Media Coverage Report Card

April 25th, 2011

Media Coverage Report Card

Clockwise from top left: Paul Sapiano/Flickr, Oliver Hammond/Flickr, GFI, Ryan Morrison/Flickr*

Jesse Drucker (Bloomberg): A+ (Valedictorian)

It had to start somewhere, and it started with Drucker when he broke the story on Google’s utilization of tax loopholes. Good job, Jesse. Gold Star.

Sam Rubenfeld (WSJ): A

Rubenfeld’s daily blog “High Tide” collects and sorts through news on bribery, money-laundering, tax evasion, and all other things related to illicit finance to provide an up-to-the-minute, comprehensive digest of corruption laden news on a daily basis.

GE Twitter Feed: A-

This sarcastic, and at times irreverent, Twitter feed poses as a GE Twitter account. Updates tend to go something like this: “‘Paying taxes is for the poor and stupid.’ — Jesus, paraphrased” Is it news? No. Am I following it on Twitter? Yes.

Jon Stewart: B+

Once again cable beats network news. Stewart does a great job connecting the dots between GE skipping out on paying their taxes, and the corporate tax rate, and explaining it to his massive audience. Of course he does tend to minimize the details and maximize the comedic effect, and in doing so creates News Lite (news minus fine print.) We would’ve up-ed his grade had he mentioned that GE isn’t actually breaking any laws. Explaining that however, may not have been so funny.

The Rolling Stone’s ‘Why Isn’t Wall Street in Jail’: B-

It’s comprehensive, sexy, and peppered with expletives, but the journalist was lazy in his research and a lot of his interviewees seem one-sided.

60 Minutes’ ‘The New Tax Havens’: B-

This report provides a decent explanation of tax loopholes exploited by big corporations and the problems with tax laws in general. That being said, the title is a little misleading. Sure, they talk about tax havens, but this is really more of a report of big corporations complaints about high tax rates in the U.S. and why they will do anything to ship their companies (or at least their company name) overseas.

The Onion: Passing

We recognize that this isn’t exactly a news source considering it lacks legitimacy; however, there is often truth behind the hilarity.  At least The Onion is putting stories out there to peak the curiosity of its readership, and perhaps drive them towards reading real new elsewhere.

Associated Press: F

When the ‘Yes Men’ released a statement posing as GE saying they would pay a $3.2 billion tax refund to the U.S. Treasury, AP fell for it and put it out there as big news. Seriously? Did you guys even think to verify your source? You wouldn’t have run into this problem if you had paid attention in English 101 and done a bibliography.

*Image Licenses (clockwise from top left): Attribution Some rights reserved by peasap, AttributionNoncommercialShare Alike Some rights reserved by Olivander, GFI, AttributionNoncommercialShare Alike Some rights reserved by Up Your Ego

Written by Sheridan Gunderson

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