Epilogue—But he doesn’t say nearly enough: Should the New York Times be giving more coverage to Mitt Romney’s tax proposal?
Actually, yes, it should. The truth has been clear for some time: Romney has made the craziest proposal in modern campaign history (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 8/3/12).
Even after extending the Bush tax rates, Romney would lower all tax rates even further. In theory, he would make up for this largesse by dumping a whole bunch of tax breaks.
But uh-oh! As has long been clear, this approach would end up producing large tax cuts for the highest earners—and middle-class folk would pay more! As Obama has been saying on the campaign trial, middle-class people would have to pay more so millionaires could pay a lot less.
The basic outline of this crazy proposal has been clear for some time. During that time, the New York Times has worked quite hard to avoid treating this proposal as news. Last Sunday, the public editor and the politics editor pretended to worry about the ways the Times could improve the campaign coverage.
That discussion was a transparent scam. Clearly, the Time has decided to avoid this topic, as it has done with so many central topics in recent years.
Last week, the Tax Policy Center released a new study of Romney’s proposal—and the Times swung into inaction. The paper devoted a mere 423 words to its news report about this study. Its report failed to include basic information like this about the Romney proposal:
“Millionaires would get an $87,000 tax cut, the study says. But for 95 percent of the population, taxes would go up by about 1.2 percent, an average of $500 a year.”
That was drawn from the Washington Post’s news report about the new study.
Should the New York Times be reporting on Romney’s proposal? Yes, of course it should! But the Times has long since become a scam—a largely Potemkin pseudo-newspaper. The Times pretends to report the campaign, while avoiding topics which upset the elites.
Things are nice in the Hamptons this time of year. Why upset the swells?
How might it look if the New York Times got off its big fat wealthy ass and did some real reporting? In Saturday’s Washington Post, we got a small idea. On page A2, in his normal spot, Ezra Klein did an analysis piece about the new study.
Klein’s piece ran 1041 words. It started out like this:
KLEIN (8/4/12): Romney’s tax plan: An impossible dreamKlein notes the importance of Romney's proposal. Beyond that, his piece provides much more information than was found in that Times news report. If the New York Times has “sophisticated readers,” they should be getting such information in their newspaper’s news reporting.
I can describe Mitt Romney’s tax policy promises in two words: mathematically impossible.
Those aren’t my words. They’re the words of the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, which has conducted the most comprehensive analysis to date of Romney’s tax plan and which bent over backward to make his promises add up. They’re perhaps the two most important words that have been written during this U.S. presidential election.
They should be getting that information—but they aren’t. Not that the New York Times seems to have many such readers. The idea that the Times is serving such readers is just an elite delusion.
In a rational world, the New York Times would be reporting Romney’s proposal in much more detail by now. But please note: Even Klein fails to discuss a great deal of the information in that Tax Policy Center study.
In the Post, Lori Montgomery managed to include one small chunk of the study’s findings about the size of the boon to the wealthy, even as middle-class people pay more. (“Millionaires would get an $87,000 tax cut, the study says.”)
Klein includes none of those awkward data in his thousand-word piece. He took a safer route, saying the plan is mathematically impossible. That’s true, and sophisticated readers should know it. But it leaves a great deal unsaid.
If the New York Times was a real newspaper, it would have been reporting about this proposal a good long time ago. But the Times is all about doggies and dressage and the color of both Obamas’ ancestors.
And the guy who cuts Mitt Romney’s hair!
In other words, the Times is pretending to report the campaign. And its “sophisticated readers” are too clueless to notice that this is a ruse.
Of course, we liberals don’t much seem to notice this problem either. Tomorrow, we’ll start a report on the topics our leaders keep forcing upon us. Romney has made the world’s craziest proposal—and we don’t much seem to care.
The New York Times isn’t a real newspaper—but then, we aren’t much of a liberal world! This produces a very dumb political culture. Dumb and deceptive, of course.
Can a modern nation function this way? Under the yoke of our faux leaders, we liberals will surely find out.
Inquiring minds don’t want to know: For the reaction of Kevin Drum and his readers, click here.
For the sake of clarity, we will make a point we think Drum glossed in his post: As we noted on Friday, the Times has been avoiding this topic for more than a month. The paper’s dismissal of the new study is only the latest chapter. By normal standards, the paper should have been reporting and explaining this topic a long time ago.
Kevin makes a second point, with which we semi-agree. "I don't really have the heartburn Bob does over the fact that the Times runs human interest stories, even if some of them are kind of dumb," he says.
Aas a general matter, we agree. There's nothing "wrong" with human interest stories—until they take the place of actual news. This happened at the Times long ago.
The Times has been avoiding certain kinds of stories for a very long time. In 2009, the Times avoided explaining where all the money was going in our bloated health care spending.
(Please don't upset the swells! The money is going to them!)
In this campaign, the Times has avoided reporting Romney's looting behavior while at Bain Capital. It has avoided reporting about his ludicrous tax proposal. It has avoided reporting about the strange ways he has built his personal fortune, even as it pretends to seek more tax returns.
We liberals don’t seem to notice or care about this lack of reporting. At present, we liberals care about dressage. We care about the way Mitt Romney won’t stop insulting his wife.
When will Mitt Romney stop beating his wife? More on this groaner tomorrow.