The Los Angeles Times and The Washington Times uncritically repeated the McCain campaign's claim that Sen. Barack Obama "propos[es] to raise taxes on millions of small businesses." In fact, Obama has proposed rolling back President Bush's tax cuts only on "people who are making 250,000 dollars a year or more," and according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, 481,000 -- not "millions of" -- small businesses fall into the tax brackets that would be affected by those increases.
On Late Edition, Wolf Blitzer did not challenge Gov. Tim Pawlenty's false claim that under Sen. Barack Obama's proposal to increase the capital gains tax rate, "if you have an IRA or a 401(k), which a lot of middle Americans do, and you go to retire or, you know, use that money, you're going to pay almost double the rate in taxation." In fact, most distributions from retirement accounts are taxed as regular income, not as capital gains.
The Detroit Free Press and Toledo Blade uncritically reported the false assertion by Tucker Bounds, a spokesman for Sen. John McCain, that Sen. Barack Obama would increase taxes on 21 million small businesses. In fact, Obama has proposed rolling back President Bush's tax cuts only on "people who are making 250,000 dollars a year or more," and according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center's table of 2007 tax returns that reported small-business income, only 481,000 of those returns are from filers with taxable incomes of more than $250,000.
The Hill and Bloomberg News uncritically reported Sen. John McCain's false suggestion in a June 10 speech that Sen. Barack Obama plans to raise taxes on 21.6 million small businesses that file taxes under the individual income tax. However, Obama has proposed rolling back the Bush tax cuts only on "people who are making 250,000 dollars a year or more," and according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, only 481,000 small businesses fall into the tax brackets that would be affected by those increases.
On America's Newsroom, Greg Jarrett cited a Tax Policy Center report on Sens. Barack Obama's and John McCain's tax plans but failed to note that the study contradicted Republican strategist Andrea Tantaros' claim that under Sen. Barack Obama's tax proposal, "an average family making $61,000 -- just alone letting the tax cuts expire -- would go up $2,100."
On Fox News Sunday, Mara Liasson falsely asserted that a Tax Policy Center analysis of Sens. McCain's and Obama's tax plans "said that Obama might add more to the deficit -- because it's unclear how he's going to pay for these -- than McCain would add to the deficit." In fact, the Tax Policy Center found that Obama's tax proposals would raise $700 billion over the next 10 years, while McCain's tax proposals would lose $600 billion, when scored against a " 'current policy' baseline," which "assumes that the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts would be extended and the AMT [Alternative Minimum Tax] patch made permanent."
On Fox & Friends, Ben Stein misrepresented Sen. Barack Obama's tax plan to raise the capital gains tax rate on the wealthiest earners, stating: "[P]eople that have incomes in the five digits ... that's crazy to increase their capital gains tax." In fact, Obama has said he would not raise the capital gains tax on individuals with income of less than $250,000.
When Sen. John McCain twice touted the idea of a gas tax "break" during an interview on NBC's Today, Matt Lauer failed to challenge him over whether economists believe a gas tax holiday is a good idea. But when Sen. Hillary Clinton mentioned her proposal "to get the gas tax paid this summer out of the record profits of the oil companies" on the same program a month earlier, Meredith Vieira challenged her, saying that economists are "saying it's not sound policy."
The Wall Street Journal's Stephen Moore asserted that Sen. Barack Obama "has vowed ... to end the cap on Social Security taxes, which amounts to a tax hike on anyone who makes more than $100,000 in income," and he later asserted that "New York Rep. Joseph Crowley says a couple with earnings of $100,000 could be 'a police officer and nurse.' 'In New York City,' he adds, 'they'd be struggling.' " Moore's inclusion of a reference to "a couple ... [who] could be 'a police officer and nurse' " falsely suggests that Social Security taxes are assessed on households. In fact, Social Security payroll taxes are assessed on individual income.
The New York Post reported CNBC host Maria Bartiromo's assertion that Sen. Barack Obama would "take the capital gains tax at 15 percent right now all the way up to 25 to 28 percent." The Post further quoted Bartiromo: "Sell anything, like a home or stocks, and make a profit ... [almost] 30 percent of the profit will go to the government instead of 15' " [brackets in original]. But Bartiromo's suggestion that the entire profit on the sale of a house is always subject to tax is false; single homeowners can exempt up to $250,000 in gains realized from the sale of an owner-occupied home from capital gains taxes, and married homeowners can in most cases exempt up to $500,000. Politico's Mike Allen uncritically reprinted the Post report of Bartiromo's comments in its entirety.
Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy gratuitously used Obama's middle name and echoed a false suggestion by Sen. John McCain that Obama supports raising taxes for middle-income Americans by claiming, "Under a Barack Hussein Obama administration, you will wind up with higher taxes." In fact, Obama has pledged to establish a tax credit for families.
Discussing passage of a budget resolution for fiscal year 2009, The Washington Post reported Rep. Dan Lungren's accusation that Democrats are "plotting 'the largest tax increase ... in the history of the world' " without noting that by Lungren's standard, it is the Republicans, not the Democrats, who were responsible for the "largest tax increase ... in the history of the world."
In contrast with The New York Times' 2004 analysis of the benefit Teresa Heinz Kerry gained from the Bush tax cuts, the Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, the Associated Press, and The New York Times did not note, following the May 23 release of a summary of her 2006 tax returns, that Cindy McCain also benefited significantly from the tax cuts -- which Sen. John McCain has pledged to make permanent.
Newsweek has corrected George Will's false assertion in his Newsweek column that Social Security taxes are levied based on household income. Will made the same assertion on ABC's This Week, but ABC has yet to issue a correction on the show.
CNN's Wolf Blitzer did not challenge Sen. Lindsey Graham's claim that Sen. John McCain opposed President Bush's 2001 tax cuts because he "wanted a tax cut, a very healthy tax cut, but he wanted spending limitations." In fact, when he voted against the cuts in 2001, contrary to what he now says on the campaign trail, McCain made no mention of deficit concerns or of the absence of offsetting spending cuts.