St. Louis Reporter Larry Conners revealed via Facebook yesterday that he has been "hammered" by the IRS since his much-discussed interview with President Obama. Conners, a veteran reporter, asked tough, but fair question during the interview which was slammed by progressives in media. Conners says:
Shortly after I did my April 2012 interview with President Obama, my wife, friends and some viewers suggested that I might need to watch out for the IRS.
I don't accept "conspiracy theories", but I do know that almost immediately after the interview, the IRS started hammering me.
At the time, I dismissed the "co-incidence", but now, I have concerns ... after revelations about the IRS targeting various groups and their members.
Originally, the IRS apologized for red-flagging conservative groups and their members if they had "Tea Party" or "patriot" in their name.
Today, there are allegations that the IRS focused on various groups and/or individuals questioning or criticizing government spending, taxes, debt or how the government is run ... any involved in limiting/expanding government, educating on the constitution and bill of rights, or social economic reform/movement.
In that April 2012 interview, I questioned President Obama on several topics: the Buffet Rule, his public remarks about the Supreme Court before the ruling on the Affordable Care Act. I also asked why he wasn't doing more to help Sen. Claire McCaskill who at that time was expected to lose. The Obama interview caught fire and got wide-spread attention because I questioned his spending.
I said some viewers expressed concern, saying they think he's "out of touch" because of his personal and family trips in the midst of our economic crisis.
The President's face clearly showed his anger; afterwards, his staff which had been so polite ... suddenly went cold.
That's to be expected, and I can deal with that just as I did with President George H. Bush's staff when he didn't like my questions.
Journalistic integrity is of the utmost importance to me. My job is to ask the hard questions, because I believe viewers have a right to be well-informed. I cannot and will not promote anyone's agenda - political or otherwise - at the expense of the reporting the truth.
What I don't like to even consider ... is that because of the Obama interview … the IRS put a target on me.
Can I prove it? At this time, no.
But it is a fact that since that April 2012 interview ... the IRS has been pressuring me.
Conners had asked questions such as:
“The economy is a big concern for folks, I mean the unemployment, trying to make ends meet, gas prices, food prices going up. Some of our viewers are complaining that they get frustrated and angered when they see the first family jetting around different vacations and so forth …”
Now that the IRS has admitted to persecuting tea party groups, now that the DOJ has seized phone records of AP reporters, has the admin targeted individual journalists as well?
*UPDATE: I'll talk with Conners on my program today beginning noon central.
**UPDATE #2: Conners was scheduled to me on my program today but just informed my producer that corporate won't allow it.
***UPDATES #3: KMOV says to my producer that they will address this at 5 and 6pm tonight central and have set up a separate line for inquiries.