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Are Americans Supporting Fox News and Rupert Murdoch With Tax Breaks? -- UPDATED -- Article Withdrawn

Reported by Aunty Em - July 13, 2011 -

That seems a fair question, considering the very questionable Fox “News” Jihad™ against Media Matters for America over its tax-exempt status. A question that also, apparently, occurred to David Cay Johnston of Reuters, who writes in an OP-Ed piece (carefully labeled “opinions expressed here are his own”):

UPDATE - According to Mediaite Reuter's has withdrawn the story:

Please be advised that the David Cay Johnston column published on Tuesday stating that Rupert Murdoch’s U.S.-based News Corp made money on income taxes is wrong and has been withdrawn. News Corp’s filings show the company changed reporting conventions in its 2007 annual report when it reversed the way it showed positive and negative numbers. A new column correcting and explaining the error in more detail will be issued shortly.

UPDATED UPDATE: The Reuters writer has retracted his original article with an article titled How I misread News Corp's taxes. Please read News Hounds statement here.

The erroneous story as originally posted on News Hounds continues:

The relevant figure is the cash paid tax rate. This is the net amount of corporate income taxes actually paid after refunds. For those four years, it was minus 46 percent, disclosure statements show.

Even on an accounting basis, which measures taxes incurred but often not actually paid for years, News Corp. had a tax rate of under 20 percent, little more than half the 35 percent statutory rate, company disclosures examined by Reuters show. News Corp. had no comment.

Fox News, the editorial pages of his Wall Street Journal and other Murdoch outlets often rail against taxes. Their attacks on government benefits for the elderly, the sick, the jobless and children focus attention on the uses of tax dollars and away from his aggressive efforts to enjoy the benefits of civilization without paying for them.

While Johnston clearly doesn’t want to get into the whole Media Matters brouhaha, he does list the three way News Corp. is able to lower its tax rate: 1). Having so many companies—that can buy and sell other companies it owns—in order to move companies and profits to places where taxes are cheaper; 2). Slurping up other companies that already have tax losses in order to gobble up the losses to apply against gains; 3). Tax deferrals, which can move a profit or loss from year to year in ways that are advantageous to the company.

Johnston not only says all this better than I ever could (numbers are my natural enemy), but he gives chapter and verse—with facts and figures and charts. Oh my!. I wonder if I could impose upon Johnston to commit more acts of journalism and answer the following questions:

1). Why isn’t the rest of the so-called Left-Wing News Media telling you this part of the story?

2). Should YOUR tax dollars be subsidizing a corporation who continually attacks a legitimate fact-checking organization like Media Matters?

3). Should YOUR tax dollars subsidize a corporation that is just a GOP/Tea Party Echo Machine? Oh, wait! Izzat the other way around?

4). Should YOUR tax dollars subsidize a corporation that is setting ‘Merkin society up for Class Warfare by playing the Class Warfare card by saying that “Take Hikes on the Rich” are Class Warfare?

5). Should YOUR tax dollars subsidize a corporation that is under investigation on the “other side of the pond”?

Better yet: Ask these questions of Fox News, the FCC, and the IRS.