Insanely Propagandic Article from NPR

We hear a lot about fake news these days.  I suggest that this article qualifies.

Put aside one’s views on tax rates.  (Bear in mind, mine lean left/liberal.)  That NPR article very obviously pushes a narrative that it is pure propaganda.  To cherry-pick numbers and twist facts is, I’m sorry, fake news.

The “fact” the article is pushing is that “tax rates on the rich are lower today than in the past.”  The format is a survey showing how misinformed people are today, because most think the opposite is true.

They compare today’s rates to 1980.  Now, if you have as much gray in your hair as I do, you know that 1980 was the year Reagan was elected, and that rates declined during his presidency.  So choosing 1980 is vastly different from 1988.  They are forcing people to define “the past” as 1980, when for many people the idea of the past might be 1988 or even 1998.  Or 2008, for that matter.

Even with 1982, there is a major difference.  Capital gains rates, compared to today, were higher in 1980, but lower in 1982.

Anyway, I don’t want to write a novel, so I’ll just sum up by saying, had they shifted the start date by just a few years, the stupid, ignorant, misinformed populace would have been very much correct.  People hear 1980 and they think the 80’s and Reagan and low rates, but 1980 was still Carter, and Reagan took several years to implement his policy of lower taxes.

(Amusingly, the author discusses the cruciality of wording in reference to the estate/death tax.)

So the public is uninformed only if you trick them by cherry-picking your compare date.  And, by the way, during the 90’s–  which is 25 years in the past — the capital gains rates actually were much, much lower.

Anyway, the entire article is a scam, basically.  If you want further proof, I was tricked by the following comment:

About half of the poll’s respondents (with very little variance by party) said they believe 75 percent of the federal government’s revenue comes from personal income taxes. In reality, it’s just under half.

I thought, Gee, we must get more from business and gas tax and the like than I thought.  I followed the link.  Uh, no.  They counted FICA (social security) as an on-budget tax and expenditure.  If you count SS as part of the general budget, why wouldn’t you count FICA as part of the general income tax?  Corporate taxes and things like the gas tax add up to only 20 percent of the total.

Oh, I almost forgot.  The question they asked was idiotic.  True or false:

The highest earners pay a significantly higher share of federal income taxes than they did in 1980.

Three things: 1980 was cherry-picked, as discussed above.  Then “highest earners” is undefined.  Does it mean the top 1%?  The top 50%?  We have no idea.   And then “significantly higher.”  Significant?  Who is the Decider there?

I don’t want to spend all day writing this.  It’s just that I hate such obvious lying, such obvious fake news, such obvious propaganda.  They wish to push two faux facts.  (1)  Taxes “in the past” were higher on the “highest earners” (whatever the hell that means) than they are now.  Therefore, one is expected to conclude, they don’t need to be cut now.  (2) Income taxes aren’t that critical a component of the budget, anyway.  Which, one presumes, is pushing the idea that income tax rates aren’t high enough to pull their weight.  Or something.

What’s particularly galling to me is that I favor raising tax rates, not lowering them — if one insists on making a change at this time.  But the author of this piece pushes an unfounded narrative to such extremes it turns into a lie.  That’s simply unacceptable.

Fake news, no two ways about it.

Oh, let me not forget the biggest propagandic point:  Don’t you believe what your fellow citizens — or another news outlet — might tell you.  Why, see how uninformed they are!  You just keep on trusting us.  If someone raises an inconvenient truth, why we’ll come up with a narrative to let your ignore it!  We’ll do your “fact checking” for you!

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5 Responses to Insanely Propagandic Article from NPR

  1. Kris says:

    I’m disappointed NPR would write such a biased article with skewed information. Getting the articles published quickly and attracting eyeballs is more important than providing the public with quality information nowadays. With the massive amounts of news outlets now it’s even more important to do independent research and use critical thinking. It’s exhausting. I’m perpetually frustrated and disillusioned.

    In the escapist world of golf, Rory is getting hitched tomorrow, Tiger had a fusion surgery that will probably improve his quality of life while simultaneously hindering his golf game, and Ian Poulter lost his PGA tour card. Also, Shane Ryan said on he’s working on an article, with evidence, suggesting Justin Rose let Sergio Garcia win the Masters out of pity.

    • lannyh says:

      Great post! I knew none of that stuff!

      I knew Poulter was on the verge of losing his card, but it’s sad to know it has happened. Woods gets another operation and I don’t even hear about it? Even though I watched quite a bit of cable news this past week? Rory getting married is great news for me. By June, maybe his life will be settled so that he can win the U.S. Open at Erin Hills. (Note to self: Tweet to Rory that he and J.P. can’t use a pull-cart there.)

      I should make a comment about my NPR article. I sent a link to that article to the author of the NPR piece. Doing so rather than leaving a comment or sending a simple tweet allows me to make a “real” response with quotes, links, analysis, etc. Instead of, “You suck, you’re stupid.” Or even you leave a comment, it will be surrounded by such idiocy. The author of this particular NPR piece, I’m disappointed to say, did not respond. Although, truth be told, she had no response other than, “Yeah, I guess you’re right.”

      Anyway, thanks for all the golf news. Now if only you could tell me who won last week. I heard Dufner was in the mix.

      Oh, I almost forgot. I think Shane Ryan’s theory, if that is indeed his thinking, is hogwash. If you let someone win — and I’m not talking about little kids or that kind of thing — you would tarnish their victory. As badly as I wanted Tom Watson to win, not Stewart Cink, I wanted Cink trying to the best of his ability. And you can be double damn sure, Watson did.

      I’ll keep an eye out for the Shane Ryan piece. I’m a fan, but not being a friend/comrade, I don’t have to color my criticism, if that’s what it turns out I have. (I’m the only golf analyst who doesn’t seek a golf writing tribe; I think Mr. Elling hung the moon, but I have blasted him many times. That’s why this is the Only Golf Website That Matters.) Ryan may think this is a necessary undertaking to get his name back in the public eye. Last I checked, if I remember, he had pretty much become a cookie-cutter political commentator (in tweets and on his website) of the leftist bent. Good luck with that; there are only about five million of them, and most of the famous ones won beauty pageants when they were in their youths. But, hey, maybe he really has something. Maybe Putin made Rose do it.

  2. Autumn Cote says:

    Would it be OK if I cross-posted this article to I’ll be sure to give you complete credit as the author. There is no fee, I’m simply trying to add more content diversity for our community and I liked what you wrote. If “OK” please let me know via email.


    • lannyh says:

      That would be fine, as long as the website isn’t some kind of kook outfit. A few glowing adjectives preceding my name would be a nice touch.

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