A soon-to-be released media study documents how ABC, NBC and CBS repeatedly have portrayed President Obama as a leader who is cutting taxes while ignoring the potential $4.2 trillion in taxes – that about $14,000 apiece or $56,000 for a family of four – that could start hitting Americans as early as January 1.
“Those potential tax increases are almost 20 times the size of the $214 billion temporary tax cuts Obama included in the stimulus bill. Tax cutter? Hardly,” said a summary of the new report by the Media Research Center’s Business & Media Institute.
The study looked at all 171 network evening news reports containing the terms “tax cut” or “tax cuts” from Sept. 1, 2008, to Aug. 31, 2010.
The report is to be published at the Business & Media Institute’s website as early as today.
The potential problem for the American people appears to be obvious, report author Julia Seymour told WND.
“The American people need to be aware this is a president who is fine with raising taxes on whom he deems rich,” she said. “He doesn’t seem to accept the possibility about what economists warn will happen to the overall economy if that is done.”
She said the consensus among economists is that raising taxes in any fashion at this point could be seriously damaging to the nation’s economy.
The networks, however, really have been successful at hiding that possibility.
The study revealed that:
- Obama was portrayed as a tax cutter by ABC, CBS and the NBC evening news programs four times as often as his tax increases were mentioned – 66 stories to 16.
- Not one of the 171 reports pointed out that Obama’s potential tax hikes are nearly 20 times the size of his cuts.
- Three-quarters of the evening reports failed to include economists to comment on taxes.
- Among the remaining one-quarter of the reports, liberal or left-wing groups were allowed airtime to talk about taxes 75 percent of the time – 38 reports to 9.
- NBC’s “Nightly News” portrayed Obama as a tax cutter 14 times more than someone who wants tax increases.
Seymour, an assistant editor/analyst for the institute, has appeared on Fox Business Network, the Christian Broadcasting Network and the G. Gordon Liddy Show. She’s contributed to reports by radio host Mark Levin, The Drudge Report, WorldNetDaily, USA Today and others.
“In a typical network example, NBC’s John Yang credited the president with significant tax cuts when he lauded Obama’s successful passage of the enormous stimulus bill that was more than 70 percent spending and less than 30 percent tax relief, saying: ‘Obama hasn’t been in office even four weeks yet and he’s already won passage of the biggest spending increase and tax cut bill in history,'” Seymour’s executive summary said.
In another instance: “NBC also didn’t hide its preference for tax increases on June 25, 2010, when correspondent John Harwood audaciously claimed, ‘In the long run, everybody agrees taxes need to go up as part of a comprehensive solution to very high budget deficits …'” the report said.
Another case: “Although still slanted, CBS ‘Evening News’ did a better job than ABC and NBC by providing the other side of the debate in a handful of reports. One such story by Ben Tracy revealed the plight of one taxpayer ‘the president calls wealthy.’ Tracy found a small business owner who ‘will pay thousands more in taxes if the president’s budget passes’ and a charity concerned that Obama’s plan to limit deductions would cause people to limit their charitable giving,” the report said.
“All too often reporters’ stories are biased against tax cuts because of built-in liberal assumptions like tax cuts have a ‘cost,’ Bush’s tax cuts only benefited the ‘wealthy,’ and his tax cuts created the deficit crisis. Those are not economic statements; they are political spin. Instead of repeating them, journalists should remain objective and consider both sides,” the study recommended.
Further, comments should come in from both sides.
“Since most journalists are not economists they should consult them for stories about issues like tax policy. Network reporters should be careful to include tax experts from both sides rather than quoting only liberal economists working in the administration, or from the left-wing Tax Policy Center – which is often labeled ‘non-partisan’ by journalists. The Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics states that journalists should ‘tell the story of the diversity and magnitude of the human experience boldly, even when it is unpopular to do so,'” the report said.
“President Obama waging class warfare isn’t a surprise; it is a common left-wing tactic. But the networks should see his anti-success rhetoric for what it is and report objectively instead of supporting claims that only the wealthy benefit from tax cuts, or that the rich deserve to pay higher taxes,” the report recommended.
“The media’s role in all this has been to tell a fairy tale,” Seymour told WND. Instead of reporting on the possible ramifications of tax hikes, she said, the reporting has “focused on the things that make this president look good.”
Previously warning about the tax crisis looming for Americans Jan. 1 was Ginni Thomas, founder of LibertyCentral.org and
wife of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
“Democratic policies are pushing the country to the brink,” Thomas told WND in a recent interview. “That’s why Liberty Central is helping to educate and activate people now.
“Their perception of real people is so off,” said Thomas of the Democrats running Congress. “They think we’re all sitting on big bank accounts with extra money to send to Washington if they would only tax us.”
LibertyCentral.org is running a petition drive, “Help Stop the Obama Tax Hike,” demanding that Congress extend the Bush tax cuts scheduled to be canceled Jan. 1. Opponents of Obama’s plan have described the move as a massive tax increase, because the Bush provisions have been law for nearly a decade.