By Jon Dougherty
Despite a deluge of reports from the Left-wing “mainstream media” (MSM) that Americans’ tax refunds this year are lower than average, data released by the Internal Revenue Service late Friday refutes that.
According to the IRS, tax refunds are averaging 1.3 percent higher this year, the first full year of the Trump-GOP tax cuts, than they did in 2017.
Last filing season, the average refund was $3,103; this year they are $3,143.
Granted, that’s not a lot but it’s not a decline, either, which is the opposite of what the MSM initially reported. And of course, most newsrooms have not bothered to correct their incorrect reporting.
“Millions of Americans could be stunned as their tax refunds shrink,” read a headline published on Feb. 10 by the Washington Post. The story claimed, “Many Americans may confuse their meager refunds as a sign that they paid more in taxes as a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Generally, that is not true.”
On Feb. 14, the Post ran a story titled, “IRS says average tax refund is down nearly 9 percent so far this year.”
The second story included a line that said, “Many early filers are still upset about getting a smaller refund or unexpectedly owing money, even if they did pay lower taxes overall as a result of the Republican tax bill that passed in December 2017.”
The Post hasn’t corrected their fake news story as of March 2, the Washington Examiner noted.
Not to be outdone, The New York Times also reported on Feb. 12, “Smaller Tax Refunds Surprise Those Expecting More Relief.”
“The clear but false implication, contrasting ‘Smaller Tax Refunds’ to tax ‘Relief,’ is that the law didn’t really cut taxes,” the Examiner’s Becket Adams wrote.
The Times reported: The tax overhaul that took effect last year promised relief, but now that returns are being filed, some people are baffled. They’re getting smaller refunds — or sometimes having to write a check — even though nothing in their situation seems to have changed.
In a fake news follow up, the Times published a story Feb. 14 titled, “As Refunds Shrink, Treasury Dept. Reminds Workers of Bigger Paychecks.” And on Feb. 22, the paper published a report titled, “Why a Tax Cut Might Not Mean a Bigger Refund.”
The Times hasn’t published a retraction or corrected their false reporting.
There’s more. “Anger, Confusion Over Dwindling Refunds. Is Trump’s Tax Plan To Blame?” National Public Radio reported/inquired on Feb. 14. The Associated Press reported on Feb. 19, “I owe how much? Americans shocked by impact of new tax law.”
Again, no retractions.
All of these false reports implied, of course, that the dastardly GOP and that lout, President Donald Trump, lied about their 2017 tax reform bill benefitting ‘average Americans.’
Becket tries to moderate his initial criticism by pointing out that some MSM outlets — USA Today, CNN, Yahoo News, and CBS News, among them — have been “diligent” in their reporting on the subject. And he rightfully points out that not all returns are in.
But two things. People who believe they are going to get a refund are always among the earliest filers. And the data was available for the Post, the Times, the AP, and NPR to review; all they had to do was put in a call to the IRS.
There are some analysts who have speculated that the MSM is destroying in the age of POTUS Trump — that mainstream media newsrooms’ disdain for him and his presidency is so profound that they would rather self-destruct with journalistic malpractice than cover his administration fairly.
Then again, some of these outlets are reporting explosions in subscription growth, especially. That tells us there is a market for ‘Trump hate’ that many MSM outlets are tapping into, and that journalistic integrity and accuracy in reporting is secondary to the new business model.
But while these media outlets may survive the Trump era, it seems clear that mass-market American journalism won’t.
- Follow Jon Dougherty on Twitter at @JonDougherty10