By Scott Moore of Portland, Oregon. Scott is the Communications Director for Our Oregon and was a political reporter and news editor for the Portland Mercury.
For anybody still wondering just how much the Oregonian has shifted to the right since being taken over by N. Christian Anderson, here’s another exhibit in the long and ever-lengthening pile of evidence.
Even when our newspaper of record is discrediting false claims made by anti-tax ideologues, it STILL manages to promote false, anti-tax talking points.
Case in point: On Tuesday, the paper’s PolitiFact Oregon operation issued a takedown of some of Rob Cornilles’s claims about Suzanne Bonamici. But to get there, they decided to lead off with a bit of loaded rhetoric. “Tax increases remain unpopular with voters…” were literally the first words in the article.
There were no citations given for this claim, and certainly none of the context or nuance the PolitiFact writers demand from their subjects. Instead, we get a blanket statement about tax increases being unpopular. It’s the kind of statement that unfortunately becomes “conventional wisdom” solely because it’s repeated so often—despite being completely untrue.
Here are the facts:
The last time the popularity of raising taxes was tested statewide, they proved to be really, really popular. Measures 66 & 67 won with about 54% of the vote—a higher margin than just about any statewide politician in recent memory. (The results in CD1 were even slightly higher than the state average, at about 54.5%.) There’s no evidence to suggest that there’s less support for higher taxes on large corporations and the rich today than there was in January 2010.
Looking nationally, there’s been a cavalcade of polling in the past year showing that tax increases on corporations and the rich are extremely popular. Here’s just a few:
October 11, 2011, Bloomberg / Washington Post: Two-thirds of Americans (including more than half of Republicans) back higher taxes on the rich
September 20, 2011, Gallup: 70% favor increasing taxes on corporations, 66% favor increasing taxes on the rich
August 10, 2011, CNN / ORC International: 63% favor taxes on higher income households and businesses
April 18, 2011, McClatchy-Marist: 64% favor higher taxes on incomes above $250,000
January 3, 2011, Vanity Fair / 60 minutes: 61% in favor of taxes on the rich to balance the budget
Clearly, the claim that “tax increases remain unpopular” is just plain false.
Sure, there are broad-based taxes that have failed in Oregon and elsewhere. If the claim was: “Despite wide support for targeted tax increases on the rich, broad-based tax increases remain unpopular.” PolitiFact would be in safe territory. But that’s not what they said. They issued a blanket statement that “tax increases are unpopular,” even though that claim is plainly False.
Between this and their patently ridiculous claim that Cornilles isn’t “the original Tea Party candidate”—despite those exact words coming out of his mouth and his clear courting of the Tea Party vote—one has to marvel at how N. Christian Anderson has turned the Fact Check page into the Opinion page.
Shouldn’t PolitiFact Oregon be held to the same standard of truth they claim to apply to everyone else?
Jan. 12, 2012 | |