AP uncritically reported Palin's mischaracterization of Obama's tax plans

››› ››› LAUREN AUERBACH

The AP uncritically reported that Gov. Sarah Palin "warned voters about Democratic plans to raise taxes 'on America's hard-working families and our small businesses and a lot of folks just like Joe the Plumber and Ed the Dairyman out there.' " But the AP did not point out Obama has proposed cutting taxes for low- and middle-income taxpayers and raising taxes on only individuals earning more than $200,000 per year and families earning more than $250,000 per year.

In an October 20 article, the Associated Press uncritically reported that Gov. Sarah Palin "warned voters about Democratic plans to raise taxes 'on America's hard-working families and our small businesses and a lot of folks just like Joe the Plumber and Ed the Dairyman out there.' " But the AP did not point out Obama has proposed cutting taxes for low- and middle-income taxpayers and raising taxes on only individuals earning more than $200,000 per year and families earning more than $250,000 per year. Indeed, the Tax Policy Center concluded that compared with Sen. John McCain, "Obama would give larger tax cuts to low- and moderate-income households and pay some of the cost by raising taxes on high-income taxpayers." Even McCain's own chief economic policy adviser, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, has reportedly said it is inaccurate to say that "Barack Obama raises taxes." Further, as FactCheck.org wrote in response to a prior McCain claim that Obama's plan would increase taxes on small-business owners: "[T]he overwhelming majority of those small-business owners would see no increase, because they earn too little to be affected."

Additionally, in uncritically quoting Palin's assertion that Obama plans to raise taxes on "folks just like Joe the Plumber," the AP did not note that Samuel "Joe" Wurzelbacher himself previously stated that he would not see a tax increase under Obama's plan. According to an October 16 report by The Blade of Toledo, Ohio, "Court records from a divorce show Mr. Wurzelbacher made $40,000 in 2006." In an October 16 blog post, ABC News senior national correspondent Jake Tapper wrote that according to ABC News' Chris Bury, Wurzelbacher "acknowledged that he wants to purchase the plumbing business for $250-280,000, not that he would net that much in profits. He would make much less, he said." Tapper also noted that "Wurzelbacher this morning told ABC News' Diane Sawyer that he was talking about, in Diane's words, the prospect, the hope that someday he would make $250,000." Further, in an October 17 article, The Wall Street Journal reported that the company Wurzelbacher has expressed interest in purchasing "reported sales this year of $100,000."

Moreover, the AP uncritically quoted Palin saying that "[Sen.] Joe Biden calls higher taxes patriotic." In fact, Biden told ABC's Kate Snow on September 18 that it is "patriotic" for people earning more than $250,000 per year to pay higher taxes. Biden stated: "It's time to be patriotic, Kate. Time to jump in. Time to be part of the deal. Time to help get America out of the rut." Indeed, the AP itself previously reported that "Biden said Thursday that paying more in taxes is the patriotic thing to do for wealthier Americans."

From the October 20 Associated Press article:

Joe the Plumber, meet Ed the Dairyman.

Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin spoke to a crowd of about 10,000 supporters Sunday in a Roswell airplane hangar, not only making a reference to Joe the Plumber, but alluding several times to "Ed the Dairyman" after seeing someone in the crowd holding a sign identifying himself that way.

She warned voters about Democratic plans to raise taxes "on America's hard-working families and our small businesses and a lot of folks just like Joe the Plumber and Ed the Dairyman out there."

Joe Wurzelbacher, a plumber from Holland, Ohio, became a media sensation last week when Republican presidential candidate John McCain referred to "Joe the Plumber" several times during a debate with Democrat Barack Obama.

Palin challenged the tax plan advocated by Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama, which she warned would expand government and "destroy jobs" by redistributing wealth.

"Barack Obama calls it spreading the wealth. Joe Biden calls higher taxes patriotic," Palin said. "But Joe the Plumber and Ed the Dairyman, I believe they think it sounds more like socialism.

"Friends, now is no time to experiment with socialism," she told the cheering crowd.

Network/Outlet
Associated Press
Person
Sarah Palin
Stories/Interests
Barack Obama, 2008 Elections
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