The New York Times Editorial Board has taken over the @NYTOpinion Twitter account and is using it as a platform to lobby against the Republican tax bill.
The move is an uncommon one in the media world, where publications do not usually attempt to so blatantly and publicly influence their audiences in favor of a particular political outcome. More often than not, reputable news organizations introduce political bias by using loaded language or selectively reporting information.
But today, the Times is going all out, weaponizing one of their official Twitter feeds with the hashtag #thetaxbillhurts. “The corporate tax system is broken, but the G.O.P. is wrong about why it’s failing and how to fix it,” tweeted the Editorial Board.
The paper is urging voters to contact senators they have deemed to be swing votes on the tax plan, which is slated to hit the Senate floor sometime this week. Political pundits, particularly on the left, have widely panned the deal, and the bipartisan Tax Policy Center estimates it will increase taxes for 50 percent of Americans by 2027.
The controversy has largely centered around the tax breaks for the wealthy that are packaged into the bill, including phasing out the estate tax, dropping the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent and cutting out pass-through taxes that allow business owners to tax income on an individual rate rather than the corporate rate.
While many have accused the Trump administration of pandering to the wealthy, Republicans who support the bill insist that the tax cuts will free up more wealth for business owners, thereby enabling them to expand their businesses and create more jobs.
“Most people, half the people in this country, live paycheck to paycheck, so there’s a lot of economic anxiety. And I think just one of the key solutions is faster economic growth, more jobs. And I think the best thing we could do to deliver that is tax reform,” said Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, who is one of the chief architects of the plan.
Natixis’ chief economist Joe LaVorgna pushed back against that notion on CNBC’s “Power Lunch” on Tuesday. “That’s not saying that corporate tax rates shouldn’t come down and there shouldn’t be removal of loopholes. But to sell this as a stimulus package is absurd. Companies have the money to spend, they’re just not spending it. They’re buying back stock. They’ll do more of that,” said LaVorgna.
“In reality, the public will be disappointed if Congress passed this unpopular bill, which would raise taxes for many middle class families to pay for a giant tax cut for corporations and the wealthy,” wrote the Times’ Editorial Board on their @NYTOpinion Twitter account.
The Times is one of the most prestigious papers in the country, having won 117 Pulitzer Prize awards, more than any other news publication.
According to Media Bias/Fact Check, the paper has a “left-center bias” but is widely regarded as a reliable source of factual information. Publications with a left-center bias “often publish factual information that utilizes loaded words (wording that attempts to influence an audience by using appeal to emotion or stereotypes) to favor liberal causes. These sources are generally trustworthy for information, but may require further investigation,” says the media watchdog website.