The headline read like a press release: “Democrats Craft New Tax Rules, New Image.” It might as well have been one.
The April 23 Washington Post front-page story depicted Democrats as opponents of the “hated alternative minimum tax” out to “spare” ordinary Americans from its evil clutches. The story never mentioned how key Democratic leaders including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) voted to increase the AMT in 1993 and voted against repealing it in 1999.
That repeal was pushed by Republicans, opposed by Democrats and vetoed by Democratic President Bill Clinton in 1999. Out of the six congressmen in the story, the two Republicans voted to repeal the tax. Only one Democrat quoted was in Congress at the time, Rep. Earl Pomeroy (ND), and he voted to keep the tax in place.
Post reporter Lori Montgomery portrayed the new Democratic congressional majority as trying to “restore the original purpose of the parallel tax structure.” But the story she told was one filled with liberal Democrats and left-wing think tanks.
Out of nine people cited in the story, four were Democratic officials and three others included a Democratic pollster and two representatives of left-wing think tanks. It also cited analysis by the “Tax Policy Center, a joint project of the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution,” two more left-wing groups.
Montgomery quoted four liberal Democratic house members, a spokesman for the liberal Center for American Progress and “a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute, an arm of the Democratic Leadership Council.”
Additionally, Montgomery cited “pollster Celinda Lake” who argued against fixing the AMT. However, Lake is more than just a “pollster.” According to her own Web site, Lake is president of Lake Research Partners and “one of the Democratic Party's leading political strategists, serving as tactician and senior advisor to the national party committees, dozens of Democratic incumbents and challengers at all levels of the electoral process.”
To combat Democratic charges that “tax cuts since 2001 have disproportionately benefited the wealthy and added billions of dollars to the federal debt,” two GOP House members were given just 138 words out of a 1,262-word story. That’s just 11 percent to address Republican charges that Democrats were pushing “class warfare.”