Sentinel article about Boortz repeated misleading support for the “Fair Tax,” omitted his history of offensive statements

Reporting on a Grand Junction appearance by syndicated radio host Neal Boortz, The Daily Sentinel stated that many people at the event “agree[d]” with his views, including his support of a “consumption or 'fair' tax.” But the article did not note the “charismatic” Boortz's history of making misleading statements regarding the tax plan or his history of making inflammatory and derogatory remarks.

A March 3 article in The Daily Sentinel of Grand Junction reporting on a public appearance by nationally syndicated radio host Neal Boortz stated that "[m]any" who attended the event “agree” with his views, “including his support of moving to a consumption or 'fair' tax” to replace the current federal tax structure. The article by Erik Lincoln also quoted one person at the event as saying, “The Fair Tax taxes everybody fairly.” However, the Daily Sentinel failed to mention that Boortz has a history of misleading the public on the purported benefits of the Fair Tax or that a federal tax-reform panel commissioned by President Bush disputed Fair Tax proponents' claims.

And while the article referred to Boortz as a “charismatic talk-radio personality,” it failed to note his propensity for making controversial and derogatory remarks, including his labeling of Hurricane Katrina victims as “deadbeat[s],” “bums,” and “debris” ; and his comment that former U.S. Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA), an African-American, “looks like a ghetto slut.”

The article noted that Boortz's radio show is broadcast by Cox Radio Syndication, which it stated is “part of the same company that owns The Daily Sentinel.” While noting Boortz's support of the Fair Tax, the article failed to mention criticisms of the plan or attempt to explain how it would work. Rather, the Sentinel repeated the unsubstantiated claim of a Boortz “fan[]” who called the Fair Tax “the best thing going” :

Many of the people who came to get their book signed agree with Boortz's views, including his support of moving to a consumption or “fair” tax.

Tom Peeso and his wife Sandy, both 55 and from Grand Junction, said the Fair Tax doesn't segregate Americans, and it will make the richest of the rich pay their taxes.

“It's the best thing going,” Tom said of a consumption tax. “Before that came out, I was for a flat tax, something that's fair, but (the flat tax) always leaves out the hidden economy. The Fair Tax taxes everybody fairly.”

As Media Matters for America noted, Boortz is the co-author, along with U.S. Rep. John Linder (R-GA), of The FairTax Book (ReganBooks, 2005), which laid out the case for Linder's 2005 bill, known as the Fair Tax Act of 2005. Under the plan, all existing federal taxes would be replaced by a national retail sales tax on most consumer and government purchases. On the May 24, 2006, broadcast of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, Boortz dubiously claimed that in order to fully replace all federal taxes, the national retail sales tax rate would have to be set at “22 or 3 percent.”

However, as Colorado Media Matters noted in responding to a similar claim by 2006 failed Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez, a federal tax-reform panel commissioned by Bush disputed the projections from Fair Tax proponents such as Boortz, estimating that a necessary revenue-neutral sales tax rate for the proposal would be higher. In fact, according to the President's Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform, the “23 percent” inclusive tax Boortz touted actually would need to be significantly higher in order to be truly revenue-neutral to the federal government.

Moreover, while the Daily Sentinel article pointed out that Boortz's Grand Junction affiliate, 1100 KNZZ Radio, “wanted to pull the plug on Boortz's show” two years ago, but “listeners kept the show on the air,” it failed to note the often offensive and inflammatory nature of his on-air diatribes. As Media Matters has documented, Boortz has:

  • Remarked that McKinney “looks like a ghetto slut.”
  • Claimed that Columbine High School shouldn't have offered counseling to the school's students following the deadly 1999 shootings.
  • Disparaged “thousands' of Katrina victims as ” deadbeat[s]," suggesting “so many” of them “turned out to be complete bums, just debris.”
  • Called adults earning the minimum wage “incompetent,” “ignorant,” “stupid,” “worthless,” and “pathetic.”
  • Referred to the Islamic religion as “a deadly virus,” which “we're going to wait far too long to develop a vaccine to find a way to fight.”