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Bush's Tax Plan "Gives the Most to the Rich" -- 01/07/2003 CyberAlert


1.
Bush's Tax Plan "Gives the Most to the Rich"
The broadcast networks on Monday night, especially CBS, pushed the liberal spin that the Bush tax cut proposals will unfairly benefit the rich. Assuming all money belongs to the government, CBS's John Roberts insisted "the President's plan would give the most to the rich." CBS's Byron Pitts highlighted how "a middle class wife" saw Bush's plan as "little more than a feel-good gift that won't give much to most Americans -- especially the middle class." ABC's Peter Jennings conveyed how Democrats "say that it grossly favors the wealthy."

2. ABC Finds Millionaire Against Tax Cuts for the Rich
ABC decided on Monday morning to showcase a family which welcomes the Bush tax cut plan, but which worries about how "it'll cost in the long run," and how other "critics of the President's plan say it favors the rich." On Good Morning America, Mellody Hobson even found opposition from a millionaire: "A person with a million-dollar income will get an estimated $24,000 in savings. Even wealthy investors like Bill Bartholomay, chairman of the Atlanta Braves, are uneasy."

3. Another Anti-Bush Harangue from Helen Thomas
Another left-wing harangue from Hearst Newspapers columnist Helen Thomas at the White House press briefing. On Monday, Thomas demanded to know why Bush wants "to drop bombs on innocent Iraqis?" She whined about how the Iraqis are "not attacking" the U.S. and wondered if this is "your revenge? Eleven years of revenge?" She also sputtered about how "many countries don't have, people don't have the decision" on U.S. policy, adding in disgust: "Including us."

4. NBC Reveals Saudi Terrorist Wanted to Donate to Bush, But...
A Saudi terrorist wanted to donate to the Bush presidential campaign, NBC News correspondent Lisa Myers reported Monday night but, in a change from the Clinton era, Myers learned that "a Republican fundraiser said no because it's illegal to take contributions from foreigners."

5. CBS's Enron Movie Spikes References to Clinton
Update: The author on whose book CBS based its movie about Enron revealed that the movie's producers removed references to the Clinton administration. Brian Cruver told the Houston Chronicle: "In the book, as far as connections to the Bush administration, to me it was a bipartisan corruption, and I have as much information in the book about connections to (Bill) Clinton as (George W.) Bush. But the movie has taken a more one-sided view of that." Indeed it did.


>>> Now online, the January 6 edition of Notable Quotables, the MRC's bi-weekly compilation of the most outrageous, sometimes humorous, quotes in the liberal media. Amongst the quote headings:
"Sliming Frist's Conservative Votes...And Impugning All Republicans"; "Equating Conservative Stances With Segregationist Sentiments"; "Daschle Is Really a Centrist?"; "Awed by the Greatness of Jimmy"; "Those Costly, Foolish Tax Cuts"; "Mocking Missile Defense" and "CBS's Ever-Alert Watchdog." To read it all:
http://www.mediaresearch.org/notablequotables/2003/nq20030106.asp
For the Adobe Acrobat PDF which matches the hard copy format:
http://www.mediaresearch.org/notablequotables/2003/pdf/Jan62003nq.pdf <<<

Bush's Tax Plan "Gives the Most to the Rich"


The broadcast networks on Monday night, especially CBS, advanced the liberal spin that the Bush tax cut proposals, to accelerate the income tax rate reductions and eliminate the tax on dividends, will unfairly benefit the rich. No story bothered to put the dollar value of tax reductions by income level into the context of how the wealthier bear the burden of paying most of the income taxes collected while at least a third of Americans pay no income tax and, therefore, cannot pay any less.

CBS's John Roberts CBS's John Roberts adopted the liberal construct as he described how "the President's proposal would accelerate tax cuts already planned for the years 2004-2006 across the board, including tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans." A tax cut does not "give" anything to anyone, it simply means less will be taken by the government, but that's not how Roberts painted it as he insisted that "the President's plan would give the most to the rich." (The Democratic plan would "give" money to people since people who did not pay income taxes would still get a rebate.)

