When Mother Jones released a video showing Mitt Romney disparaging the 47 percent of Americans who pay no income tax, the story immediately took hold on all the major news networks. However, not every network covered the story equally, or in the same fashion. To MSNBC and CNN the Romney remarks were covered as a “gaffe” and factcheckers quickly pointed out that, contrary to Romney’s claim, many of the 47 percent are hardworking Americans or seniors who now live on Social Security after paying into the federal treasury for most of their lives. Fox News, on the other hand, first tried to dismiss the story as irrelevant, and then tried to bring up an Obama video from 1998. Last night, Jon Stewart referred to the Fox News coverage as “chaos on bullsh*t mountain.”
Stewart first takes issue with Fox News attempt to dismiss the Romney video, from last May, as unimportant, while simultaneously claiming their Obama video from 1998 is very important. Sean Hannity took issue with the media bringing up the Romney video from “way back” in May 2012, and then spent much of his show focusing on the 1998 Obama tape.
But Stewart’s real issue with Fox News coverage was their apparent hypocrisy. While attacking any government aid received by the 47 percent, Fox News did not take such a critical stance towards corporate subsidies or provisions in the tax code that favor millionaires like Romney.
As Stewart points, many of the people living on government handouts include corporate executives. Many of America’s largest corporations, including Exxon Mobil and AT&T, took in over $222.7 billion in corporate tax subsidies from 2008 to 2010.
Romney himself has greatly benefited from the tax code. Stewart explains that Romney greatly benefited from the current tax rate for capital gains, which is 15 percent compared to the 35 percent tax rate for wage-based income. If Romney had made his $21.6 million in wages in 2010 he would have been forced to pay $7.56 million dollars. Because his income came from capital gains, Romney instead only paid $3 million in taxes. Stewart argues that this $4.57 million handout from the government would have paid for food stamps for Romney through the year 4870.
Stewart then went off on this rant against Fox News:
“The biggest problem with the denizens of bullsh*t mountain, is that they act like their sh*t don’t stink. If they had success, they built it. If they failed, the government ruined it for them. If they get a break, they deserved it. If you get a break, it’s a handout and an entitlement. It’s a baffling, willfully blind cognitive dissonance best summed up by their head coach in what is perhaps my favorite sound bite of all time.”
Stewart then played a clip of Craig T. Nelson, former actor in the television series Coach, in which Nelson said on the Glenn Beck program, “I’ve been on food stamps and welfare. Anybody help me out? No.”