CNN's Hilariously Weak Hit-Piece on Bernie's Tax Returns... Watch

Palmyra
Badges: 17
#1
Report Thread starter 5 days ago
#1
After much fanfare Bernie Sanders released his tax returns (as he promised he would - your move, Trumpie).

His tax returns showed that in 2018 he earned $560,000 (and paid 26% effective tax on that), in 2017 and 2016 he earned $1.1m (due to royalties earned from his books - and paid approx 34% effective tax rate in those two years).

Some establishment Dems (so much for party unity) and those on the right are using this to smear Sanders as a hypocritical millionaire.

This CNN segment on the issue struck me as particularly cheap and in bad faith. The host is joined by two individuals to discuss this issue - one is a member of Trump's 2020 campaign and the other is a former director of communications for the Hillary Clinton campaign. Not exactly a balanced panel.

To make matters worse, the host herself does away with any pretences of being a neutral arbiter (which would be pointless between two hardened enemies of Bernie anyway) in the very first few seconds and continues her childish and ill-informed anti-Bernie quips throughout this terrible segment.

You can watch it and decide for yourself how fair this segment was and how fair and accurate the points raised were.

Some moments that stuck out as particularly unprofessional and as bad faith attempts to smear Bernie included:

1) Their attempts to use the tax returns to discredit his position on tax reform. If anything, the revelation that Bernie earned an average of $900,000 in the past 3 years (2016 and 2017 were anomalies due to his book deals) and still supports higher taxes for the rich should make him more credible - not less.

2) "Sanders is so lucky to be living in a socialist society" - this is just one comment from the segment where they portray Sanders as being ideologically Marxist and hell-bent on destroying capitalism in its entirety. This is an obviously false and bad faith representation of his policies (based on his version of democratic socialism), which simply call for things like billionaires paying more in taxes, a higher minimum wage, medicare for all, etc (all policies that are supported by a majority of Americans - including Republicans - I might add).

3) At 2.48 the host makes a sarcastic quip that Bernie's response to the town hall question (pointing out that Trump still hasn't even released his taxes): "'the other guy's doing it so I'm doing it too' - is not a good answer". This is a cheap attempt to make Bernie look bad, but it doesn't make sense at all - Bernie has released his taxes whereas Trump has not, so there is no double standard here by Bernie; the host's comment smacks of a cheap attempt to smear Bernie at the expense of basic logic and honesty.

4) At 3.00 the host makes another insulting (and false) comment against Bernie (in the Fox News town hall the host mentioned to Bernie that he paid a "marginal tax rate" of 26%): "by the way, I don't know how millionaires pay 26% - he's got a good accountant". Firstly, Bernie paid an effective tax rate of 26% - not a marginal tax rate of 26% (marginal tax rate is the tax rate you pay on your last dollar earned, whereas an effective tax rate is the average tax rate you pay on the whole of your income). So that's a mistake the Fox News host made that the CNN host here has now helped to perpetuate. Secondly, he paid those taxes because Trump made those tax laws - if you suddenly have a problem with how low these taxes are then surely the more appropriate subject of that criticism is the person that introduced those laws, not someone who merely pays them as he is legally obliged to.

5) The host then goes to great lengths to ensure viewers that she does not think there is any inherent contradiction between earning an average of $900,000 over 3 years and wanting higher taxes on the rich (maybe she gets it after all?), but she doesn't let this stop her anti-Bernie tirade: "the problem is when you're Bernie Sanders and you're railing against people paying their fair share". This is, of course, another terrible mischaracterisation of Bernie's policies. Bernie clearly does not 'rail against people paying their fair share', he simply thinks that their "fair share" should be higher than what it currently is. Quite different.

In sum, this came off as a very desperate hit-piece on Bernie, trying to make an issue out of nothing (hence the lies and insults - they have no real substantive grounds of criticism) to slander his character.

