Networks Deride Romney for 'Paying So Little' in Taxes, Ignore That Only Three Percent Pay More

All three networks, the New York Times and NPR on Wednesday obsessed over the revelation that Mitt Romney's tax bracket is in the 15 percent range. Good Morning America's Jon Karl cited the liberal Tax Policy Center and wondered, "How did Romney get away with paying so little?"

Karl made no mention of the fact that, according to the Internal Revenue Service, 97 percent of filers paid less than 15 percent. On the same day's CBS This Morning, reporter Jan Crawford spun, "He [Romney] revealed that he pays a relatively low rate on his investment income. That's the same low rate that billionaire Warren Buffett pays."

Karl did go on to explain that capital gains investments are taxed a lower rate. But, the segment included audio clips of dollar signs and coins clinking, all attempts to make Romney's actions seem nefarious.

Today's Peter Alexander put forth the same distortion, chiding, "Romney appeared to be knocked off message, promising to share his returns in April and also disclosing that he pays 15 percent in income tax, like many wealthy Americans, but less than many middle class Americans."

Just like ABC's Karl, Alexander didn't acknowledge that, of the 140 million Americans who filed in 2009, only three percent pay more than 15 percent.

On Wednesday's Morning Edition, host Renee Montagne harped, "But yesterday, Romney did let slip a provocative tax detail. He acknowledged he's probably paying an effective tax rate of around 15 percent. And that's well below the rate that many middle-class families pay."

NPR's Scott Horsley openly highlighted Democratic talking points on how Romney earned money: "The Democratic National Committee points out in 2010, Romney's speaking fees topped $374,000."

On GMA, Karl did the same, continuing to use dollar signs clips as he mocked the idea that the Republican didn't make "very much" money from this: "How much is not very much? Last year, Romney was paid $374,000 to give nine speeches. [Dollar sign sound plays.]"

The New York Times on Wednesday attacked Romney and hinted at what his tax rates actually revealed:

But his remarks on Tuesday drew immediate criticism from the Obama administration and Republican rivals, and are likely to cement Mr. Romney's place as an unwilling emblem of the intensifying national debate over taxation and income inequality, which burst into the campaign this month when rival candidates began attacking Mr. Romney's career in the leveraged buyout business.

— Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter.