Notice Norah O'Donnell glancing down? Although the screen graphic refers to the Lewinsky scandal, the MSNBC anchor was at that moment discussing the Democrats's $1 trillion tax proposal with Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY). As Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Rangel is the key mover behind the tax plan.
O'Donnell, obviously reading from a document, described the proposal as a plan "to eliminate the alternative minimum tax and ease the tax burdens of most Americans by asking the rich and some corporations to pay more."
My ears immediately shot up. "Asking" some taxpayers to pay more? My foot! I was set to nail O'Donnell for reading verbatim from what I assumed was a DNC or House Democrat press release. I Googled the offending phrase to confirm its provenance and was stunned to find that, rather than emanating from an official Dem source, it came from an unofficial one -- the Associated Press. Here's the phrase in full from this article by the AP's Jim Abrams:
The House's top Democratic tax writer on Thursday outlined a $1 trillion plan to eliminate the alternative minimum tax and ease the tax burdens of most Americans by asking the rich and some corporations to pay more. -- "House Democrats Propose Tax Overhaul," AP, 10-25-07.
Let's try to explain things to the AP. When the cashier at the supermarket inquires whether you'd like to add $1 to your total to help Feed the Hungry, that's "asking" someone to pay more. When Congress raises taxes, under penalty of fine and imprisonment for non-payment, that isn't asking -- it's telling.
What does it say about the AP that it would use a euphemism that might have made a Democrat blush to help soft-soap a massive tax increase?