Last week, right-wing web and radio and the GOP Reichsministry of Propaganda, Faux Noise, have been parroting a false claim in Reuters that the Obama administration has embedded hidden tax increases for most Americans in the budget. No doubt this wing-nut media frenzy will continue, because they are counting on public ignorance of this:
The journalist who wrote an article on Monday that turned into an embarrassment for Reuters has left the wire service, the company said Friday. A Reuters spokeswoman declined to say whether the journalist, Terri Cullen, left voluntarily, or why. “I can’t really go into any detail,” said the spokeswoman, Courtney Dolan.
Ms. Cullen stepped down less than a month after being hired for the newly created position of wealth management editor. She had worked for more than a decade for The Wall Street Journal Online.
Her article said that President Obama’s budget amounted to a backdoor tax increase for middle-income and even lower-income people, based largely on the scheduled expiration of income tax cuts passed in 2001. But the president had actually proposed keeping those cuts in place for all but high-income families. [$250,000 up]
After a complaint from the White House, Reuters withdrew the article, stating that it was inaccurate. But by then, some prominent conservatives had seized on the article, and a few — notably Rush Limbaugh — insisted that the retraction meant simply that the media were protecting the president.
Inserted from <NY Times>
Now, stripping away the diplomatic niceties, what we see is this. A Rupert Murdoch operative from one of his propaganda outlets (WSJ) infiltrated a respectable news wire (Reuters) to plant the GOP’s favorite big lie: “Obama will raise your taxes.” Reuters, properly chagrined, retracted the story and fired the liar. No matter. The damage is done. You can be sure that Terri Cullen will resurface somewhere in Murdoch’s media empire. I am also confident that we will have to counter this claim with the facts over and over throughout the Presidential campaign of 2012, The only lower and middle class tax Obama has supported is the smokers tax in SCHIP. He would have been better served to tax Big Tobacco directly.