On MSNBC, Andrea Mitchell twice failed to challenge claims by McCain economic adviser Carly Fiorina that a summer gas-tax holiday is "the best stimulus package we can have right now." Mitchell did not challenge Fiorina's assertions by noting the assessment by many economists that the relief to consumers would be minimal and that the plan would likely generate increased revenue for oil companies.
Washingtonpost.com's The Trail blog, CNN, and CBSNews.com each repeated Sen. John McCain's false claim that "[i]f you are one of the 23 million small business owners in America who files as an individual rate payer, Senator [Barack] Obama is going to raise your tax rates." In fact, Obama has proposed rolling back President Bush's tax cuts only on "people who are making 250,000 dollars a year or more"; according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, only 481,000 small businesses fall into the tax brackets that would be affected by those increases.
The New York Times' Adam Nagourney reported that Sen. John McCain will attack Sen. Barack Obama for supporting "tax increases," but Nagourney didn't note that Obama has proposed tax cuts for "working-class voters" and others. Nagourney joins other media outlets that have uncritically reported or failed to challenge assertions by the McCain campaign that Obama plans to raise taxes on all or most Americans.
Politico writers Ben Smith and Jonathan Martin reported a claim by Tucker Bounds, McCain campaign spokesman, that "Barack Obama wants more taxes from 21 million small businesses," without noting that it is false. In fact, Obama has proposed rolling back President Bush's tax cuts only on "people who are making 250,000 dollars a year or more," and according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, 481,000 small businesses fall into the tax brackets that would be affected by those increases.
On Hardball, Mike Barnicle said of Sen. Barack Obama's reaction to Sen. John McCain's proposal for a summer gas-tax holiday: "[P]oliticians have got to be very, very careful when they tell people living right at the margin, right at the edge, that $30 a week isn't a whole lot of money." But what Obama has said of McCain's proposal is that "[i]t would save you a total of about $28 for the entire year" -- not "$30 a week" -- and several analyses support Obama's claim.
On The Situation Room, Wolf Blitzer asked Sen. Lindsey Graham how Sen. John McCain would "pay for $300 billion in new tax cuts" and said, "But there's no waste -- with all due respect, Senator ... you're going to find $300 billion in waste, are you?" But when Graham replied, "No, no, $35 billion from earmarks, but there are other programs up here that can be reined in, including the Department of Defense," Blitzer did not press Graham to identify which specific "programs" McCain would "rein in" to "pay for $300 billion in new tax cuts."
On Fox News, Dick Morris asserted that as president, Sen. Barack Obama "would double the capital gains tax. That means that you get far less when you sell your home, or your 401(k) or your stock plan," and added, "[H]e would increase the limit on Social Security taxes, which means instead of paying 12 1/2 percent of the first $100,000, you pay it on everything that you're making." Morris' claims are false or highly misleading.
The Los Angeles Times and The Washington Times uncritically repeated the McCain campaign's claim that Sen. Barack Obama "propos[es] to raise taxes on millions of small businesses." In fact, Obama has proposed rolling back President Bush's tax cuts only on "people who are making 250,000 dollars a year or more," and according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, 481,000 -- not "millions of" -- small businesses fall into the tax brackets that would be affected by those increases.
On Late Edition, Wolf Blitzer did not challenge Gov. Tim Pawlenty's false claim that under Sen. Barack Obama's proposal to increase the capital gains tax rate, "if you have an IRA or a 401(k), which a lot of middle Americans do, and you go to retire or, you know, use that money, you're going to pay almost double the rate in taxation." In fact, most distributions from retirement accounts are taxed as regular income, not as capital gains.
The Detroit Free Press and Toledo Blade uncritically reported the false assertion by Tucker Bounds, a spokesman for Sen. John McCain, that Sen. Barack Obama would increase taxes on 21 million small businesses. In fact, Obama has proposed rolling back President Bush's tax cuts only on "people who are making 250,000 dollars a year or more," and according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center's table of 2007 tax returns that reported small-business income, only 481,000 of those returns are from filers with taxable incomes of more than $250,000.
The Hill and Bloomberg News uncritically reported Sen. John McCain's false suggestion in a June 10 speech that Sen. Barack Obama plans to raise taxes on 21.6 million small businesses that file taxes under the individual income tax. However, Obama has proposed rolling back the Bush tax cuts only on "people who are making 250,000 dollars a year or more," and according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, only 481,000 small businesses fall into the tax brackets that would be affected by those increases.
On America's Newsroom, Greg Jarrett cited a Tax Policy Center report on Sens. Barack Obama's and John McCain's tax plans but failed to note that the study contradicted Republican strategist Andrea Tantaros' claim that under Sen. Barack Obama's tax proposal, "an average family making $61,000 -- just alone letting the tax cuts expire -- would go up $2,100."
On Fox News Sunday, Mara Liasson falsely asserted that a Tax Policy Center analysis of Sens. McCain's and Obama's tax plans "said that Obama might add more to the deficit -- because it's unclear how he's going to pay for these -- than McCain would add to the deficit." In fact, the Tax Policy Center found that Obama's tax proposals would raise $700 billion over the next 10 years, while McCain's tax proposals would lose $600 billion, when scored against a " 'current policy' baseline," which "assumes that the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts would be extended and the AMT [Alternative Minimum Tax] patch made permanent."
On Fox & Friends, Ben Stein misrepresented Sen. Barack Obama's tax plan to raise the capital gains tax rate on the wealthiest earners, stating: "[P]eople that have incomes in the five digits ... that's crazy to increase their capital gains tax." In fact, Obama has said he would not raise the capital gains tax on individuals with income of less than $250,000.
When Sen. John McCain twice touted the idea of a gas tax "break" during an interview on NBC's Today, Matt Lauer failed to challenge him over whether economists believe a gas tax holiday is a good idea. But when Sen. Hillary Clinton mentioned her proposal "to get the gas tax paid this summer out of the record profits of the oil companies" on the same program a month earlier, Meredith Vieira challenged her, saying that economists are "saying it's not sound policy."