There are actually three certainties of life: death, taxes and that the liberal media will condemn tax cuts.
The New York Times published side-by-side stories on tax day about the impact of the 2017 tax reform bill. The first was about people “shocked” by lower refunds or owing taxes this April. The second proved that although most people got a tax cut (estimates varied from 64.8% to 80% of filers), many remain “skeptical” that they did.
Blame the liberal media. The press promoted misinformation and denounced the tax reform legislation before and after it passed. For example, CBS stoked fears a deduction change would mean “millions of Americans may end up seeing a tax increase.” The Times also criticized the bill and branded it as a “huge windfall for the wealthiest” in September 2017. It even created a video claiming the bill “could also lead to immediate tax increases for some middle class families.” The Times was one of many media outlets relying on the allegedly “nonpartisan Tax Policy Center” for a breakdown of the bill’s impact.
In reality, the Tax Policy Center is a project of two left-wing groups and actually helped originate misinformation that fed the left’s attacks on the law, according to the Times’ April 15, 2019 reporting.
“The a large degree, the gap between perception and reality on the tax cuts appears to flow from a sustained — and misleading — effort by liberal opponents of the law to brand it as a broad middle-class tax increase,” Ben Casselman and Jim Tankersley wrote in their piece, “Face It: You (Probably) Got a Tax Cut.”
They noted that early models from the Tax Policy Center (which the paper labeled “independent”) indicated the legislation would raise middle-class taxes. By the time it was signed into law, the TPC had adjusted their models and conclusions.
However, “After the law went into effect, Democrats played down those estimates and instead highlighted projections that most Americans’ taxes are set to increase in 2026, after the individual tax cuts in the law are scheduled to expire.”
The facts are clear though. “The vast majority of people did get a tax cut,” H&R Block’s Tax Institute analyst Nathan Rigney told the Times. “just now we have real data to back that up.”
Those dual Times reports on April 15, failed to acknowledge the media’s complicity in spreading misinformation about the tax bill, although one of the articles admitted “liberal opponents” of the law pushed a narrative that fostered this skepticism.
The second April 15, Times piece, “Shocked by your Tax Refund? Next Year Could be Worse Unless You Act Now” joined a chorus of media complaints about lower refunds. It was just one of the few to admit near the top of the story that almost everyone’s “tax burden was lower.”
Both articles ignored the other ways the left and the media attacked the tax cuts. Tax cuts for the “rich” was a common refrain. CBS said the bill was “very much tilted toward corporations and the wealthiest Americans,” and ABC said the “biggest tax cuts” will go to “wealthy, corporate America.” The Times also claimed the legislation could hurt the poor.