Continuing to mischaracterize polls showing that the public prefers Democrats over Republicans on handling taxes, Chris Matthews acknowledged that "the latest polling shows that people trust Democrats more" on taxes, but still stated that the polls referred to "tax cutting" and suggested that the results were surprising because "nobody has ever accused the Democrats of tax cutting." In fact, the polls asked more broadly about tax policy, not merely "tax cutting," and contrary to Matthews's suggestion that Democrats do not cut taxes, numerous Democrats have enacted or proposed tax cuts in recent years.
On the CBS Evening News, Washington correspondent Bob Orr characterized a recent Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulations proposal allowing tax return preparers to sell information from returns to third parties as spelling out a "loophole of sorts" that has "been around for more than 30 years." In fact, in permitting sales to third parties, the new proposal would allow tax preparers to do something they are not currently permitted to do; under current law, they can pass on such information only to affiliates.
NBC News correspondent David Gregory uncritically reported a claim by "Republican leaders" that the "president's strengths, like tax cuts or tough anti-terror measures, have been overlooked" because of Americans' concern over the war in Iraq. Gregory ignored the most recent polling on the subject -- a Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll -- which found that 43 percent of Americans trust Democrats to do "a better job of handling taxes" than the president. In that poll, only 34 percent said the president would do a better job. And regarding "tough anti-terror" measures, polls indicate that American approval of the president on terrorism is decidedly more mixed than Gregory's statement suggested.
Major newspapers and broadcast and cable TV news largely ignored a peaceful religious protest against budget cuts to social programs in which more than 100 people were arrested. A search of the Nexis "major newspapers" database -- which contains 87 newspapers -- turned up only 10 mentions of the event.
A New York Times report ignored the primary reason that the Senate has failed to act to reform the alternative minimum tax (AMT) -- so Senate Republicans can improve the chance of passing capital gains and dividend tax cuts next year as part of the same reconciliation package. The article also omitted the reasons why Democrats object to the tax-cut plan -- they would benefit the wealthy on the heels of spending cuts that targeted the poor and would far outweigh recently approved spending cuts.
In covering the House of Representatives' approval of extending tax breaks on investment income, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and the Associated Press did not mention that the cost of the tax-cut package far exceeds recent spending cuts.
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