Why Won't the Media Push Back Against Liar Think Tanks and Experts?

Matt Lauer was publicly roasted last week after he failed to hold Donald Trump to account during the "Commander in Chief Candidates Forum", but Lauer isn't the only media personality - or "news person," whatever that means these days - who needs to step up his game and press guests to tell the truth.

We shouldn't just be demanding tougher treatment of presidential debate candidates.

We should be demanding that interviewers in the media start calling out so-called "experts" when the experts are caught distorting the truth.

Earlier this morning for example, Morning Joe hosted one of Donald Trump's informal economic advisors, Larry Kudlow, who revealed this shocking revelation about who really was the first president to use "supply side economics", also known as trickledown "Reaganomics"

There's just one major, glaring problem with Kudlow's analysis.

It's not true.

John F. Kennedy didn't invent trickle-down Reaganomics, and his policies had nothing to do with trickle-down Reaganomics.

Kudlow wasn't entirely wrong when he said that Kennedy suggested we should cut marginal income taxes rates, Kennedy's plan cut the lowest earners' taxes from 20 percent to 14 percent, and it cut the highest earners' taxes from 91% to 65%.

But the Kennedy tax code also closed a series of loopholes and tax exceptions, so the overall effect was that the government took in more tax revenue than before the "cuts"

It was, in other words, a tax hike.

And he made it explicitly clear during his third debate against Richard Nixon that his changes to the tax code would increase tax revenue, the definition of a tax increase, and wouldn't be offset by gutting government spending.

So why is Larry Kudlow out peddling this bogus notion that John F. Kennedy, a Democrat, actually invented supply side economics?

It's probably because the early 60s was pretty much the only time in 20th century American history that cutting the top tax rate has coincided with an increase in real economic growth.

As Mehrun Etebari pointed out back in 2003 at www.faireconomy.org, there are at least four simple pieces of evidence that show that trickle-down economics doesn't work.

During the half-century period between 1954 and 2003, Etebari notes that "Overall, there seems to be no close relationship between the top tax rate and the GDP growth rate, and statistical analysis backs this up."

During that same 50-year period, there was also no relationship between tax cuts and median household income either.

Etebari writes that "Once again, the lack of connection between [top tax rates and household median income] is backed up by a correlation coefficient of near zero. [�] And yes, yet again, the coefficient is positive, indicating that income has gone up slightly (though negligibly) more in years with higher taxes."

He also shows that there are no connections between top tax rates and hourly wages or job creation, and he sums up that "[A]ny attempt to stimulate economic growth by cutting taxes for the rich will do nothing, it hasn't worked over the past 50 years, so why would it work in the future?"

But cutting tax rates for rich people does have one consistent and predictable outcome, the rich get a lot richer and working people get the shaft. The past 40+ years of Reaganomics have proven that year after year.

Unfortunately, harsh historical realities aren't going to stop think tanks like the Cato Institute and FreedomWorks from manufacturing research for pseudo-economists like Larry Kudlow and Art Laffer to peddle, on mainstream corporate outlets like CNN, Fox so-called News, or the allegedly liberal MSNBC.

And harsh historical realities aren't going to stop Kudlow from trying to give credence to the terrible failure of trickle-down Reaganomics by blaming John F. Kennedy.

In reality, Kennedy shaped his policies based on Keynesian economics, which is in direct opposition to the Libertarian Milton Friedman school of so-called "free market" economics that's promoted "trickle-down" Reaganomics for over 50 years.

But people who watched Kudlow's segment on Morning Joe wouldn't know that because reporters don't challenge hucksters like Larry Kudlow on TV anymore.

When the hosts of Morning Joe don't push back against Kudlow's fantasies, the viewers may never learn that Kudlow is wrong, just like when Matt Lauer refuses to push back against Trump for lying about his position on the Iraq War.

Matt Lauer's moderation left a lot to be desired during the Commander In Chief candidates forum last week, but it wasn't any worse than what goes on day in and day out during interviews on any of the corporate 24-hour news networks.

It's time that the media start challenging so-called "experts" like Larry Kudlow, especially when the expert is simply trying to re-write American history to tell a story that fits within his or her own billionaire-funded ideology.


Kend's picture
Kend 7 years 39 weeks ago

No one in the media will hold anyone accoutable because if they did they would never get a interview with any of them again. Its a business. They need interviews to make money. said but true.

BMetcalfe's picture
BMetcalfe 7 years 39 weeks ago

The late, GREAT Tim Russert would have slayed Mr. Trump, taken Mrs. Clinton in some respects to task for any deviations, and would have put Matt Lauer and for certain, Mr. Ludlow to shame. He always did his homework.

Tim Russert was the researcher's mentor. He always had well-documented facts and clips/sound bites of previous interviews to substantiate whatever he was taking any of them to the woodshed about.

When Tim Russert unexpectedly passed away at just 58 years old in 2008, he left a void in truthful, indepth interviews for which I fear will never be seen again. Those kinds of high standards appear to be "off limits" to this unenlightened age of ofadvanced technology.

cccccttttt 7 years 39 weeks ago

Good point about the money.

Why is Tom so surprised about the soft interveiws?

He knows that news is just a branch of the entertainment business.


stopgap's picture
stopgap 7 years 39 weeks ago

Personally, I don't think the Mainstream Media is that concerned about making profits from their media outlets. Otherwise, Thom and other progressive reporters and radio hosts would still be on a large number of stations that they were removed from in favor of Sports Talk shows and other shows with zero ratings.

