As the November election approaches, the left-leaning media is taking every opportunity to take shots at presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney, and Vanity Fair is no exception. In the magazine's August issue, journalist Nicholas Shaxson attempts to mar the public perception of Romney's business record and moral center under the guise of "[delving] into the murky world of offshore finance."
Shaxson starts with the supposed experiences of an unnamed source, known only as, "a person who worked for Mitt Romney at Bain Capital" who claims that Romney urged him to lie about his identity in order to find out secret revenue and sales data on its client's companies for Bain's financial gain. Shaxson then fast-forwards to this year's Republican primary contests and claims that Romney only released details about his finances after "other Republican candidates forced him to do so" and that "only highly selective disclosures were forthcoming."
Since these disclosures revealed that some of Romney's wealth was invested in perfectly legal offshore accounts managed by blind trusts, Shaxson brought in a series of "professionals" to question Romney's sensibility in making these investments. Jack Blum, who is apparently "a veteran Washington lawyer and offshore expert," condemned Romney's actions saying that what the former governor "does not get is that this stuff is weird."
The next profound assessment of Romney's behavior comes from Lee Sheppard, "a contributing editor at the trade publication Tax Note," who says that Romney should, "err on the side of overpaying taxes" and that paying what it is legally required "kind of looks tacky." If that's true, shouldn't President Obama, who favors raising taxes on income earners over $250,000 -- the tax bracket to which he belongs -- have voluntarily cut a check to the U.S. Treasury for the taxes he would have paid if the income tax were returned to Clinton-era levels? That question, of course, went unexplored.
Next, Shaxson went so far as to say that though "the assertion that [Romney] broke no laws is widely accepted," it "is worth asking if it is actually true."
After a page of explaining complex financial investments and tax law in which he tried to make Mitt and Ann Romney look shady without directly accusing them of any wrong-doing, Shaxson turned his attention to Bain Capital. Again, he launched into a confusing discussion of complex financial processes which only someone in the business would understand and finished that segment of the article by accusing the company of "refusing to address on the record points in the article" and sticking a response by Bain which accused Shaxson of attempts to "distort" or "cherry-pick" parts of their record at the end.
The article concluded by mentioning that while [emphasis mine] "there is absolutely no evidence that Bain has done anything illegal...private equity is one channel for secrecy-shrouded foreign money to enter the United States," and blaming the use of tax havens for "Wall Street's size and power." Shaxson also threw in a jab at the American public by saying that "many Americans might react with a shrug" at such practices and closed with a quote by yet another "expert," this time from Rebecca Wilkins at the liberal nonprofit Citizens for Tax Justice, who found it "shocking that a presidential candidate should think that is O.K."
With that it seems that Vanity Fair knows all too well that its liberally-skewed electorate doesn't necessarily reflect the mirror the country's electorate. And that's ultimately what really ticks them off.