ABC, NBC Pounce on Trump Tax Docs, Ignore Clinton on Sanders Backers

With a story from The New York Times breaking overnight, where Donald Trump was alleged to have lost close to $1 billion in 1995, ABC and NBC were eager to pounce during their Sunday morning shows. So eager were they, in fact, that they completely skipped over audio of Hillary Clinton chiding Bernie Sanders’ supporters as basement dwellers, which also leaked over the weekend. “And now, for the first time we’re getting a look at some of his actual returns and how he could have transformed red ink into a huge benefit,” hyped ABC reporter Mary Bruce on Good Morning America.

Bruce’s report was all but a Hillary Clinton campaign ad. “The deduction so large, it could have allowed Trump to avoid paying federal income taxes for up to 18 years. Trump didn't deny on last week's debate stage,” she reported, while making it sound like Trump was talking about the Times article. From there, Bruce’s report consisted of her stating what the Times article alleges with clips of Clinton hammering her opponent on taxes from the previous week:

BRUCE: And he isn't denying it now. His campaign saying in a statement that, “Mr. Trump is a highly skilled businessman who has a fiduciary responsibility to his business, his family, and employees to pay no more tax than legally required.”

CLINTON: Well I’ll tell you what, if not paying taxes makes him smart, what does it make the rest of us?

The reporting on NBC’s Today Sunday was, by far, more dirty than ABC’s superficial reporting on the Times story. Starting off her report, NBC’s Katy Tur seemed outraged that being able to write off net-losses on taxes was legal. “According to the paper’s tax experts, it was a loss so big, Trump could have skipped paying any federal income tax for up to 18 years. And that would have been legal,” a skeptical sounding Tur stated. She went on to knock Trump for not talking about it at a rally in Pennsylvania the night before, but according to the Washington Post the article broke as he was speaking.

After Tur’s report, Anchor Willie Geist turned his sites on Trump by painted his whole organization as a failure because of one bad year, “If you lost nearly a billion in a single year, you're not maybe not such a great businessman and if you’re fighting a rigged system, it looks like you took advantage of it.

Geist brought on Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd to get some shots in as well. Todd took it on the job of trying to drive a wedge between Trump and his supporters. “And when they have a setback like Donald Trump had in 1995, do they get tax-free income for the next, you know, the next billion dollars in income? Is it tax free for them,” he questioned.

Todd went on to lie about the US tax code and claimed the situation was uniquely Trump, “He was able to offset it. The very people he's representing they don't have that kind of break in their tax code.” But what Trump is alleged to have done is available to small businesses too, the only thing “Trump” about it is the sum of money.

While the two liberal networks were jumping up and down over Trump, they refused to report on leaked audio of Clinton insulting the very people she is trying to court, Bernie Sanders supporters. During a fundraiser back in February of 2016, a condescending Clinton referred to her opposition’s supporters as “children of the Great Recession” which “live in their parent’s basement.” Audio like this could definitely hurt her already tenuous relationship with millennials, so it’s understandable why they wouldn’t report it. But millennials have the internet, which renders the network blackout pointless. 

Transcripts below: 

ABC
Good Morning America
October 2, 2016
8:01:58 AM Eastern 

CECILIA VEGA: First, there is this, a big headline in The New York Times this morning, the paper has obtained what it says is Donald Trump's state tax return from 1995. It shows a loss of $916 million. That is large enough, the paper says that Trump may not have had to pay federal income taxes in nearly two decades.

DAN HARRIS: Ands the other Trump story this morning, an overnight speech in which he unleashed on Hillary Clinton. In unusually scathing terms by Trumpian standards, going to say she is not loyal to her husband.

VEGA: We have it all covered this morning. We will be talking to the reporters who broke the big tax story and George, of course, is standing by with his analysis. We begin here with ABC's Mary Bruce in Washington this morning. Mary, good morning.

MARY BRUCE: Good morning. Well, the Clinton campaign is calling this a bombshell. Donald Trump’s taxes and his refusal his refusal to release them has been a central issue in the campaign. And now, for the first time we’re getting a look at some of his actual returns and how he could have transformed red ink into a huge benefit.

[Cuts to video]

This morning, The New York Times reporting Donald Trump could have avoided paying federal income taxes for years. Fragments of state records sent anonymously to the Times reportedly shows that in 1995 Trump declared more than a $916 million loss. The result of a financial wreckage of three casinos, his airline business, and the purchase of New York Plaza Hotel. The deduction so large, it could have allowed Trump to avoid paying federal income taxes for up to 18 years. Trump didn't deny on last week's debate stage.

HILLARY CLINTON: It shows he didn't pay income tax.

DONALD TRUMP: That makes me smart.

BRUCE: And he isn't denying it now. His campaign saying in a statement that, “Mr. Trump is a highly skilled businessman who has a fiduciary responsibility to his business, his family, and employees to pay no more tax than legally required.”

Tell the Truth 2016

CLINTON: Well I’ll tell you what, if not paying taxes makes him smart, what does it make the rest of us?

BRUCE: Breaking with precedent, Trump has repeatedly refused to release his tax returns until a routine audit is complete.

TRUMP: At some point we’ll release. There's no rush. Why is there such a rush? I'm supposed to rush like crazy?

BRUCE: Until he does, Clinton is hammering the billionaire for hiding his financial dealings.

