June 28, 2014

The latest faux-scandal-within-faux-scandal promoted by Fox News involves Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley and the hapless scapegoat Lois Lerner. And as usual, the whole thing is based on one AP headline that got the story wrong by suggesting Lerner wanted to audit Grassley when she merely asked whether his association with an outside group should be looked into.

But facts never stop zealots, as this Friday evening segment on Greta Van Susteren's show illustrates.

Let Steve Benen explain:

All of this, it turns out, wasn’t true. The reality is unambiguous: “[Grassley] wasn’t ‘targeted’ at all. Instead, Lerner asked a colleague if it made sense to examine whether an outside group had made Grassley an inappropriate offer. Her colleague dismissed the idea, and that was the end of it.”

At least in theory, reporters, Republican officials, and conservative activists who ran with this story on Wednesday had a decision to make: they could either correct their mistake or pretend they hadn’t made the mistake.

Of course, this is the IRS “scandal,” which naturally led conservatives to choose Door #3: keep repeating the inaccuracy as if it were true.

As I told a friend who was being harassed by online conservative liars and jerks this week, it's what they do. Always. They lie and they lie and pretend the lie is real. Weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, death panels, Social Security is broke, and so on. All lies.

Benen again:

The Republican National Committee, for example, last night published a tweet about the “IRS witch hunt” in which Lerner “tried to audit a Republican senator.” It included a handy image for conservative activists to share via social media that read in all caps, “Lerner targeted GOP senator with IRS audit.”

Remember, these claims are plainly at odds with the facts. The RNC’s message made specific claims that aren’t supported by reality. But the tweet nevertheless demanded a “special counsel” to investigate the story after it had already been discredited.

Brian Beutler added this morning, “ ‘Lois Lerner tried to audit Grassley’ is the new ‘Al Gore said he invented the Internet.’ Let’s just all agree to pretend it happened.”

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