BMI’s Seymour Tells Fox Biz Media Manipulating Tax Debate Terms

In the current federal tax debate, the media are "really helping out the liberals" just by choosing certain words over others, according to the Business & Media Institute.

In an appearance on Fox Business Network Sept. 21, BMI's Julia Seymour told host Charles Payne that the mainstream media - "particularly the cable primetime shows that we looked at," had been framing "the debate as tax cuts, rather than tax increases."

Seymour was referring to BMI research showing that the media was using the language of the left and the Obama administration when reporting on the tax issue. MSNBC's Keith Olbermann said on Sept. 13 that "Democrats want to cut everybody's taxes," despite the president's stated intent to raise taxes on the rich. "It was 27 tax cut-framed stories, versus two tax increase stories," Seymour told Payne. The media were thus 13 times more likely to put a positive spin on the Democrats' intentions than to characterize the move as a tax increase.

"Is it the case really that the media perhaps - the mainstream media - has been trying to shape it in a way that makes it, ah, seem better for the Democrats rather than the Republicans," asked Payne.

"Certainly," Seymour responded. "The Obama administration has made it clear they want to increase taxes on the people they deem wealthy. But that's not the way you hear the stories - you hear that Obama wants to keep middle class tax cuts." She cited the "complete distortion" of MSNBC host Keith Olbermann's tax assertions, and included CNN among the outlets spinning tax increases into a question of tax cuts.

Matthew Philbin
Matthew Philbin
Matt Philbin is Managing Editor of MRC Culture