Jewish World Review August 18, 2000/ 17 Menachem-Av, 5760
http://www.jewishworldreview.com -- A BUSINESS SECTION in the New York Times this week led with a story that runs under the headline "Inquiries Find Little Abuse by Tax Agents." The inside headline says, "Data Shows Few Instances of Harassment by I.R.S.," and that is the gist of the story. As the article quotes one Democratic congressman as saying, reports of overzealous Internal Revenue Service auditors and laws trying to stop the abuse are just "another example of the Republican priority of demonizing the I.R.S. and limiting its resources to fulfill its responsibilities."
You have to read pretty deep into the Times article to find some astonishing facts. In one case, an auditor who was arrested for drunken driving told a police officer that he would "find out" about him and have "a good time" with him. The article also reports that one in 33 I.R.S. workers either did not file tax returns or owed back taxes.
The article reports excuses for both the drunken auditor and the non-compliant I.R.S. workers. But it would seem to Smartertimes.com that the headline and story should emphasize that the tax collectors aren't paying taxes and that they are getting drunk and threatening to audit police officers, not that there is "little abuse."
When the New York Police Department accidentally shoots an innocent person, the Times doesn't write a story under the headline, "little abuse," even though the statistics may bear that out. It writes about the abuse and headlines it, giving the statistical context lower down in the story. It's enough to give a reader the impression that, somehow, the Times likes tax collectors better than it likes police officers.
The article quotes representatives from the I.R.S. and from its employees union, but there is not a single quote from a conservative anti-tax group. Can you imagine the Times running a story on police abuse without the obligatory quotes from the American Civil Liberties Union and the Rev. Al Sharpton? Of course not. But try to find Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform quoted in today's story. Not there.
THIS IS HOW NEW YORKERS SPEAK
(We assume this is an attempt at mockery rather than the reporter's own misspelling and malapropism.)
This is the classic, limousine liberalism of the Times at its worst; the same issue carried a handwringing news story about the decline in pro-bono hours worked by lawyers and a windy editorial about "a metropolis of poor children" -- but when the Times actually ventures into the city and comes across a working man with a Brooklyn accent, it makes fun of his speech patterns and fails to correct his grammar. Imagine the furor if the Times started rendering the speech of some African Americans or Chinese Americans in this kind of dialect.
CHENEY AND BIG OIL
08/11/00: Jew Lieberman