story? Members of both parties are conflicted about whether to let the payroll tax cut expire in order to pay for Social Security benefits.
The way AP reported it
News flash: Congressional Republicans want to raise your taxes.
Impossible, right? GOP lawmakers are so virulently anti-tax, surely they will fight to prevent a payroll tax increase on virtually every wage-earner starting Jan. 1, right?
Many of the same Republicans who fought hammer-and-tong to keep the George W. Bush-era income tax cuts from expiring on schedule are now saying a different "temporary" tax cut should end as planned. By their own definition, that amounts to a tax increase.
The tax break extension they oppose is sought by President Barack Obama.
Many NPR affiliates repeated the same line in its news bulletins yesterday, telling listeners that many of the same Republicans who wouldn't let the Bush tax cuts expire are now eager to start the payroll tax again. They'll tax the poor, but not the rich.
The problem? Neither the AP nor NPR presented a single quote from a Republican who explicitly advocates the return of the payroll tax
. All the quotes from Republicans in the original AP story discuss the policy implications of the payroll tax, but do not actually express a position on whether it should stay suspended.
The AP story is nothing more than an attempt to assist President Barack Obama as he tries to use a payroll tax holiday to boost his flagging popularity, and campaign against House Republicans in his bid for re-election.
The "smoking gun"? The second-to-last paragraph in the AP story tells us:
Many Democrats also are ambivalent about Obama's proposed tax cut extension. They are more focused on protecting social programs from deep spending cuts. Some worry that a multiyear reduction in the tax designated for Social Security could undermine that program's health and stature.
That's 945 words into a 1,037-word article. A deliberate political hit under the false cover of objectivity.