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Tax Cut Lies: The Day The News Died

The New York Times today jumped on board with a classic Frank Luntz "Big Lie."

Democrats in the House and Senate put forth a bill that would reduce taxes on the first quarter-million, and then, when that failed, the first million dollars of income for every single American.

Somebody earning $100,000 a year would get a tax cut on all of their income.

Somebody earning $250,000 a year would get a tax cut on all of their income with the Democrats first proposal.

Somebody earning $1,000,000 a year would get a tax cut on all of their income with the Democrats' second proposal.

And a billionaire who pulls down $5 million or $50 million a year would get a tax cut on the first $250,000 or $1,000,000 of that income. They just wouldn't get a tax cut on any income they earned OVER the first quarter-million or million (proposals one and two).

Now read the first paragraph of The New York Times' reporting (by David M. Herzenhorn) on this:

WASHINGTON - The Senate on Saturday rejected President Obama's proposal to end the Bush-era tax breaks on income above $250,000 for couples and $200,000 for individuals, a triumph for Republicans who have long called for continuing the income tax cuts for everyone.

What? "Republicans who have long called for continuing the income tax cuts for everyone"??

EVERYONE would have gotten a tax cut under the Democrats' proposal. Every single taxpayer in America, from the street-sweeper to Bill Gates. Everyone!

While it's egregious that The New York Times would adopt this sort of deceptive language, suggesting that Democrats don't want to give "everyone" a tax cut, it's even more disastrous that the President hasn't been pointing this out.

Or simply saying, "We just want to go back to the Clinton tax rates for everybody. Remember? The ones that produce 20 million jobs and a surplus budget? That's all we're asking for."

But the President isn't saying it - or offering much by way of leadership on anything these days - and the Democrats who are saying it are being systematically ignored by the media.

Michael Copps, the Commissioner of the FCC, recently told Katty Kay of the BBC that we're not producing "news" the way we were decades ago, but instead our media have a "substance abuse" problem, cranking out only infotainment designed to generate profits. Copps said it's putting our very democracy at risk.

There are no more in-your-face examples of the death of real news than the distorted coverage of the Democrats' attempt to give a tax break on the first million dollars of income earned to every single American, regardless of how much they earn.

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Thom Hartmann

Thom Hartmann

Thom Hartmann (thom at is a Project Censored Award-winning New York Times best-selling author, and host of a nationally syndicated daily progressive talk program The Thom Hartmann Show. His most recent books are Rebooting the American Dream: 11 Ways to Rebuild Our Country and an updated edition of "Unequal Protection: How Corporations Became "People" - And How You Can Fight Back." Previous books include:  Threshold: The Crisis of Western Culture," "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight,"  "We The People: A Call To Take Back America," "What Would Jefferson Do?," "Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle Class and What We Can Do About It," and "Cracking The Code: The Art and Science of Political Persuasion." He is a writing fellow at the Independent Media Institute.

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