How the IRS Scandal Narrative Fell Apart (MSNBC)



As a guest on MSNBC’s UP with Steve Kornacki, Dartmouth’s Brendan Nyhan discusses the media coverage of the recent Internal Revenue Service scandal.

“The initial reports focused on two points that made it so explosive,” Nyhan, an assistant professor of government, tells MSNBC. “The first was that the White House might be involved, and the second was that conservatives were being targeted exclusively. Both of those fell apart. The wheels have come off that narrative . . . it’s not clear at all that those initial reports were correct.”

Nyhan continues, “But, of course, the media doesn’t want to run a headline saying ‘not as much news here as we thought.’ So instead, they simply stop covering the story and that can leave people with a misleading impression.”

In the interview, Nyhan explains why the media initially latched on to the story. “My research on presidential scandals suggests that the conditions were ripe for scandal at the time this took off,” he says. “President Obama had not had a major scandal since he took office, so there was something of a scandal backlog. There was latent demand out there for Obama scandal, both among the media and among the Republican party ‘s base.”

Watch the full story, broadcast 8/10/13 on MSNBC’s Up with Steve Kornacki.


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