When Are the Rich Not Really ‘Rich’?

If you look at the front page of the New York Post today (3/23/09), you see a big headline about New York State’s “Secret Deal to Tax ‘Rich.'” The scare quotes are there to indicate, presumably, that the taxpayers in question–whom the Post refers to as “anyone making more than $500,000 a year”–are not really rich.

It’s true that such taxpayers aren’t as wealthy as, say, Rupert Murdoch, the guy who owns the Post, who has an estimated net worth of $8.3 billion. But they’re still doing pretty well, with an income that puts them well into the top half of 1 percent of U.S. households. This is a group that sociologists variously refer to as “the rich,” the “upper class” or the “capitalist class.”

Interestingly, if you go inside the paper, the actual article bears the headline, “Gov Plots Secret Tax Hike on Rich”–no scare quotes necessary. Maybe Murdoch just reads the front page?

About Jim Naureckas

Extra! Magazine Editor Since 1990, Jim Naureckas has been the editor of Extra!, FAIR's monthly journal of media criticism. He is the co-author of The Way Things Aren't: Rush Limbaugh's Reign of Error, and co-editor of The FAIR Reader: An Extra! Review of Press and Politics in the '90s. He is also the co-manager of FAIR's website. He has worked as an investigative reporter for the newspaper In These Times, where he covered the Iran-Contra scandal, and was managing editor of the Washington Report on the Hemisphere, a newsletter on Latin America. Jim was born in Libertyville, Illinois, in 1964, and graduated from Stanford University in 1985 with a bachelor's degree in political science. Since 1997 he has been married to Janine Jackson, FAIR's program director. You can follow Jim on Twitter at @JNaureckas.