So Nice, The MRC Attacked Them Twice
Media Research Center writer Joseph Vazquez bashed a New York Times commentary in two posts a month apart. He also praised a ProPublica story for exposing George Soros' finances -- then attacked it for exposing the finances of other rich people.
By Terry Krepel
Back in February, New York Times columnist David Leonhardt made the logical observation that the economy, as judged by GDP growth and job creation, does better under Democratic presidents than Republican ones, adding that "the pattern is so strong and long-lasting that coincidence alone is unlikely to be the only explanation." Enter MRC writer Joseph Vazquez -- whose main beat is economic issues -- who huffed in a Feb. 4 post:
Three economists lambasted a New York Times op-ed claiming that the Democratic Party is better for the economy than the GOP.
Vazquez, however, failed to disclose (beyond embedded links on their names) that these economists are not objective but, rather, quite biased. Mitchell is co-founder of the Center for Freedom and Prosperity, a conservative think tank that loves flat taxes and offshore tax havens; Edwards is with the libertarian Cato Institute; and Riedl works for another right-wing think tank, the Manhattan Institute. In other words, these are exactly the positions they are being paid to take.
For some reason, Vazquez remained so annoyed by Leonhardt's op-ed that he attacked it again a month later in a March 11 post, apparently because he scored an "exclusive interview" with Riedl, one of the (biased) economists he had previously cited:
An economist ripped the media for pushing the false idea that Democratic administrations are better for the U.S. economy than GOP administrations.
While Vazquez did identify Riedl's employer, he did not explain its political slant, even though Riedl could just as easily be described as living in his own ideological cocoon.
Vazquez concluded by whining that "Leonhardt has not been the only one to advocate on behalf of the Democrats, however," citing other assessment reaching the same conclusion. Of course, Vazquez would never describe himself or Riedl as "advocating on behalf of the Republicans," even though that's exactly what they're doing.
This wasn't the only time Vazquez called on biased economists to attack a viewpoint deemed "liberal." In January, he trotted out Mitchell to help him rant against Washington Post article he ripped as "propaganda that former President Donald Trump’s economy was terrible for minorities." In a March 3 post, he called on Cato's Edwards to bash Times columnist Paul Krugman for having "attacked capitalism for promoting 'too much choice' for American consumers,'" touting how "Edwards ripped Krugman for blaming American capitalism while ignoring that government deserves much of the blame for making life more complicated for American consumers." As before, Vazquez didn't explain the bias from which Edwards and Mitchell were operating.
Tax study flip-flop
Liberal billionaire George Soros signed an open letter in 2019 calling on 2020 presidential candidates to adopt the infamous “wealth tax” on the rich. But he reportedly paid no federal income tax three years in a row.
Vazquez and Palumbo, however, offer no evidence that Soros Fund Management is the same thing as Soros' personal wealth -- indeed, Soros Fund Management is in the business of managing other people's money, not Soros' money alone -- and Soros advocating for higher taxes while taking advantage of current tax laws to shield his money from taxes is not hypocritical, just good business sense. If Donald Trump is allowed to take tax deductions for financial losses on investments -- which the MRC had no problem with -- why not Soros?
Vazquez also falsely suggested that the story was only about Soros -- it actually looked at the tax returns of several other prominent billionaires as well, such as Jeff Bezos and Warren Buffett. (He also glossed over the fact that it says a lot about ProPublica's editorial integrity that the "Soros-funded outlet" was willing to take on Soros.)
So it was strange to see that a mere nine days later, Vazquez was trashing this very ProPublica study because it, um, exposed how billionaires not named George Soros weren't paying taxes, pulling his usual trick of invoking biased right-wing economists to back him up:
CATO Director of Tax Policy Studies Chris Edwards joined Fox Business to dismantle a leftist argument from the Soros-funded ProPublica that the rich don’t pay their fair share in taxes.
Vazquez didn't mention he had praised this very same ProPublica report nine days earlier for exposing Soros. Does he think that only Soros should have to pay his fair share in taxes while other non-liberal billionaires get away with it?
That wasn't the only flip-flop at the MRC on this story. The same day Vazquez praised the report for attacking Soros, Scott Whitlock ranted that "Super wealthy CBS This Morning co-host Tony Dokoupil channeled his inner socialist on Wednesday as he hyped a likely illegally-obtained ProPublica report that exposed the IRS documents of the 25 wealthiest Americans. At no time did the mega-rich Dokoupil worry about the ethics of how this were done or mention if he’d like his tax filings revealed." He then cited the right-wing Heritage Foundation to hiss that "The foundation of the ProPublica report is false."
Weird how Vazquez didn't raise any questions about the report being "illegally obtained" or false in foundation when he was citing it to bash Soros.