Today in federal court, the source of a major story involving stolen tax information was sentenced to a five-year prison term. Given how the story was covered, you’d expect at least minimal coverage across the major evening newscasts. But, alas, this wasn’t the case across the board.
In fact, NBC was the sole network to cover the story. Here’s that report in its entirety, as aired on NBC Nightly News on Monday, January 29th, 2024:
TOM LLAMAS: In Washington today, a former IRS contractor who leaked tax records of former President Trump and others was sentenced to five years in prison. When Charles Littlejohn pleaded guilty in October, federal prosecutors say he weaponized his access to taxpayer data to further his own political agenda, believing he was above the law.
All of 19 seconds- which is a heck of a lot less than the story got when it was initially broken. But paltry as they may have seemed, these 19 seconds were 19 seconds more than aired on ABC and CBS- which could afford those 19 seconds lest it cut into their Taylor Swift Super Bowl extravaganza. Actually, the question of whether Swift could exit her Tokyo concert with enough time to make the Super Bowl drew, in and of itself, more than 19 seconds on ABC and CBS.
Needless to say, NBC’s story was puny, with great care to mention as little as possible of a very inconvenient story. Notice Tom Llamas’ use of the term “leaked” in lieu of “stolen”, which suggests a story on public urination more so than one on identity theft in service of a political agenda.
Notice the mention of Trump and “the others”. Who are the others, you say? Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffet among others. There is no mention of what the judge said at sentencing. From NBC News dot com:
(Judge Ana) Reyes compared Littlejohn’s actions to other recent attacks and threats against elected officials as well as to Jan. 6 defendants she has recently sentenced. She described his actions as a deliberate, complex, multiyear criminal scheme, but said she believed he “sincerely felt a moral imperative” to act as he did.
Judge Reyes, a Biden appointee, thought the tax information theft was comparable to January 6th! In other words, a literal attack on Democracy!
Finally, there is no mention of the outlets that broke the stories, The New York Times and ProPublica. Littlejohn is stranded on an island even as the corrupt institutions he served are protected.
And that’s why the story got scant coverage, if any at all. The story is one of the weaponization of institutions against individuals, for political purposes. And that is just too inconvenient.
Partial credit, I guess, to NBC for those scant 19 seconds.