Over the weekend, Stephen Ohlemacher of the Associated Press reported that delaying a union tax in Obamacare was killed by Senate Republicans. However, Ohlemacher’s “objective” reporting skewed so much towards Democrats it could have been written by the Democratic National Committee.
Starting from the headline, the bias is clear. Here are the most egregious points:
The headline states “Here’s a tax increase Republican lawmakers support.” Republicans – including Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA), who was quoted in the article – stated they opposed the delay because it was an exemption for liberal special interests. Ohlemacher took GOP actions completely out of context, attacking a well-known stance of conservatives as partisan punishment.
This is an especially important distinction in light of how during the “shutdown” fight Democrats said Obamacare couldn’t be changed. Many Senate Republicans did support delaying the tax – as well as the rest of Obamacare – by delaying the entire law’s implementation. It was the special carve out that was opposed, not the tax itself.
Next, Ohlemacher writes “Republicans in Congress…forced a partial government shutdown over Obama’s refusal to negotiate changes.” This is a typical liberal talking point, but it ignores how the President has been delaying and exempting left and right for his buddies. By now, is seems the only group without an exemption is the general public. Preferential treatment of well-connected interests is patently unjust, and in many cases, illegal.
Furthermore, House Republicans sent multiple versions of their Continuing Resolution over, each a larger compromise than the last. First the CR funded the entire government excepting Obamacare, then a delay of the law for all Americans, then a delay of specific parts of Obamacare and a repeal of the Congressional exemption. All but one was ignored by Washington Democrats – the Senate didn’t even vote on the final deals offered – proving Democrats were more committed to an unworkable, unpopular law then funding government for political reasons.
Finally, the article includes a very misleading statement on what was changed in the law to end the “shutdown”:
In the end, the only change was an income verification procedure for people applying for tax credits to help them purchase health insurance.
Technically, this is accurate – income verification was added to the law. However, Ohlemacher omits that the law originally had income verification, and the Obama Administration unilaterally took it out this summer. In other words, the “change” referenced in the article merely brought the law a little closer to its original structure.
Despite its bias, the article does have useful information on how the tax will impact businesses, not just unions. However, its bias in word choice and word exemption all but destroys any credibility of unbiased reporting the Associated Press had.