CNN’s Costello Lets Liberal Guest Smear Romney Without Proof of Wrongdoing

On Monday morning's edition of “CNN Newsroom,” host Carol Costello interviewed liberal writer Nicholas Shaxson, who accused Gov. Mitt Romney of breaking tax laws but provided no evidence to back up his charge.

Shaxson was the author of a hit piece in Vanity Fair magazine that accused the presumptive Republican presidential candidate of having a “buried treasure” in undisclosed overseas accounts. Instead of questioning Shaxon for making such a charged accusation, Costello let him talk almost uninterrupted.

During Monday's discussion, Costello asked Shaxson a reasonable question:

As far as we know though, Mitt Romney has done nothing wrong. He's done absolutely nothing wrong. So why should voters care about these things?

The British author replied that the mantra of Romney's campaign has been: “We have followed every law scrupulously.”

“My article decided to explore, is this actually true that he has broken no laws, paid all the taxes he owes and no more?” Shaxson continued before stating:

In fact, the answer to that question is not completely straightforward. In tax law and in other laws, there is generally a gray area between the legal and the illegal, tax avoidance and tax evasion, and there's quite a big gray area and financial players such as Mitt Romney have routinely strolled into this gray area.

A simple “Yes” or “No” would have been sufficient, but the liberal writer went on to say that “Romney has shown on a number of occasions that he's content to stroll confidently into this gray area where you are not sure until there's been a resolution by the IRS or someone else that this is strictly legal or not.”

There is a question mark. It is the mantra that it is completely legal and there's nothing wrong with it. That statement needs questioning further.

In other words, the GOP candidate can be considered a law breaker, and we must investigate until we find proof of what laws he's broken.

After watching the interview, Joel Pollak of stated that “Shaxson fails to cite a single example of wrongdoing by Romney, that he fails to cite a single inquiry by the IRS, and that he claims that since other 'financial players' may have acted wrongly, Romney can be presumed guilty.”

Pollak added that Costello never questioned her guest on any of his points—and that it appears no one from the Romney campaign was invited on the program “to rebut Shaxson's wild accusations.”

CNN never explains what is wrong with Romney investing overseas—as government-run General Motors does, offshoring manufacturing and sales to China, for example.

“And note the irony of Shaxson appearing from overseas, via Skype, to blast Romney for investing overseas,” Pollak added. “If it is not OK for Americans to profit from foreign countries, why is it OK for CNN and the Obama campaign to profit from foreign correspondents?”

The correspondent concluded by calling the Vanity Fair article “old news” and noted that the interview is further proof that “CNN is in the tank” for Obama.

As NewsBusters noted last Thursday, Monday's interview wasn't the first time the Vanity Fair article was used to attack the former Massachusetts governor.

On NBC's “Today Show” that morning, reporter John Mott said the article scrutinizing Romney's wealth estimated it “as high as a quarter-billion dollars” but could not indicate “how much of that fortune may sit in tax shelters overseas.”

Nevertheless, “Gov. Romney has long maintained that a lot of his investments are in a blind trust that he neither controls nor oversees,” Mott added.

2012 Presidential CNN CNN Newsroom Nicholas Shaxson Carol Costello Mitt Romney