We have the same (key) reaction: Paul Krugman has written the very same column again.
That said, it’s a very good column. It starts out with an accurate claim about the so-called “death tax:”
KRUGMAN (2/24/14): Health Care Horror HooeyKrugman has started a hundred columns in similar ways. As usual, we had the same reaction:
Remember the “death tax”? The estate tax is quite literally a millionaire’s tax—a tax that affects only a tiny minority of the population, and is mostly paid by a handful of very wealthy heirs. Nonetheless, right-wingers have successfully convinced many voters that the tax is a cruel burden on ordinary Americans—that all across the nation small businesses and family farms are being broken up to pay crushing estate tax liabilities.
You might think that such heart-wrenching cases are actually quite rare, but you’d be wrong: they aren’t rare; they’re nonexistent. In particular, nobody has ever come up with a real modern example of a family farm sold to meet estate taxes. The whole “death tax” campaign has rested on eliciting human sympathy for purely imaginary victims.
Why is this information found in an “opinion column” on page A17? Why isn’t such information found on the New York Times’ front page, reported as actual news?
We’ll grant you this—the disinformation campaign about the estate tax dates back many years. Krugman cites it as a type of practice which is being extended as disinformation is now being spread concerning Obamacare.
That said, has the New York Times ever reported the disinformation campaign about the estate tax as front-page news? It’s possible that the paper has, although we found no example in a quick check of the Nexis archive over the past five years.
More generally, this simply isn’t the type of thing our big newspapers treat as news.
In his column, Krugman goes on to discuss, again, the misleading examples now being churned concerning Obamacare. Will the Times treat this new disinformation campaign as front-page news?
We’ll guess the answer is no.
In one policy area after another, disinformation has driven the discourse over the past forty years. Big newspapers ignore this phenomenon. It’s treated as a force of nature barely worth discussing.
In today’s column, Krugman discusses some very basic news. In a standard bit of irony, you have to read an “opinion column” to learn it.
The best we could find (which isn’t dispositive): Early in 2001, the New York Times published a front-page news report concerning President Bush’s proposal to phase out the estate tax.
The report focused on wealthy Americans who thought this was a bad idea.
The front-page report did not discuss the long disinformation campaign to which Krugman refers today. Disinformation campaigns are news, except in our biggest newspapers.