The Mainstream Media is really nothing more than a CORPORATIST NEWSLETTER. If profits can be made; so much the better. But the real money is made elsewhere, in the defense industry, chemicals, "Big Pharma" and so on. But controlling the message is the big reward of media ownership and all of mainstream media is owned by a few multi-national copporations.

I keep hearing that the media reports favor Trump over Hillary because they want to see a horserace for better ratings. I don't believe it. The people that own the media are the same as Trump. They are equally ideologically invested in the Trumpian mind-set of greed, arrogance and power.

If Trump was way ahead in the polls they would be jumping up and down with unrestrained joy and reporting exactly the same way they are now. Their goal is to bury the Progressive Movement and destroy the Constitutional government and establish an oligarchy.

The truth about the credibility of the Mainstream Press, or lack there of, became patently clear throughout the entire Bush administration as the Mainstream Press gleefully waltzed us into the Iraq war. Not to mention ignoring the endless disastrous policies, crimes and misdemeanors of the previous administration.

Make no mistake about it; for them, making profits off of the media can be a nice by product of their propaganda machine, but the real treasure they crave is much, much bigger.

Ou812's picture
Ou812 7 years 39 weeks ago

I would like to see an impartial team of Doctors give a complete physical exam to both presidental candiates and publish the results. The physicals need to take place before the first debate.

sfu1m3r's picture
sfu1m3r 7 years 39 weeks ago

Donald Gibson's Battling Wall St is an excellent historical review of Kennedy's economic policies. Thom's argument appears to be factually correct, but Gibson's account shows that the Kennedy economic policy was part of a coherent, far-reaching regime intended to give direction to industrial economics rather than finance. The major point is that he was an enemy to the financial interests of the Eastern establishment, such as Steve Forbes who appears to have reviewed Kudrow's book on Amazon, and the assassination cover-up was implemented by those enemies to protect those interests. The fact that we have to debate this, or dispute this, at this point shows how successful they were. Gibson's book deserves high praise, here.

Hephaestus's picture
Hephaestus 7 years 39 weeks ago

Oh! And, there's more!

Uncle Ralph's picture
Uncle Ralph 7 years 39 weeks ago

There was an interesting phenomena discussed by a panel on the Diane Rehm show the day after the "Commander In Chief" forum or whatever: People can pick Hillary Clinton apart on her policies or her record or her e-mail foibles because there's something there to pick at. Many, many times Donald Trump's pronouncements are pure fantasy or based on pure fantasy and it's like trying to pick apart a cloud of smoke--there's no substance to say anything about or to call into question. I believe you're right, though, his feet should be held to the fire anyway. If there's no substance to his pronouncements, that should be pointed out and he should be hounded for details until he provides them or until it is clear that he doesn't know what he's talking about and never did. That's a journalists job even if it's not easy or pleasant.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 7 years 39 weeks ago

We need a non profit media outlet that is entirely funded by the taxpayers and only contains speeches and interviews with our elected reps. The amount of time given for the billionaire party propaganda would be equal to the amount of time given to progressives like Bernie who only want to communicate the truth.

This would draw all citizens, both the foxmerized, and enlightened, and with that, a real possibility that the misinformed would get exposure to the truth. At the end of each day there could be a non partisan segment doing fact checking, and thus the whip would finally come down on the propagandists. Easy access to this outlet on all forms of devices would be crucial.

Then I woke up! Oh well.

dianhow 7 years 39 weeks ago

Corp run media has NO credibility with few exceptions. Hillary gets sick and its on 24 /7 Trump makes threats to wage war with Iran - lies- has erratic, irrational, rants But media does NOT challenge Trump what WIMPS inc Lauer Shameles media hacks CNN WE do not care about highly paid ' commentater' or their opinions Cover The ISSUES War, low wages, jobs, gas prices, education cuts, SS cuts, disabled cuts, old, sick rotting in nursing homes staffed by under paid people Lost pensions by millions Trumps numerous LIES DO YOUR JOBS - NOT SUCK UP TO TRUMPS RANTS & BS & DANGEROUS COMMENTS

pokerzion's picture
pokerzion 7 years 39 weeks ago

I have a better suggestion Tom. Just stop watching them. They only have the power we allow them to. We're not victims here. I stopped watching corporate media over 20 years ago. I now listen to KPFK, read the nation, etc...

It's really not that difficult to just turn it off and put your energy into people sponsored media and products.

Neutrino's picture
Neutrino 7 years 39 weeks ago

Did anyone watch Lawrence O'Donnell? Not only is speaking the truth of Native Americans, the history and the unspoken lies Americans want to ignore or deny! Tonight he called Trump a liar asked the very same question Tom posed, why isn't the media not calling Trump a liar! It was great!

Willie W's picture
Willie W 7 years 39 weeks ago

Kend nailed it right from the start. Hostile interviews make people uncomfortable. It's all a magic show with the main ingredient being misdirection. Do viewers want to know Hillary's detailed solution for fixing Social Security, or, why she fell? Most headlines are about trivial issues. Hard issues are usually dry and not very entertaining.

3rd1000Yrs 7 years 39 weeks ago

How do we combat media bias, to wit, CNN is campaigning against Hillary now, citing emails 'lied about'.

mcowley01's picture
mcowley01 7 years 39 weeks ago

2950-10K , what you described sounds in many ways similar to what the BBC is.

I'm in the UK but when I lived in Texas Fox 'News' amazed me. It was almost impossible to find true news. For months coverage was mostly about a teenager missing in Aruba while meanwhile the US was trundling blindly into Iraq.

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