CBS followed Roberts with a piece from Byron Pitts devoted to showing how the Bush plan helps only the rich. Pitts focused on the views of "a middle class wife" who saw Bush's plan as "little more than a feel-good gift that won't give much to most Americans -- especially the middle class." Pitts supported her jealousy: "We asked accountant Avery Neumark to do the math. Under the President's overall tax plan, a person earning $175,000 per year could save $3,500. Someone earning $50,000 could expect to get back an extra $1,000. Anyone earning $25,000 -- zero." Pitts let Neumark proclaim: "If you went to summarize this tax proposal as we see it today, the winners are the wealthy."

Of course, the more you pay in taxes the more a cut of an equal percentage provides in tax reduction dollar-wise, but Pitts didn't bother to examine how much each taxpayer in his example pays currently.

ABC also highlighted the rich are helped the most angle. Terry Moran noted on World News Tonight that "at his first Cabinet meeting of the year, Mr. Bush sounded almost defensive, denying his plan was skewed to benefit the rich." Moran concluded that if Bush gets his way we all lose: "White House officials say that with a Republican-controlled Congress, they are confident that the President will get a lot of what he wants, but there's a cost to that kind of success -- a ballooning deficit."

Next, setting up a look at the Democratic proposal, anchor Peter Jennings employed an overwrought adjective to convey the damage feared by Democrats: "They say that it grossly favors the wealthy with little benefit for the overall economy."

NBC gave the least time to the liberal spin about how the Bush plan is skewed in favor of the rich, but Tom Brokaw still put the Bush plan in terms of the Democratic spin. He teased at the top of NBC Nightly News: "Taxing questions. The President's plan for the economy. Big breaks for the wealthy or help for all taxpayers?"

Brokaw opened his show: "Good evening. What's the best way to help the American economy? When Congress reconvenes tomorrow President Bush will have control of the House and Senate. And he intends to use all that power to push through a huge new tax cut designed to generate economic growth in the long term, but in the short term it's mostly generating criticism from the political opposition and skepticism from some economic analysts. This is the beginning of what could be an epic battle."

Now, more about the CBS and ABC stories on Monday night, January 6:

-- CBS Evening News. Dan Rather led the broadcast: "Good evening. President Bush will announce tomorrow another round of tax cuts. They are controversial. Here's why. Republicans say they are necessary to help the economy. Democrats say they are too heavily weighted in favor of the wealthiest Americans. The Democrats are putting out a plan of their own. John Roberts begins CBS News coverage of the duel over wartime tax cuts."

Roberts began with the Bush arguments, as taken down by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth: "With an election year looming, an ailing economy could be a huge liability for President Bush. And big problems, the White House believes, require big solutions."
George W. Bush: "This is a plan that provides tax relief to the working citizens. It's a plan that is a very fair plan."
Roberts: "Six hundred billion dollars over ten years, the President's proposal would accelerate tax cuts already planned for the years 2004-2006 across the board, including tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. The President would also eliminate the tax on stock dividends, hoping to boost investment in large corporations and light a fire under Wall Street. Democrats, who also want to be seen as trying to put money back into the hands of voters, today came out with a plan of their own."
Rep. Robert Menendez (D-NJ): "-that the Democratic economic stimulus plan we announced today is fair, it is immediate, and it is effective for all Americans."
Roberts: "The Democrats' plan is far smaller than the President's, $136 billion over a single year, a one-time economic shot in the arm. It would give all Americans a rebate of up to 10 percent of the first $6,000 they earn and extend tax breaks to large businesses that invest in new equipment in the next 12 months, when they say it's needed most. Both plans also propose to extend unemployment benefits and give new tax breaks to small businesses. They are as much about political insulation as they are economic stimulation, says former Congressional Budget Office Chief Robert Reischauer."
Robert Reischauer, Urban Institute: "Many politicians want to tell the American people, 'We feel your pain.' They also want to tell the American voters, 'Don't blame me if something goes wrong. I tried to do something to help.'"
Roberts considered the Bush plan's benefits to the rich its most noteworthy element: "Democrats are already trying to lay blame, accusing President Bush of class warfare for throwing another bone to the rich, complaining his plan will saddle the nation with even more debt. The President's plan would give the most to the rich and reduce tax receipts in the short-term. But the White House argues you have to spend money to make money."
Bush: "It's a plan that recognizes when somebody has more of their own money, they're likely to spend it and that's what creates more jobs."
Roberts concluded from the White House: "Some economists argue that a stimulus package isn't likely to have much of an effect on the economy. The real drag, they argue, is uncertainty about Iraq, and that by the time a stimulus takes effect, perhaps later this summer, that issue may be off the table and the economy already growing."

