CBS Plays Up Backlash Against Burger King’s Move To Canada: ‘Some In Washington Are Fuming’

For the second day in a row, CBS did its best to hype opposition to fast food chain Burger King after it announced plans to purchase Canadian coffee and doughnut chain Tim Hortons and relocate to Canada to lower its tax burden. 

On Tuesday, CBS This Morning fill-in anchor Anthony Mason introduced a segment by boosting how “Main street and some in Washington are fuming about the fast food giant's move to Canada.” [See video below.]

Mason then turned to Jan Crawford who did note that “by moving its headquarters from Miami to Canada, Burger King would be relocating in a country with a lower tax rate.” However, nowhere in Crawford’s report did she bother quoting a single Republican to argue that lowering the corporate tax rate would encourage American companies to remain in United States. 

Instead, Crawford highlighted how its becoming “more and more unpopular with Washington which sees it as a sneaky way for companies to take advantage of a tax loophole. Even talk of moving, the home of the whopper to Canada was enough to get Burger King customers fired up. Hours after confirming the company was looking to take over coffee and doughnut chain Tim Hortons, Burger King’s Facebook page was flooded with messages from people threatening to boycott.”

While the 3 minute report didn’t bother to include any Republican soundbites, Crawford did find time to promote two Democrats who oppose companies like Burger King leaving the United States: 

The U.S. has the highest corporate tax rate in the developed world at about 35%. The federal tax rate in Canada is closer to 15%. Although legal, the practice known as a tax inversion has faced repeat criticism from President Obama...Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown from Ohio shared that outrage Monday saying “Burger King’s decision to abandon the United States means consumers should turn to Wendy's old-fashioned hamburgers or White Castle sliders.” 

As the segment wrapped up, Crawford made sure to note how “Burger King isn't the first American company to face a backlash. Earlier this month, Walgreens ditched plans to move its headquarters to Europe after an onslaught of negative publicity. Since 2012, at least 21 American companies have announced or completed similar deals.”   

See relevant transcript below. 


CBS This Morning 

August 26, 2014

ANTHONY MASON: And the Wall Street Journal says Warren Buffett is backing Burger King’s plan to buy Tim Hortons, the coffee and doughnut chain. Buffett’s holding company Berkshire Hathaway is expected to provide about one-fourth of the financing for that merger. Buffett has a well-known sweet tooth. Berkshire Hathaway already owns Dairy Queen. Wall Street is welcoming that possible merger. Shares of Burger King and Tim Hortons soared nearly 20 percent on Monday. But Main street and some in Washington are fuming about the fast food giant’s move potential to Canada. Jan Crawford is at a Burger King in Silver Spring, Maryland, just outside Washington. Jan, good morning. 

JAN CRAWFORD: Well, good morning. So by moving its headquarters from Miami to Canada, Burger King would be relocating in a country with a lower tax rate. That is a practice that’s becoming increasingly popular with U.S. businesses and more and more unpopular with Washington which sees it as a sneaky way for companies to take advantage of a tax loophole. Even talk of moving the home of the whopper to Canada was enough to get Burger King customers fired up. Hours after confirming the company was looking to take over coffee and doughnut chain Tim Hortons, Burger king’s Facebook page was flooded with messages from people threatening to boycott. 

DAN PRIMACK: This is one of the very few companies where consumers can very easily vote with their wallets. But I would wager that almost every American citizen knows of the company, knows what they make, knows what their brand looks like. 

CRAWFORD: The burger giant confirmed the possible merger in a statement Sunday night saying the combined company would generate $22 billion in sales worldwide. But a deal could also mean big tax savings on foreign incomes. The U.S. has the highest corporate tax rate in the developed world at about 35%. The federal tax rate in Canada is closer to 15%. Although legal, the practice known as a tax inversion has faced repeat criticism from President Obama. 

BARACK OBAMA: That sticks you with the tab because if they're not paying their fair share and stashing their money offshore, you don't have that option. It ain't right. Not only is it not right. It ain't right. 

CRAWFORD: Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown from Ohio shared that outrage Monday saying “Burger King’s decision to abandon the United States means consumers should turn to Wendy's old-fashioned hamburgers or White Castle sliders.” Burger King isn't the first American company to face a backlash. Earlier this month, Walgreens ditched plans to move its headquarters to Europe after an onslaught of negative publicity. Since 2012, at least 21 American companies have announced or completed similar deals. Most of them involved health care companies until now. 

PRIMACK: I think what we're starting to see is industry creep. Where other industries outside of health care are looking at tax inversions and saying, hey, wait, look at Burger King, they did it, we could do it, too. 

CRAWFORD: Now tax breaks aren't the only drop for the merger. It also could help Burger King take a bigger bite, so to speak, out of the breakfast wars. Listen to this, Tim Hortons claims to sell eight out of every ten cups of coffee sold in Canada.  

Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center.