Government used to have a big advantage over average citizens: they controlled the information. Now, technology is wresting control from government, and stuff they used to keep under the covers has a way of being found out – and broadcast far and wide.
What to make of the political scandals that are dominating the headlines and forcing the Obama administration into Nixonian damage control? Technology is finally doing to big government what it has done to big business, big media and other institutions that once could operate with nearly full control over information. The government is losing the ability to manipulate information to avoid accountability.
Consider how the news broke that the Internal Revenue Service has been targeting conservative groups. The admission by IRS official Lois Lerner came in response to a question from the audience at a low-profile meeting of the tax section of the American Bar Association. For a week, perplexed reporters quoted her supporters saying she was apolitical and must not have meant to make news this way.
Then reports online cited lawyers who had been at the ABA event saying they saw her consult prepared remarks as she answered the supposedly impromptu question. On Friday, the acting IRS commissioner confessed to Congress that the question was planted. Its purpose was to give Ms. Lerner a chance to minimize IRS wrongdoing before the release of the Treasury inspector general’s report early last week.
The attempt to spin the story worked for a time. Ms. Lerner blamed everything on low-level IRS employees in the Cincinnati office and said that the targeting of conservative groups ended when higher-ups learned about it. But as targeted groups went online to reveal the communications they had received from numerous IRS offices, it became clear that abuses were widespread, including at headquarters, and that the targeting went on for years.
Read the rest: Crovitz: Big Government Loses Control – WSJ.com.