CBS then served as an arm of the House Democratic leadership as the network set out to demonstrate how Bush's plan does just what the Democrats claimed. Rather asked: "If President Bush and his Republicans get their version of tax cuts through Congress, who would get what and what would you get out of it? CBS News correspondent Byron Pitts has the bottom line on that."

Pitts just happened to find a woman who mimicked the talking points of Nancy Pelosi: "For Joanne Lessner, a middle class wife, mother of two and freelance writer, President Bush's $600 billion economic plan, as she sees it, is little more than a feel-good gift that won't give much to most Americans -- especially the middle class."
Joanne Lessner, taxpayer: "This is sort of like a box of chocolates. It's nice, I'll eat them, I'll take my $400, and then it'll be gone. It's not a lasting, it's not a lasting gift."
Pitts: "That $400 rebate check will go to families like the Lessners as part of the President's child tax credit. As for Mr. Bush's proposal to eliminate the dividends tax, the bigger your wallet, the bigger the benefit. Estimates are 74 percent of the tax break in 2003 will go to people making more than $100,000 a year, and 25 percent to those making more than a million dollars."
Avery Neumark, Certified Public Accountant: "When you go to the lower brackets, there is no savings."
Pitts: "We asked accountant Avery Neumark to do the math. Under the President's overall tax plan, a person earning $175,000 per year could save $3,500. Someone earning $50,000 could expect to get back an extra $1,000. Anyone earning $25,000 -- zero."
Neumark helpfully pointed out: "If you went to summarize this tax proposal as we see it today, the winners are the wealthy."
Pitts: "Joanne Lessner does not see herself as wealthy but rather as a working woman concerned about her family, concerned about a possible war with Iraq and the economy long-term."
Lessner: "I would like a stimulated economy. So what's the gift equivalent of a stimulated economy? A rollex watch, I don't know."
Pitts: "That's nice."
Lessner: "Not bad, huh?"
Pitts: "And not part of the President's economic plans, either. Byron Pitts, CBS News, New York."

Talk about TV gimmickery over substantive reporting.

[Web Update: CPA Avery Neumark, featured as an expert by the CBS Evening News story above as supporting the liberal premise that Bush's tax cut helps the rich while abandoning the poor, is a financial supporter of a liberal Democratic Congressman and the DNC. For details: http://www.mediaresearch.org/cyberalerts/2003/cyb20030108.asp#4]

-- ABC's World News Tonight. Peter Jennings opened the show: "Good evening, everyone. It is somewhat belated, but we hope you had a good New Year's and that there was reason in your house to celebrate. It's going to be a difficult year in many ways. To name only two issues: War is a real possibility, and the economy is a challenge, to say the least. The Congress and the President are back at work in Washington today. The President and the Democrats have competing plans to stimulate the economy. The President's involves $600 billion in further spending and tax reductions. So we start with our White House correspondent Terry Moran. Terry, the big formal announcement is tomorrow, but we know the details today."

