M-BS-NBC: Matthews Falsely Claims That Compared to Romney's 15 Percent Tax Rate 'Most People' Pay '35'

As NewsBusters predicted earlier, Obama-loving media were going to use Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's just-released tax returns to misinform the public for the benefit of the current White House resident.

Doing his part Tuesday was MSNBC's Chris Matthews who not only told his Hardball viewers "Romney paid a much lower tax rate than most Americans," he completely falsified recent Internal Revenue Service data by claiming that compared to Romney's "14 to 15 percent in taxes...most people who work hard, do well in this country pay about 35" (video follows with transcript and commentary):

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Today, Romney released his 2010 tax return on his website along with an estimate, his estimate of his taxes for last year. The returns show that Romney had a combined income of over $42 million for those two years, that's total. He paid over 6 million in taxes, gave 7 million to charities, and he had a tax rate just under 14 percent for 2010 and an estimated tax rate of 15 percent for this past year. That means he made an average of $57,000 a day over the past years while the average American household makes just over 50,000 bucks a year. Most notable is the fact that Romney paid a much lower tax rate than most Americans because his income came solely from investments. [...]

Let's focus on the fairness issue. We know, Bob and Mark, that we face a deficit for years to come. We have a debt problem which grows and towers and threatens us at some point with real catastrophe. The question is who's going to close the gap in our deficit over time so that we can deal with the debt burden over time fairly. Obviously our system is based on an ability to pay. Here's a guy who's fully able to work but doesn't have to work because he's wealthy with cash. He makes money off of money. He makes a lot of money and draws out the kind of income he really feels like drawing because he can probably reinvest everything, Mark.

14 to 15 percent in taxes compared to what most people who work hard, do well in this country pay about 35, and above if you count state and local almost 50. 


The sheer ignorance or willful deceit on display here should not be accepted by a news organization, even MSNBC.

To begin with, in 2011, the 35 percent tax bracket began at $379,151. Roughly three percent of the country makes that much money.

More importantly, as NewsBusters reported earlier, according to the IRS, the average filer in 2009 paid 12.8 percent in federal income tax as a percentage of Adjusted Gross Income. In addition, 97 percent of filers that year paid 11.9 percent or lower.

For Chris Matthews to go on national television and claim "Romney paid a much lower tax rate than most Americans" and that compared to his "14 to 15 percent in taxes...most people who work hard, do well in this country pay about 35" is a level of misinformation that should just flat out not be tolerated.

If this is the kind of "reporting" Americans can expect from MSNBC this campaign season, maybe each program should carry a disclaimer at the beginning and the end advising viewers that the information presented should not be considered factual.

I realize that Matthews said after Election Day 2008 that he felt it was his job to make Obama's presidency successful. 

Is this kind of ignorance or deceit part of that job?

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Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.