When IRS supervisory special agent Greg Shapley and agent Joe Ziegler, testified this week, most honest observers were impressed by how they stuck to the details and the facts of their investigation. Even in friendly questioning, they refused to make judgments about motivations or conclusions. They were two of the most credible witnesses that I have seen on the hill. They were also the prototypical whistleblowers, civil servants who tried to raise concerns over special treatment and political interference internally and only came to Congress after all such efforts failed. They were then both allegedly retaliated against by the Biden Administration. Yet, in its coverage, NBC referred to the men as “so called whistleblowers.” That was not the disparaging description given other such witnesses, including figures in the Trump impeachment. They were just “whistleblowers” or “respected public servants.”
On Thursday’s broadcast of NBC’s “MTP Now,” NBC News Capitol Hill Correspondent Ali Vitali discussed the new release of the 1023 form “to bolster these investigations that we saw them do earlier this week with IRS so-called whistleblowers about Hunter Biden.”
Figures like Joe Scarborough on MSNBC joined in the disparagement. In interviewing House Minority Whip Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA) who actually called the corruption investigation “dangerous,” Scarborough said “we have these so-called whistleblowers who are saying, yeah, we’re really angry … It’s just a clown show with these House Republicans, isn’t it?”
It was reminiscent of how Democrats attacked journalists who came forward to offer detailed records of censorship by the Biden Administration. Del. Stacey Plaskett, D-VI, the ranking member of the House Judiciary subcommittee, attacked the reporters appearing as witnesses as “so-called journalists” and said they were “a direct threat” to the safety of others by reporting the censorship story. Plaskett also later called for the possible arrest of Taibbi.
It is all part of an effort to attack the credibility of those who raise corruption or censorship. Even Special Counsel John Durham was warned by Rep. Steve Cohen that he would end up burning “at the bottom of a pyre” if he did not change his views of basis for the Russian collusion investigation.
I wrote years ago that the media had bought into the Biden spin of the corruption story to the point that they would have a difficult time acknowledging the growing evidence of influence peddling and special dealing. Even after Joe Biden’s discussions of Hunter’s deals were revealed, the media continued to deny it.
Now, when two classic and credible whistleblowers come forward at great personal and professional risk, the media has to tag them with a “so called” pejorative reference.
What is left is so-called journalism where readers are given shaded and shaped accounts to advance a particular political narrative. It has the hallmarks of a new type of state media, where journalists follow an agenda not by coercion but consent.