Romney’s Latest Gaffe: Telling the Truth on Taxes

We’re familiar with campaign reports that don’t do enough factchecking. But here’s a  strange one from ABC World News (9/25/12), which seems to be complaining that Mitt Romney departed from his usual misleading claims about how Obama’s been raising your taxes.

Pointing this out would be a good thing. The problem is that you have a hard time figuring out what the facts are, because the truth doesn’t seem to be the primary concern of the segment.

Here’s what correspondent David Muir said:

MUIR: Today, something from Romney about the President we haven’t heard before. Romney has long argued the president raised taxes on Americans in his first term. But today he appeared to argue the president had not done so.

MITT ROMNEY: His idea now…he’s got one new idea. I admit this, he has one thing he did not do in his first four years he’s said he’s going to do in the next four years, which is to raise taxes.

MUIR: Tonight, the campaign would not say Romney made a mistake standing there, instead standing by its argument before, that the president has raised taxes.

So the “news”  is that Romney said something different from what he usually says about Obama raising taxes. His usual claim is, by reasonable standards, either false or highly misleading, given the array of tax cuts most Americans have seen over the past four years.

But ABC seems to be less interested in what is true and more concerned with whether Romney committed an unusual kind of gaffe–the “mistake” of telling the truth instead of the usual lie. Muir even helpfully notes that the campaign stands by its old claim that Obama raised taxes.

At the end of the report, Muir notes:

Now, on that issue of taxes, what the governor said here today, talking about those taxes, the president did not raise income tax rates in his first term, though has proposed raising taxes on families earning $250,000 or more.

Does it all makes sense now?

Muir isn’t the only reporter who didn’t seem to want to figure out which claims were accurate. Reporting on the same statement, NBC‘s Chuck Todd had this to say (NBC Nightly News, 9/25/12):

That last little comment by Mitt Romney today about not raising taxes in his first four years did raise some eyebrows with conservatives, by the way.

Well, that’s helpful, isn’t it?

About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.