Moran confirmed: "We do, Peter, and this plan turns out to be bigger, more expensive, and more focused on the long-term than many expected. You might look at it not so much as a short-term economic stimulus package than as a kind of sequel to the original Bush tax cut. At his first Cabinet meeting of the year, Mr. Bush sounded almost defensive, denying his plan was skewed to benefit the rich."

After running through the proposal, Moran concluded by warning of the ominous impact if Bush succeeds: "White House officials say that with a Republican-controlled Congress, they are confident that the President will get a lot of what he wants, but there's a cost to that kind of success -- a ballooning deficit. Peter, should the President get a package like this and should the country go to war against Iraq, the deficit could reach a quarter of a trillion dollars."

Jennings then set up a look at the Democratic plan: "The Democrats have already launched a pretty aggressive attack on the President's plan, even before the formal announcement tomorrow. They say that it grossly favors the wealthy with little benefit for the overall economy. ABC's Linda Douglass is on Capitol Hill tonight. And, Linda, the Democrats in the House of Representatives put forward an alternative plan."

Douglass started her story: "They did, Peter, because they say that the President's plan is simply too expensive and will plunge the country further into debt. The Democrats' plan is more modest than the President's -- $100 billion in tax breaks and benefits aimed at lower and middle class taxpayers."

The reason why the $25,000 taxpayer cited by Pitts will not get a tax cut is because he or she pays little or no income tax now, certainly none if they have any dependents. As noted in the past two CyberAlerts, but it's relevant enough to keep reminding ourselves, a minority of taxpayers pay most of the taxes. On October 24 of last year the Joint Economic Committee released the latest IRS data for 2000. Here's the table:

> Top 1%: Adjusted Gross Income of more than $313,469, pays 37.42 percent of all income tax collected

> Top 5%: $128,336, pays 56.47 percent

> Top 10%: $92,144, pays 67.33 percent

> Top 25%: $55,225, pays 84.01 percent

> Top 50%: $27,682, pays 96.09 percent

> Bottom 50%: less than $27,682, pays a mere 3.91 percent

For the press release with those numbers: http://www.house.gov/jec/press/2002/10-24-02.htm

For six pages of detailed IRS tables, in PDF format: http://www.house.gov/jec/press/2002/irs2.pdf

I think I'll keep running these numbers until a network decides to inform its viewers of how the income tax burden disproportionately falls on a limited number of taxpayers and so giving them a larger tax break dollar-wise is hardly unfair.

ABC Finds Millionaire Against Tax Cuts
for the Rich

ABC decided on Monday morning to showcase a family which welcomes the Bush tax cut plan, but which worries about how "it'll cost in the long run," and how other "critics of the President's plan say it favors the rich." On Good Morning America, Mellody Hobson even found opposition from a millionaire: "A person with a million-dollar income will get an estimated $24,000 in savings. Even wealthy investors like Bill Bartholomay, chairman of the Atlanta Braves, are uneasy."

MRC analyst Jessica Anderson caught the January 6 piece narrated by Hobson, identified as ABC's financial consultant and President of Ariel Capital Management. She suggested: "Everyone could use a little extra money in their pocket, but when you calculate how Bush's proposed tax plan will affect different American households, the math is very different."

