Hollywood has an unabashed leftward tilt, and its powerful influence on American culture is undeniable. That’s why it’s problematic when films like the new film “Vice” distorts the truth to make conservatives appear sinister.
John Kartch, communications director of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), called out this bias in an op-ed for The Daily Caller: “In its brief portrayal of the death tax, the movie ‘Vice’ starring Christian Bale as Dick Cheney manages to get pretty much everything wrong.”
Kartch outlines how the film portrays his boss, Grover Norquist, the founder of ATR, as willfully manipulating the public through slick, focus-group messaging about the nature of the taxation that occurs after successful, hardworking individuals pass away, often hoping to leave a legacy behind for their families. The film portrays Norquist as presiding over a meeting where conservatives solidified their messaging around the tax from “estate tax” to “death tax.”
“Americans see the tax as morally wrong and this fact has always bothered the envy crowd on the left,” Kartch writes. “How can it be that people of all income levels oppose the tax on principle? Thus the left and the makers of ‘VICE’ have tried hard to create a mythology to convince themselves that Americans were duped en masse by some slick buzzword cooked up by a PR genius. It helps the left console itself.”
Kartch also points out that “Vice” pretends the term “death tax” was not already in wide use by the time George W. Bush and Dick Cheney assumed office.
“Throughout the 1900s, a variety of media outlets across the country used the term, organically and independently,” Kartch writes.
“Even the New York Times used the term repeatedly. A 1922 NYT piece describes a ‘Fight Over Death Taxes — New York and Pennsylvania Claim Jurisdiction Over $500,000 Estate.’ A 1976 NYT article on a bill in the state legislature notes, ‘NYS Assembly and Sen leaders have separately drawn up legis to ease death-tax burden on family farms … The Washington Post used it in a 1984 article about the Howard Hughes estate, pointing out that Nevada is “a state that has no death tax.” The term was used in the 1980s and 1990s in Michigan during a lengthy, high profile state death tax repeal battle. The Boston Herald and Orange County Register editorialized against the “death tax” in 1992 and the Chicago Tribune did the same in 1993. The term was also used in professional tax and finance journals.”