That Story You Knew Was Bullshit? Yeah, It Was Bullshit.

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If you have a life, you may have missed Wednesday’s blockbuster Daily Caller story about IRS commissioner Doug Shulman’s 157 visits to the Obama White House. The number of White House visits over the past four years, the Caller reported breathlessly, “strongly suggests coordination by White House officials in the campaign against the president’s political opponents.”

You may have noticed that I didn’t bother blogging about this in real time. I was too busy trying to decide whether to slit my wrists or jump off a tall building, so I didn’t have time. The story was obvious bullshit,1 of the kind the Caller specializes in, but who’s got the time to figure out exactly how and why it’s bullshit? And who was going to volunteer to spend a day of their lives they’d never get back debunking it?

Well, the answer turns out to be Garance Franke-Ruta. And the explanation for all those entries in the White House log, roughly speaking, is (a) the fact that Shulman was cleared for a meeting doesn’t mean he actually attended a meeting, (b) nearly all of Shulman’s meetings were related to a biweekly group working on healthcare reform, and (c) virtually all of the meetings took place in buildings other than the White House.

Is it worth clicking the link and reading the details? On the one hand, no, of course not. Are you serious? On the other hand, Franke-Ruta deserves to have her heroic efforts get some love. It’s your call.

1I am, needless to say, using this word in its technically correct sense. But you knew that already, didn’t you?

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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