Accuracy in Media

HuffPost attacks Jeff Bezos for saying something usefully true about taxes. That Bezos went on to employ snark is probably his real sin here.

President Joe Biden sent out a tweet – well, his comms crew did – saying, “You want to bring down inflation? Let’s make sure the wealthiest corporations pay their fair share. “ That doesn’t really make sense in economic terms. The tax rates of corporations and the inflation rate aren’t connected even in the most tenuous manner. So, Bezos responded: “The newly created Disinformation Board should review this tweet, or maybe they need to form a new Non Sequitur Board instead. Raising corp taxes is fine to discuss. Taming inflation is critical to discuss. Mushing them together is just misdirection. “

The fun here is that snark – the new Disinformation Board is indeed supposed to tell us when folks are trying to mislead us. Connecting the corporate income tax rate to inflation is at least somewhat misleading. So, Biden (or his comms team) should be referring themselves to their own new disinformation board. Burn.

At which point HuffPost and others get all huffy and start shouting that of course, a billionaire business owner will be in favor of lower business taxes and so on. Except, of course. Bezos didn’t actually say that. He said they’re different issues, corporate tax and inflation, and best to discuss them as the two different things they are.

What makes it all even more delicious is that there are taxes that would reduce inflation. But the corporate income tax isn’t one of them. Inflation is, essentially, too much money chasing too few things. So, to reduce inflation it is possible – not wise, we don’t recommend it, but it is possible – to tax that extra money off people so they don;t have “too much” to chase those few things to buy with. But that means it has to be the people with the money who are taxed – you and me. Sales taxes, higher income taxes on us, or higher FICA tax rates. Those are the things that would reduce inflation. So, even if HuffPost (and Biden) really do mean higher taxes to reduce inflation they have to be taxes on us, not corporates, to do so.

HuffPost is a major part of the modern media landscape. They rank at number 25 among all news and media outlets in the U.S. They gain some 60 million visits a month as they do so. A substantial portion of our fellows gets their news here.

It’s not just that they’re wrong here. It’s that the bias is so obvious. Somebody snarks at that nice Biden so there must be a pile-on. No discussion of the facts of the case, just the pile on. Which really isn’t good journalism now, is it?  

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