PolitiFact Whacks Maddow Again, This Time on Perry Tax Plan

Rachel Maddow's "devotion" to the facts "borders on obsessive" proclaimed an MSNBC promo last winter that could have been produced by The Onion.

A dubious Maddow claim that didn't quite reach that level of obsession has caught the attention of PolitiFact Texas, part of a fact-checking project that originated with the St. Petersburg Times and won the Pulitzer Prize in 2009. (video after page break)

On her show Oct. 25, Maddow said this about Texas Gov. Rick Perry's newly-released tax plan --

So, tanking Rick Perry has now come up with his own version of a flat tax that accomplishes the same goal of huge tax cuts for rich people and big tax hikes for everyone else.

PolitiFact's W. Gardner Selby, a veteran reporter who began covering politics in Texas nearly 30 years ago, wrote yesterday why he rated Maddow's claim "mostly false" on the PolitiFact "Truth-O-Meter" that ranges from "True" to "Pants on Fire."

His thorough evaluation included responses from Maddow spokeswoman Lauren Skowronski, criticism of the Perry plan from a Treasury official in President George H.W. Bush's administration, a "preliminary look" at the plan from an expert at the Tax Policy Center, followed by Selby citing from a more detailed analysis by the center.

In conclusion, Selby wrote --

Nearly all of the nation's wealthiest residents would see tax cuts if Perry's plan became law, in keeping with Maddow's claim. Will they be huge? That's an eye-of-the-beholder question, but some could be sizable by any definition.

Some other Americans -- including 45 percent of residents earning $19,343 to $39,862 -- also would see tax cuts, a projection suggesting that does not support the claim that the plan means big tax increases for everyone but the wealthy. Perry's plan allows every taxpayer to continue under the current system. No one would pay more unless he or she chooses the flat tax against their financial self-interest.

Maddow's statement, leaving the incorrect impression that Perry's tax plan hugely benefits the rich while everyone else pays more, rates Mostly False.

Back in February, in the middle of a contentious battle over public-sector unions in Wisconsin, PolitiFact took Maddow to task for her flat-out false claim that Wisconsin was on track for a budget surplus.

This marks the 15th time that Maddow's claims have crossed PolitiFact's radar. Of these, four were rated false, three as mostly false, three as half true, four as mostly true and one as true. None were deemed deserving of the lowly "pants-on-fire" designation.

Jack Coleman
Jack Coleman
Ex-liberal from People's Republic of Massachusetts