While there is still no evidence connecting the IRS's targeting of conservative groups directly to President Obama, senior White House officials, or to his re-election campaign, NBC's First Read smartly points out that this doesn't mean the White House doesn't have a serious public relations problem on its hands.
And this public relations problem is almost entirely self-inflicted.
In interviews and press briefings, the White House's explanation for when it learned about the problems at the IRS keeps changing.
As Politico reports, "Just a day after telling reporters that chief of staff Denis McDonough and other senior White House staff learned of the situation nearly a month ago, press secretary Jay Carney revealed Tuesday that White House officials had consulted with the Treasury Department on how to make the findings public."
And today, IRS official Lois Lerner insisted that she had done nothing wrong in a statement before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, but then refused questioning by invoking her Fifth Amendment right to protect herself from self-incrimination.
We're left assuming one of two things is true: Either the White House does have something to hide, or it has a self-inflicted credibility problem with the media.
That leaves two solutions: Either lawyer up in preparation for upcoming congressional investigations, or buy a copy of The Media Training Bible and read it quickly over the holiday weekend.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why Pakistan won't hunt down the terrorists within its borders
- Sorry, GOP, tax cuts don't pay for themselves
- How academia's liberal bias is killing social science
- Pope Francis' American problem
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Are there dogs in heaven? Let's hope not.
- Hey, bosses: Stop giving bonuses to your employees
- Why torture doesn't work: A definitive guide
- 10 things you need to know today: December 19, 2014
Subscribe to the Week