MRC's Worst of the Week: Obama's Liberal Buddies = 'Non-Partisan' Experts?
One of the favors the media routinely perform for liberal politicians is citing left-of-center think tanks as "non-partisan" entities, who just happen to have evidence proving the awfulness of conservative policies. A classic example occurred on the July 7 CBS Evening News, as reporter Chip Reid cited "the non-partisan Tax Policy Center" as showing how Barack Obama's "tax cuts" are superior to John McCain's.
In fact, the Tax Policy Center is the product of the left-leaning Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute. The Tax Policy Center data cited by CBS followed the liberal approach of portraying tax cuts as a government giveaway, and calculating the raw dollar value of each person's "benefit." Reid reported: "A recent study by the non-partisan Tax Policy Center says Obama's plan would give a cut of more than a thousand dollars to families making between $37,000 and $66,000 a year. Under McCain's plan, they'd get just $319."
That morning, ABC's Diane Sawyer confronted McCain economic advisor Meg Whitman with the Tax Policy Center's complaint that the Republican's tax plan would "add $4.5 trillion to the national debt." A few days earlier, ABC This Week host George Stephanopoulos similarly promoted Tax Policy Center data as proving that McCain's tax plan was tilted to the rich: "The bottom 60 percent will get about $150....The top 0.1 percent — that's approaching $3 million a year — get almost $270,000. How do you sell that as a plan that targets Sam's Club more than the country club?" Neither ABC reporter bothered to tell viewers about the group's liberal orientation.The other side of the story comes from the conservative Tax Foundation, which reported that Obama would shift more of the tax burden to a relative few families: "Obama's plan would greatly accelerate the decades-long trend toward a federal government that depends for tax revenue almost exclusively on a few high-income people....1.13 million Americans would pay more in all federal taxes than 128 million of their fellow citizens combined."
That's an aspect of tax fairness that rarely gets mentioned by TV reporters who seek out liberal analysts to prove liberal points. A Nexis search shows the Tax Foundation has not been cited on network TV in more than three years.