Networks Ignore Obama’s Decision to Back Down from Plan to Tax 529 College Savings Accounts

In a reversal of a key proposal from his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama moved on Tuesday to drop the plan to tax 529 college-savings accounts after outcry from members of both parties and a direct appeal on Air Force One from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

When it came to the networks covering this backtracking by the President on this deeply unpopular idea that even ultra liberals like Pelosi and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) opposed, the “big three” of ABC, CBS, and NBC made no mention of it during their Tuesday evening newscasts.

Meanwhile, the Fox News Channel’s (FNC) Special Report with Bret Baier did make time to cover the story in a brief during its Tuesday program and highlighted the bipartisan opposition to Obama’s plan:

President Obama has just dropped a controversial proposal to end popular college savings accounts known as 529s. An administration official says the issue became too much of a distraction and that the President wants Congress to focus on his overall education tax relief program. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and several top Democrats joined Republicans in pushing the White House to withdraw the plan to kill the 529s. Just in, Speaker Boehner said, “I am glad President Obama has decided to listen to the American people and withdraw his tax hike on college savings.”

According to The New York Times

Ms. Pelosi pressed the case to senior administration officials on Air Force One as she flew with the president from India to Saudi Arabia, according to Democratic aides familiar with the discussions.

The move was an abrupt turn for the president, who had made the proposal during his State of the Union address only a week ago, a proposal he called part of his pitch for “middle-class economics.”

The same article also brought up the fact that “more than 70 percent of the total number of accounts are owned by households with incomes below $150,000.” In addition, it mentioned the hypocrisy of Obama wanting to tax the plans when he and First Lady had set up accounts for their two daughters in 2007 “with deposits of $240,000.” 

When the details of proposal became known following the State of the Union, the networks did little to inform viewers, as NBC only gave it a measly 24 seconds on the January 22 edition of Today and CBS devoted 21 seconds to the plan on January 23's CBS This Morning

During the brief on CBS, co-host Norah O’Donnell left out any criticism of the plan and touted the vague opinion of “some experts” who said that “529 plans disproportionately benefit the most affluent families who can afford save for college.”

The transcript of the news brief that appeared on FNC’s Special Report with Bret Baier on January 27 can be found below.

FNC’s Special Report with Bret Baier
January 27, 2015
6:08 p.m. Eastern

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Pres Obama Drops Plan to End ‘529' College Savings Plan] 

BRET BAIER: This is a Fox News alert as you look live at the White House, President Obama has just dropped a controversial proposal to end popular college savings accounts known as 529s. An administration official says the issue became too much of a distraction and that the President wants Congress to focus on his overall education tax relief program. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and several top Democrats joined Republicans in pushing the White House to withdraw the plan to kill the 529s. Just in, Speaker Boehner said, “I am glad President Obama has decided to listen to the American people and withdraw his tax hike on college savings.”

State of the Union Economy Banking/Finance Personal Finance Taxes Education Higher Education Media Bias Debate Bias by Omission Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats ABC World News Tonight CBS CBS Evening News NBC NBC Nightly News Fox News Channel Special Report New York Times President Barack Obama President Obama John Boehner Bret Baier Barack Obama John Boehner Nancy Pelosi Speaker John Boehner
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