The headline on the top left of Monday's Washington Post is "Democrats Craft New Tax Rules, New Image." Reporter Lori Montgomery notes that House Democrats are "aiming to seize taxes from Republicans as a political issue" and want to change the alternative minimum tax (AMT) to fall more upon the rich.
Forget the AMT details for a minute, and let's not blame Montgomery for the headline writer's bias. But can you imagine the Post covering the Iraq surge with a headline like "White House Crafts New Iraq Strategy, New Image"? Isn't the creation of a new public image something that needs some media cooperation? In this case, the Post seems to be aiming to help Democrats craft a new image other than their very established tax-everything-that-moves image.
Montgomery notes that the Democrat proposal is "still in its preliminary stages" -- so what's it doing on the front page of the paper if it's so underbaked, except a little helpful attempt at Democrat image crafting? Turn inside to the paper's continuation on page A-4, and the headline is "Democrats Try to Shield Middle Class From Tax Meant for Wealthiest Americans."
There is some skepticism in the story from Republicans Reps. Paul Ryan and Jim McCrery, but the article is mostly reserved for the opinions of liberals and Democrats (some of them worried).
One crucial fact that Montgomery omits: who first installed the AMT? Which party always believes in punishing the rich with more taxes? It began in the Tax Reform Act of 1969, when Democrats ran both houses of Congress.
Related Item: Post Forgets Democrats Supported Alternative Minimum Tax (April 23, Business & Media Institute)