Smug Ed Schultz Forced to Admit Huge Blunder About News Corp.

A former gridiron star really ought to know better than to spike the ball in the wrong end zone.

Appearing more subdued than he had on "The Ed Show" just 24 hours earlier, MSNBC action hero Ed Schultz last night admitted making an embarrassing error about News Corporation, parent company of Schultz nemesis Fox News Channel.

On "The Ed Show" July 12, Schultz claimed he knew why Fox pundits such as Bill O'Reilly oppose President Obama's call for higher taxes on the wealthy (video after page break) --

Here's the real reason Bill O'Reilly and other Fox Newsers don't want tax increases on the rich. Because under the current tax code, O'Reilly's boss, Rupert Murdoch, actually makes money off the United States government. Now you can see here (referring to chart), in the last four years Murdoch's News Corp. made $10.4 billion in profit. How much -- how much?! -- did the company pay in corporate income taxes? Zero! In fact, after refunds News Corp. actually made (pause for effect) $4.8 billion! Think about that the next time Bill O'Reilly says he's looking out for you and the next time he tells President Obama he's making a huge mistake by raising taxes on the wealthy.

Joining me tonight is Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Cay Johnson, author of "Free Lunch: How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Government Expense (and Stick You With the Bill)." He's also a columnist for Reuters and he wrote about Rupert Murdoch's tax profits.

"Tax profits" that quickly turned to tax payments, Schultz told his audience last night, perhaps after an exchange of clarifying phone calls between lawyers at News Corp. and MSNBC --

We'd like to make a correction. Last night we told you News Corp. received $4.8 billion in tax refunds over four years, 2007 through 2010. The information from a Reuters article by David Cay Johnson was inaccurate. News Corp. actually paid $4.8 billion in taxes over those four years. In receiving News Corp.'s annual disclosure reports, Mr. Johnson made a mistake. A tax figure in parenthesis conventionally denotes a refund but not always. The error was confirmed to Mr. Johnson by a respected tax expert. Johnson has fully apologized and explained the mistake. No excuses.

"No excuses" -- how noble of you, Ed. Yet absent from both segments was any mention of General Electric, parent company of MSNBC -- in other words, your boss prior to Comcast acquiring NBC Universal in January 2011 -- paying no federal taxes in 2010. And by the way, $4.8 billion in taxes on $10.4 billion in profit is a tax rate of 46 percent -- 11 points higher than the corporate tax rate of 35 percent. Which I'm sure is all the basis you need for yet another harangue against the wealthy as tax scofflaws.

One other thing, Ed (a frequent NewsBusters reader) -- it's David Cay Johnston, not Johnson. Given how frequently he's a guest on your show, you should also know that by now.

Jack Coleman
Liberated ex-liberal from the People's Republic of Massachusetts