Hobson explained: "Dave and Eileen Dahm are like many American families the President says will benefit from his new tax cut plan. Dave is a union electrician earning $50,000 a year. Eileen works at home taking care of their two children. A one percent income tax cut would save them $133 this year, but more important for the Dahms is the money they'd save through an increase in child tax credits for them, another $800. Nine hundred and thirty-three dollars in their pocket? Money to help them decorate their home."
Dave Dahm: "Buy another couch is the only thing that I think of."
Hobson: "And that's exactly what the Bush administration is hoping families will do: spend their savings to stimulate the economy. While the Dahms welcome the tax cuts, they worry what it'll cost in the long run."
Eileen Dahm: "I'm concerned about where people, where that money's going to and where it's coming from."
Hobson: "Vaughn White is wondering where his next job will come from. Four months ago he lost his $50,000 a year counseling job. As he hunts for work, he receives $425 a week in unemployment benefits. Right now, those benefits will run out in two months, but under the Bush plan, unemployment would be extended from six to nine months. That's an additional $5100 in aid for people like Vaughn, just when he needs it."
White: "It would take a lot of stress, you know, out of my next two or three months of worrying about if I'm going to have consistent income coming in."
Hobson: "Critics of the President's plan say it favors the rich. A person with a million-dollar income will get an estimated $24,000 in savings. Even wealthy investors like Bill Bartholomay, chairman of the Atlanta Braves, are uneasy."
Bartholomay: "I'll take a reduction, but I'm also concerned -- yeah, I've been very lucky and I'm concerned about deficits that we have to absorb in this country."
Hobson concluded on an up note for the Bush plan: "Of the people we spoke to, every single one said that if the plan goes through, they will either spend the money or invest it in the stock market. That's the all the Bush White House could hope for."

If ABC can find a millionaire against the Bush plan you'd think they could find someone in the middle class who is for it.

Another Anti-Bush Harangue from Helen Thomas


Another left-wing harangue from Hearst Newspapers columnist Helen Thomas at the White House press briefing. On Monday, MRC analyst Ken Shepherd observed, Thomas demanded to know why President Bush wants "to drop bombs on innocent Iraqis?" She whined about how the Iraqis are "not attacking" the U.S. and wondered if this is "your revenge? Eleven years of revenge?"

Thomas also sputtered about how "many countries don't have, people don't have the decision" on U.S. policy, adding in disgust: "Including us."

The exchange from the top of the press briefing at just past 12:30pm EST on January 6:

Thomas: "Ari, you said that the President deplored the taking of innocent lives. Does that apply to all innocent lives in the world? And I have a follow-up."
Ari Fleischer, White House Press Secretary: "Well, Helen, I referred specifically to a horrible terrorist attack in Tel Aviv that killed scores and wounded hundreds. And the President, as he said in a statement yesterday deplores in the strongest terms the taking of those lives and the wounding of those people: innocents in Israel."
Thomas: "The follow-up is, why does he want to drop bombs on innocent Iraqis?"
Fleischer: "Helen, the question is how to protect Americans and our allies and friends."
Thomas, interrupting: "They're not attacking. Have they laid a glove on you or on the United States, the Iraqs [sic] in eleven years?"
Fleischer: "I guess you've forgotten about the Americans who were killed in the first Gulf War as a result of Saddam Hussein's aggression then."
Thomas: "Is this your revenge? Eleven years of revenge?"
Fleischer: "Now, Helen, I think you know very well that the President's position is that he wants to avert war and that the President has asked the United Nations to go into Iraq to help for the purpose of averting war."
Thomas: "Would the President attack innocent Iraqi lives?"
Fleischer: "The President wants to make certain that he can defend our country, defend our interests, defend the region, and make certain that American lives are not lost."
Thomas: "Does he think they are a threat to us?"
Fleischer: "There is no question that the President thinks that Iraq is a threat to the United States."
Thomas: "The Iraqi people?"
Fleischer: "The Iraqi people are represented by their government, if there was regime change-"
Thomas: "So they will be vulnerable-"
Fleischer: "Actually, the President has made it very clear that he has no dispute with the people of Iraq. That's why the American policy remains a policy of regime change. There's no question the people of Iraq-"
Thomas: "That's a decision for them to make, isn't it? It's their country?"
Fleischer: "Uh, Helen, if you think that the people of Iraq are in a position to dictate who their dictator is, I don't think that's been what history has shown. Ron [Fournier of AP]?"
Thomas: "I think many countries don't have, people don't have the decision. [pause] Including us."

