The Washington Post: Anti-Republican Bias Or Economic Illiteracy?

If you read this front-page story in the Washington Post today, “No-tax-hike pledge creates Republican rift, potential roadblock to deficit deal,” it looks like normal WashPost anti-Republican fare — exaggerating what seems more like a difference in emphasis and negotiating positions into an alleged intra-party civil war, accompanied by a photo of Boehner and Mitch McConnell portraying them as almost grotesquely stupid and perplexed.

But that’s only if you read the text version online. If you happened to read the paper copy as I did today, you see something else — instead of the typical, snide, but rather understated anti-Republican bias, a big, bold across the entire top of page 9 headline screams out a bias against Republicans that is so extreme my first thought was that a conservative had stuck it in as a parody: “To some in GOP, ending a tax break is the same as a tax hike”! Lest you think I’m making this up, here’ a link to a graphic of the page.

I could say a number of things about this hed and what it reveals, but I’ll limit myself to these two:

  1. The WaPo hed-writer obviously does not think that ending a tax break is the same as a tax hike. If, say, his mortgage deduction were taken away and his tax obligation thus increased, he would not believe that he had experienced a “tax hike.”
  2. The hed asserts that only “some” in the GOP believe that “ending a tax break is the same as a tax hike.” What would be real news, unlike this article, would be if the WaPo reporters (Peter Wallsten and Lori Montgomery) or their editors could produce a single Republican office holder or official who does not believe that ending tax breaks amounts to a tax hike (at least if unaccompanied by lowering tax rates).

Boy, those Republicans who believe that having to pay more tax is a tax hike must be really dumb!

Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between anti-Republican bias and economic illiteracy.

Say What? (1)

  1. Michael Paul Goldenberg April 25, 2011 at 5:06 pm | | Reply

    Those of us old enough to remember when there were liberal Republicans (and not just tokens, but people of weight in the party), the notion of “anti-GOP bias” is a little bit hard to swallow, particularly when attributed to any major US newspaper or network (even MSNBC, which has a pocket of progressive commentators, still has far more balance than does, say, Fox, and its absurd treatment of Keith Olbermann, who made them a viable brand, makes all too clear both the MS & the NBC parts of its name). Feeling as you do that WaPo is really so bloody anti-Republican (and no doubt you feel that the NY TIMES is run by Beijing or Moscow or perhaps Havana), then you don’t have to come to grips with the possibility that perhaps Boehner and McConnell are simply pretty grotesquely stupid, hypocritical, and generally reprehensible. Of course, so are quite a few Democrats, and there’s more than enough stupidity and self-interested hypocrisy to go around in DC for both parties to share.

    That said, doing away with tax breaks for the rich and the big corporations is only a tax hike if you pretend that things were always as they have been since the heady days of Ronnie Reagan and GWB. Look back at the 1950s under Eisenhower, ostensibly the heyday of conservative white America. Guess what sort of taxes the rich paid back then. That was a lot more “usual” than the current absurdity of having a tax system that punishes the poor disproportionately to their pitiful means, and gives every possible advantage to the super rich and those always crucial corporations who pretty much run our government and legal system these days.

    Well, I know you will sneer and dismiss any suggestion that any way you slice it, the rich get away with murder (economic and other sorts) these days, and yet it just never seems to be enough for them. What more can they buy? How many millions or billions are enough? How many people living in abject poverty would be too many to buy their luxuries? Those who have no sense of fellowship or solidarity can excuse any excess, and it’s rather clear that the two authors of this blog, even if they correctly see Shanta Driver as an extremist, don’t really get much else right, if anything.

Say What?