportunities for levity, and today’s levity comes from the Huffington Post’s Jennifer Bendery. So eager is Bendery to ignore the abuses of power occurring at the IRS and promoted by Senate Democrats that she quickly snarked out, “Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) is so determined to get to the bottom of missing emails from former IRS official Lois Lerner that he is demanding copies of her emails dating back to 1986.” She snarks along, noting that the subpoena asks for “all of Lerner’s communications from Jan. 1, 1986, to June 23, 2014. He specifies that this means all emails sent directly to Lerner… .” And she helpfully informs us that 1986 was “a time when Nintendo was in, Lionel Richie was hot and there was no such thing as commercialized Internet or email.”

Apparently Ms. Bendery was so eager to discredit Rep. Issa that she forgot (or maybe she really doesn’t know or remember) that prior to email, people actually did communicate with one another – even in writing. Yes, we sent each other written things on paper called “memos,” and sometimes even “notes” and what were called “letters.” You can look it up. (Well, our regular readers probably don’t need to look it up – the link is provided for Ms. Bendery and her HuffPo readers.) Of course, what the subpoena requests are not just “emails,” but “communications,” including all “documents,” a phrase including emails but also the aforementioned memos, notes, letters, and various other types of communications.

The sad part is what this tells us about the HuffPo and far too many on the political left. One might make a serious argument that requesting 28 years worth of correspondence is needless overkill by the Committee. But so invested are people like Ms. Bendery in silencing opposing voices – especially the tea party – and in protecting the Administration and congressional Democrats, that they cannot even seriously address even the possibility of a serious abuse of power by the Administration and those congressional Democrats. Even the possibility of an honest investigation into what is undeniably something gone wrong (whether by intent or accident, by a few rogue employees or more) in our government that threatens core First Amendment principles is beyond consideration. They unthinkingly and reflexively react with snark and denial – even if, as in Ms. Bendery’s case – they end up looking like idiots.

The Center for Competitive Politics is now the Institute for Free Speech.