Tax Day is rapidly approaching and most Americans say the federal tax system “should be completely changed.”
The Pew Research Center recently conducted a poll that found a majority of Americans supported “Congress completely changing the federal tax system.” Pew announced the findings March 19, which showed 59 percent of its respondents agreed with a total overhaul of federal taxation.
Taxpayers’ views were clear from the Pew survey, but the broadcast news networks ignored that clear sign of tax system dysfunction. ABC, CBS and NBC morning and evening news shows all ignored Pew’s new poll between March 19 and March 22. Not once did those broadcasts mention majority support for total reform of the federal tax system.
On other questions, Pew survey participants also opposed higher taxes for themselves. Ninety-three percent of individuals said that they already pay “about the right amount” or “more than their fair share” in taxes. Only four percent said they were paying less than their “fair share.”
Conservative groups responded to the poll saying it looks “like a movement” for tax reform, and shows a “bipartisan majority” want the federal code overhauled.
“The bottom line of the Pew Poll: Four percent of Americans think the tax system is fair. Four percent think they pay less than their fair share. Thus 96 percent of Americans want tax reform that does not raise taxes,” Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist told MRC Business. “That looks like a movement.”
National Taxpayers Union Federal Affairs Manager Nan Swift said while the “Pew Research Center’s recent poll on federal income taxes shows that Americans may not agree on how much, and who should pay, a bipartisan majority does agree that it's time to scrap the code.”
“This is an opportunity for Congress to enact reforms that would create a fairer, flatter tax code, one that's less complex and doesn't carve out favors, and most importantly - one that doesn’t punish success, but spurs economic development and prosperity,” Swift added.
The networks’ frequent liberal coverage of taxes revealed far different views on taxes than Pew’s latest research. ABC, CBS and NBC anchors and reporters often advocated for higher taxes and slanted coverage of President Barack Obama’s tax policies.
ABC World News anchor David Muir implied that Americans wanted higher taxes during a discussion with current ABC News Political Director Rick Klein in December 2010. Muir argued that extending tax cuts contradicted taxpayers’ wishes, since “voters in the midterms seemed so concerned about government spending and the deficit.”
Klein then said that “all this talk in Washington about deficit and debt, and everything that Congress is set to do is going to make those problems even worse.” This included tax cuts, which Klein said meant “less revenue coming in.”
NBC Today co-host Matt Lauer, who earns somewhere between $22 million and $25 million annually according to Celebrity Net Worth, has also pushed for higher taxes. He pressed Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, about whether he would support “tax hikes” in order to reduce the national debt in an interview May 2011. "Why not use an increase in revenues? Tax hikes to help with that debt problem?” Lauer also challenged Boehner about the economic benefits of tax cuts during the interview.
This liberal bent on taxes also showed up during NBC’s Sunday talk show Meet the Press. Host David Gregory argued that raising taxes on the middle class was required for creating a balanced budget during an interview with Norquist November 27, 2011. “If you really want to get serious about the deficit, let the Bush tax cuts expire for everybody,” Gregory said.
In July 2012, CBS This Morning co-host Norah O’Donnell absurdly suggested that raising taxes on middle-class Americans would actually save them money. She said that middle-class tax cuts cost taxpayers $150 billion that year. She said later added that Republicans wanted “to make permanent all of the Bush-era tax cuts, including those for households earning over $250,000. The cost to taxpayers? An additional $850 billion over the next ten years.”
Even though the networks frequently opposed tax cuts, they still chose overwhelmingly to portray Obama as a tax cutter before and after winning his first presidential election. The networks described Obama as cutting taxes more than four times as often as increasing them between September 1, 2008, and August 31, 2010. This occurred despite the fact Obama’s potential tax hikes were nearly 20 times the size of his tax cuts.
Obama’s signature triumph, Obamacare created or increased at least 13 taxes, costing the middle class an estimated $377 billion, according to a March 12, 2013, Washington Post Fact Checker article. The networks ignored that Obamacare would increase taxes in 87 percent of stories between November 17, 2014, and February 17, 2015.