Ever since the Occupy Wall Street movement started gaining momentum last fall, I’ve found myself a lot more scorned when I look at most media outlets because a lot of times I don’t think that they realize just how many people they have on the line when they string unsubstantiated journalism out on the line without properly vetting it.

This article, in particular, grabbed my attention and then almost immediately pissed me off after I started reading past the headline and into the actual body of the article. Its subject is pretty clear and simple – this guy has a 102% tax rate – and yet another eight paragraphs down in the article, this comes out…

“That doesn’t mean Mr. Ross pays more in taxes than he earns. His total tax as a percentage of his adjusted gross income was 20 percent, which is much lower than mine.”

What the fuck do you think people are going to think when you run the headline “AT 102%, HIS TAX RATE TAKES THE CAKE”?!?!?!?!?!

I mean, our tax code is confusing enough as it is, but to run this article with the implication that this rich guy is getting overtaxed is just irresponsible journalism, especially when you even go so far as to spell it out later in the article that his actual tax rate is about 20%, or right in line with the capital gains taxes that we’re trying to convince people aren’t fair compared to 35% employment taxes! Ok, so the guy has a lot of deductions. He only gave 11% to charity, so where’d the rest go? Into his business??? Good for him for reinvesting his capital in his business, but you know what – businessmen excessively write-off expenses as a way to avoid paying more in taxes all the time, so I’m not exactly going to feel any sympathy for this guy unless he actually spills the beans about exactly what all of those deductions were actually for…

But then again, that wouldn’t make nearly as intriguing of an article, and the majority of people wouldn’t make it all the way to page 2 or 3 where all of the actual substance would be buried anyways. Most people base their entire frame of mind on the headline or the sound bite without actually thinking about the context, and then they walk around telling us that FOX News is the most credible news source around because they just never got enough information to know any better.

It’s really both sides’ fault – the American people need to think more and get the actual facts before forming their opinions, but journalists who crank out sensationalist crap like this to rile up the masses aren’t helping any.

Use your heads, people – any businessman who paid more in taxes than he actually earned wouldn’t be in business very long.

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