Did Reuters Yank Article Because It Was Too Truthful?

Big Journalism

Sometimes, the truth hurts. In the case of an article published yesterday at 4:04 p.m. Eastern, it appears that Reuters editors were afraid writer Terri Cullen’s adventure into truthful journalism might hurt their news agency’s relationship with President Barack Obama — so they yanked it.

Published under the headline “Backdoor taxes hit middle class,” the article opened by describing the Obama Administration’s plan to cut more than $1 trillion from the deficit over the next decade as relying “heavily on so-called backdoor tax increases that will result in a bigger tax bill for middle-class families.” Four hours and three minutes after it hit the wire, the story was “withdrawn,” apparently at the Administration’s urging, with a promise that “a] replacement story will run later in the week.”

Why did Reuters pull the story? One site cited a Reuters rep as saying the piece was withdrawn “due to significant errors of fact” and “should not have gone out.” I think it was the language used in the article that prompted Reuters to pull it. In particular, it was the series of phrases shown below that, combined with the one mentioned above, must have made the hair stand up on the back of Rahm Emanuel’s neck:

“…effectively a tax hike by stealth.”

“middle-class families will face a slew of these backdoor increases.”

Perhaps the largest contributing factor to the article being yanked is a list of tax break provisions popular among middle-class families that Obama might allow to expire:

* Taxpayers who itemize will lose the option to deduct state sales-tax payments instead of state and local income taxes.

* The $250 teacher tax credit for classroom supplies.

* The tax deduction for up to $4,000 of college tuition and expenses.

* Individuals who don’t itemize will no longer be able to increase their standard deduction by up to $1,000 for property taxes paid.

* The first $2,400 of unemployment benefits are taxable, in 2009 that amount was tax-free.

The last line of the story was, perhaps, the proverbial “nail in the coffin” for the Reuter’s piece:

* Trickle-down-taxation.

Source:

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