I'm starting to think, especially after he went to her first on Monday, that Fleischer calls on Thomas because of how bad she makes the whole press corps look with her over the top left-wing advocacy and defense of Iraq and Palestinian terrorists.

If the rest of the White House press corps had any self respect they'd show disdain for her and laugh the second she starts to speak. If they won't, it suggests they don't think her views are unreasonable. After all, they often laugh at the questions posed by the conservative Les Kinsolving.

NBC Reveals Saudi Terrorist Wanted to
Donate to Bush, But...

A Saudi terrorist wanted to donate to the Bush presidential campaign, NBC News correspondent Lisa Myers reported Monday night but, in a change from the Clinton era, Myers learned that "a Republican fundraiser said no because it's illegal to take contributions from foreigners."

The claim about the Saudi's wish to support Bush came during a January 6 NBC Nightly News story by Myers revolving around her interview with the co-founders of P Tech, the Massachusetts computer software firm raided by the FBI a few weeks ago because of concern over investments from Saudi Yasin al-Qadi, whom the U.S. government has identified as a terrorist financier, and ties of other P Tech staffers to terrorists.

The P Tech executives denied the allegations and maintained that no terrorist has any involvement in their company. Referring to the CEO, whose name I will not attempt to spell and which NBC did not put on screen, Myers relayed: "He said in 2000 the man now accused of financing terror expressed support for George W. Bush, even wanted to give money to his campaign."
Myers to the P Tech CEO: "Mr. Qadi wanted to contribute a half million dollars to George W. Bush's presidential campaign?"
P Tech CEO: "Correct, and I delivered that message myself."
Myers reported: "A Republican fundraiser said no because it's illegal to take contributions from foreigners."

One wonders if he would have received the same rebuff in 1996 from the Clinton campaign.

CBS's Enron Movie Spikes References to Clinton


Update: The author on whose book CBS based its movie about Enron revealed that the movie's producers removed his references to the Clinton administration.

As reported in the January 6 CyberAlert, CBS's Sunday night movie, The Crooked E: The Unshredded Truth About Enron, got in a few very straight shots at the company's ties to the Bush administration, but made no mention of links to the Clinton team or financial support of any Democrats. In addition to several references to Ken Lay meeting with President Bush and Vice President Cheney, the TV movie superimposed images of left-wing actor Mike Farrell, who played Lay, into photos with the real George H.W. and George W. Bush, as well as Cheney.

Alert CyberAlert reader David Fite alerted me to how Brian Cruver, the Enron employee on whose book, Anatomy of Greed: The Unshredded Truth From an Enron Insider, the CBS movie was based, told the Houston Chronicle that by focusing solely on the company's ties to the Bush administration the movie distorted his first-hand recounting.

The January 2 Chronicle quoted Cruver: "In the book, as far as connections to the Bush administration, to me it was a bipartisan corruption, and I have as much information in the book about connections to (Bill) Clinton as (George W.) Bush. But the movie has taken a more one-sided view of that."

For the Houston Chronicle story in full with a picture of Cruver: http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/story.hts/ae/tv/1721055

For the January 6 CyberAlert item, which also relates how the movie opened with a character played by Brian Dennehy basking in 1986 over how he could become "filthy, stinking rich" thanks to "Reagan in the White House, tax cuts, deregulation," go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/cyberalerts/2003/cyb20030106.asp#1

> Tuesday night on MSNBC's Donahue: Tom Brokaw for the hour. Those who saw Monday's Donahue heard a very angry Al Franken denouncing Bernard Goldberg for citing in his book a quote by John Chancellor, supposedly taken out of context, provided by a "right-wing watchdog group." That would be us, I'm proud to say, especially since it so annoyed Franken. And Franken's out of context argument was silly. Possibly more in the next CyberAlert if we have time to get to it. -- Brent Baker