Choosing battles with NewsBusters

Blog ››› ››› JOCELYN FONG

NewsBusters' David Lanza wants to know why Reuters withdrew its February 1 article, "Backdoor taxes to hit middle class," claiming that the report was "fair enough." Lanza adds:

A major wire story detailing large tax increases on the middle class during an election year would seem to be big news. Yet scarcely an eye was batted when this story disappeared. The administration can ill afford to be seen as raising taxes on the middle class during a recession when the President's Congressional majority is already imperilled. Reuters should be made to explain why this story disappeared.

If The NewsBusters had done a bit of research before they published this sorrowfully wrong blog post, they would have found an explanation (though maybe not the one they're looking for), posted by Reuters yesterday afternoon:

Reuters: Story is wrong and has been withdrawn

The story "is wrong." Don't believe Reuters? Take it from the American Enterprise Institute, an organization dedicated to "strengthening free enterprise" and described by NewsBusters itself as "conservative." AEI spoke out against "appalling inaccuracies" in the Reuters article, the first of which Lanza repeated in his blog post, calling the claim "fair enough" and "big news." From AEI's post:

-The article asserted that the Obama budget would allow the 10 percent, 25 percent, and 28 percent brackets to expire, boosting those rates to 15, 28, and 31 percent, respectively. In reality, the budget would permanently extend the lower rates.

-The article asserted that the Obama budget would raise the dividend tax rate to 39.6 percent. In reality, the budget would raise the rate only to 20 percent.

-The article asserted that the Obama budget would allow taxpayers' option to deduct state and local sales taxes to expire. In reality, the budget would extend that option through 2011.

Or try the Tax Foundation, an anti-tax think tank that NewsBusters has cited as recently as yesterday, which stated that Reuters' characterization of the Bush tax cuts under Obama's budget is "evidence of intentional deceit or terrible reporting," and that "[t]he reporter also seems to not fully understand the alternative minimum tax."

The Media Research Center created NewsBusters "to provide immediate exposure of liberal media bias, insightful analysis, constructive criticism and timely corrections to news media reporting." Far from being timely, insightful and constructive, Lanza's reproduction of Reuters' days-old, retracted false claim that Obama plans to raise all income tax rates and his slow, misguided demand for an "explanation" for the retraction would be as embarrassing as the Reuters article itself ... if anyone expected more from NewsBusters.

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