Last edited by Palmyra; 5 days ago
reply
Palmyra
Badges: 17
#2
Report Thread starter 5 days ago
#2
I'm interested in the thoughts of those who i) actually watch the segment, ii) haven't already made their minds up about posting 'I love Bernie' or 'I hate Bernie' regardless of the segment and iii) have taken the time to read the OP.

anarchism101 Napp Notoriety [@various other people I deem potentially smart enough to watch a 5-minute segment and respond in good faith to the issues raised]
reply
AngeryPenguin
Badges: 17
#3
Report 5 days ago
#3
The tax rate is a bit of a red herring, isn't it?

One of the bases with which you (should) elect a president is their convictions. Someone who claims to represent poor people who also has a bank account with millions stashed away is going to have more flak for that than an establishment Democrat who hasn't made such claims.
reply
Dez
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#4
Report 5 days ago
#4
If you're wealthy and support tax reform, you're a champagne socialist, just doing it to appear trendy, a hypocrite.

If you're poor and support tax reform, you're just a scrounger, looking for a handout, being greedy at the expense of others.

Pretty standard ad hominem strategy used by right wing airheads like this, which conveniently saves them the trouble of actually coming up with any counter-arguments to the issue. Character assassination like this is really nothing new, especially in the sphere of American politics.
2
reply
Palmyra
Badges: 17
#5
Report Thread starter 5 days ago
#5
(Original post by AngeryPenguin)
The tax rate is a bit of a red herring, isn't it?

One of the bases with which you (should) elect a president is their convictions. Someone who claims to represent poor people who also has a bank account with millions stashed away is going to have more flak for that than an establishment Democrat who hasn't made such claims.
Absolute nonsense. He doesn't "claim" to represent poor people; he has used his platform to push for policies to benefit the working class for longer than you've been alive. The fact that some of these policies might actually be detrimental to him (which they wouldn't anyway, because making $1.1m in your best year due to the success of a book deal is not exactly mega rich in America) makes his support of the working class more impressive, not less.

"millions stashed away" - Bernie is one of the least wealthy members of Congress and he has been in Congress for almost 30 years now, so he has had plenty of time to accumulate wealth by giving speeches at lobbyist groups etc if he wanted to.
reply
Palmyra
Badges: 17
#6
Report Thread starter 5 days ago
#6
(Original post by Dez)
If you're wealthy and support tax reform, you're a champagne socialist, just doing it to appear trendy, a hypocrite.

If you're poor and support tax reform, you're just a scrounger, looking for a handout, being greedy at the expense of others.

Pretty standard ad hominem strategy used by right wing airheads like this, which conveniently saves them the trouble of actually coming up with any counter-arguments to the issue. Character assassination like this is really nothing new, especially in the sphere of American politics.
Indeed. Bernie has been championing civil rights and the working class for decades, he's about one of the only US politicians whose integrity is actually beyond reproach (or at least should be).

Very disappointing to see this from CNN, I guess they learned nothing from 2016.
reply
z-hog
Badges: 7
Rep:
?
#7
Report 5 days ago
#7
All it means is that CNN have taken a position against Bernie and that their propaganda is going some other way, definitely a woman and the darker the better. It's not CNN who decide these things, it's the people who own it.
0
reply
Just my opinion
Badges: 15
Rep:
?
#8
Report 4 days ago
#8
He's weak.
All they need do is have a black woman get on stage, screaming at him and he will hand over the mic and shuffle off home.
He's got form for it.
When you think about it that's pretty much what he did for Hillary last time when the DNC stuffed him over in favour of her.
If he does run, unlike last time, he had better have found his cojones and be willing to fight
Last edited by Just my opinion; 4 days ago
0
reply
X

Quick Reply

Attached files
Write a reply...
Reply
new posts
Latest
My Feed

See more of what you like on
The Student Room

You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

Personalise

Have you registered to vote?

Yes! (312)
37.68%
No - but I will (64)
7.73%
No - I don't want to (62)
7.49%
No - I can't vote (<18, not in UK, etc) (390)
47.1%

Watched Threads

View All