In reporting President Obama's speech laying out an economic agenda, the New York Times and Washington Post both emphasized policies that would directly affect only the very wealthy rather than those policies that would affect the rest of the country, and both ignored the fiscal impact of tax cut proposals.
The Times led with the affect Obama's proposals would have on the wealthy:
President Obama on Wednesday called for an end to the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy, saying the country cannot afford $700 billion in tax breaks that benefit “millionaires and billionaires.”
It wasn't until the eighth paragraph that the Times acknowledged that Obama is proposing to extend tax cuts for 98 percent of Americans -- everyone making less than $200,000 a year ($250,000 for couples.) In total, the Times dedicated just one and a half sentences to that aspect of Obama's proposals. When the Times identified the “two major pieces of Mr. Obama's package,” extended tax cuts for 98 percent of Americans was not included.
And at no point did the Times indicate how much extending tax cuts for 98 percent of Americans would cost. The news media, which typically obsesses over government deficits when covering spending proposals, often conveniently forgets that revenue proposals affect deficits, too.
The Washington Post likewise treated tax cuts for the wealthy as the most important aspect of economic policy, leading with the tiny minority of Americans who would not see their taxes extended rather than the overwhelming majority who would:
President Obama argued personally Wednesday against extending the Bush-era income tax cuts for the nation's wealthiest families even for a year or two - a message aimed at wavering Democrats who have been swayed by arguments that the economy is too weak to raise anyone's taxes.
And like the Times, the Post didn't tell readers how much it will cost to extend tax cuts for 98 percent of the country. (Answer: About $3 trillion over 10 years.)
What are the odds that the Times and the Post would ignore a $3 trillion price tag attached to a Democratic spending proposal?
So, both the Times and the Post behaved as though tax policies that affect only the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans are more important than those that affect the remaining 98 percent. And both behaved as though the cost of tax cuts doesn't matter.
Just another way in which the media rigs the discourse in favor of tax cuts and the wealthy, and against spending and the middle class.