CLINTON: It's probably true he hasn't paid a penny in federal taxes to actually support our military or our vets or our schools.

[Cuts back to live]

BRUCE: Now this morning, the Clinton campaign is blasting Trump saying the Times report shows he avoided paying taxes while working Americans paid theirs. They say it's all the more reason why he should go ahead release his full returns. Dan.

HARRIS: Mary, thank you.

...

NBC
Today Sunday
October 2, 2016
8:01:46 PM Eastern

WILLIE GEIST: More with Kate in just a bit, but let’s begin this morning with that explosion of a New York Times report about Donald Trump and his taxes. The paper says it obtained a portion of Trump’s tax returns from 1995, in which the Republican nominee declared a one-year loss of nearly $1 billion. Katy Tur is here with us in the studio with details. Good morning, Katy.

KATY TUR: Good morning, Willie. One of the worst weeks so far on the campaign trail For Donald Trump just got worse. An anonymous tipster send The New York Times a copy of Trump’s 1995 tax returns showing that he could have avoided paying federal income tax for nearly 20 years. Now the campaign is crying foul, but not denying it, and the candidate is trying to change the subject by attacking Clinton's marriage.

[Cuts to video]

DONALD TRUMP: Thank you.

TUR: This morning, an October surprise for Donald Trump. The New York Times declaring he declared a $916 million loss on his 1995 income tax returns. Why is this important? According to the paper’s tax experts, it was a loss so big, Trump could have skipped paying any federal income tax for up to 18 years. And that would have been legal. The question of what Trump did or did not pay remains unanswered this morning. He says he won't release his tax returns, because he's being audited.

Do you pay federal income tax right now?

TRUMP: My current returns will be released as soon as [inaudible].

TUR: Do you pay federal income tax now?

The Trump campaign releasing a response to the article overnight, stating that the businessman has paid hundreds of millions in city, state, and federal taxes over the years and that, quote, “He has a fiduciary responsibility to his business, his family, and his employees to pay no more tax than legally required.” A point Trump presented when Hillary Clinton raised the same charge in last Monday's presidential debate.

HILLARY CLINTON: And they showed he didn't pay any federal income tax.

TRUMP: That makes me smart.

TUR: The Clinton campaign quick to pounce calling it a bombshell report and saying, “He apparently got to avoid paying taxes for nearly two decades while tens of millions of working families paid theirs. He called it smart. Now the gig is up. Why doesn’t he go ahead and release his returns to show us all how “smart” he really is.” Trump didn't address the tax story last night in Pennsylvania, instead mocking Clinton for stumbling to get into her car at the 9/11 memorial. And accusing her without evidence of cheating her on her husband.

TRUMP: Hillary Clinton's only loyalty is to her financial contributors and to herself. I don't think she's even loyal to Bill, you want to know the truth. [Boos from crowd] And really, folks, really why should she be, right? Why should she be?

[Cuts back to live]

TUR: And Donald Trump is already tweeting this morning saying, “I know our complex tax laws better than anyone who has ever run for president and am the only one who can fix them.” Now, if Trump ultimately refuses to release his returns, it will be the first time a major party candidate has not done so since 1980. Romney did it in 2012, showing he paid about a 14 percent tax rate. Clinton did it this year showing she and her husband paid about 34 percent, Willie.

GEIST: Katy, I want to underline the response from Donald Trump there. You talk to the Trump campaign every day, and you have for more than a year now as you covered it. Have they denied the specific contents of this New York Times piece on his taxes?

TUR: They're not only answering the calls right now in the campaign, at least my calls, and they're not denying whatsoever that he did not pay federal income tax. It's the same thing we asked in the spin room, do you pay federal income tax now? He did not not deny he does not, but he didn’t confirm that he did. If he paid a dollar, most people will say, “Yeah, of course.”  

GEIST: Alright Katy, stick around for a second. I want to bring in Chuck Todd, he’s obviously the moderator of Meet the Press, coming up in just a short time this morning. Chuck, good morning.

Let's talk about the rationale for Donald Trump's campaign, which has been on the one hand that he's been a great businessman, and then on the other hand he's fighting a rigged system. This story would cut through both of those, that if you lost nearly a billion in a single year, you're not maybe not such a great businessman, and if you’re fighting a rigged system, it looks like you took advantage of it.

CHUCK TODD: No, it does. And he took— If you think about the very people he’s appealing too. You know, these working-class Americans who feel as if they've been left behind by this economic recovery. And when they have a setback like Donald Trump had in 1995, do they get tax-free income for the next, you know, the next billion dollars in income? Is it tax free for them? You lose a billion and essentially the next billion of income for Donald Trump he got tax free, because of that loss. He was able to offset it. The very people he's representing they don't have that kind of break in their tax code. So, that's where this could hit, but I have to tell you, Willie, what's more likely on this story is that his supporters they're not going to get dislodged by this. His supporters, they already know he's a flawed vehicle, but that's the vessel they have latched themselves on to, to send the message to Washington.


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Tell the Truth 2016 NBDaily Campaigns & Elections 2016 Presidential Economy Taxes Bias by Omission Covert Liberal Activists Political Scandals ABC Good Morning America NBC Today Video Mary Bruce Willie Geist Chuck Todd Cecilia Vega Katy Tur Dan Harris Donald Trump Hillary Clinton Bernie Sanders