“Iowa’s airports face loss of some services.”
This was the headline to a story in this morning’s Des Moines Register. The news story relates how the pending sequester will impact Iowa airports.
The future of some regional airports in Dubuque, Sioux City, and Waterloo is in jeopardy.
Here’s how the reporter framed the issue:
“U.S. Transportation Secretary, Ray LaHood, a former Republican member of Congress, urged lawmakers to approve a compromise for $85 billion in spending cuts that are scheduled to hit every agency March 1. Republican lawmakers have opposed Obama’s proposal to close tax loopholes in combination with targeted spending cuts to avoid the across-the-board spending cuts.”
The reporter identifies Mr. LaHood as a former Republican Congressman. Why? He is setting the stage for the next sentence which lays blame on the Republicans, that Republicans oppose Obama’s solution. The implication: that the Republicans now in Congress are the ones out of touch when compared to Republican Congressman of old, such as Mr. LaHood.
It’s sneaky journalism, because Republicans are the ones who proposed the very plan to which the reporter now gives credit to Mr. Obama. Yes, Obama does propose closing loopholes, so do Republicans. In fact, Republican Speaker John Boehner and President Obama shook hands on a deal two years ago to do just that, close loopholes and LOWER rates.
The plan would have been revenue neutral.
It would have simplified the tax code.
Economists agree that tax simplification is a good thing, that it spurs economic growth by reducing compliance costs.
And then the president reneged on the deal.
The president’s plan is to increase taxes on everyone by eliminating loopholes and maintaining rates. He has presented no plan to cut spending, and in fact has rejected two such plans presented by Republicans which call for targeted cuts.
The reporter’s language was not dishonest. But he made a choice on how to frame the issue. He could have just as easily, and more accurately, written the key sentence like this:
“President Obama has opposed the Republican’s proposal to close tax loopholes in combination with targeted spending cuts to avoid the across-the-board spending cuts.”
Instead, he chose to put the blame on the Republicans.