Tuesday, February 22, 2005
More evidence Eric Alterman is wrong: It really shouldn't come as any big surprise that MSNBC blogger/The Nation media critic Eric Alterman is wrong when it comes to one of his major theses on media bias: "You're only as liberal as the man who owns you." (That's the title of chapter two of Alterman's book "What Liberal Media?")
That's not what's The Washington Post's Allan Sloan has dug up.
The New York Times editorial page is unsparing when it comes to flogging tax-dodging corporations. Corporate tax avoidance, it intoned in a typical piece last April, is "both a straightforward fiscal problem" and "a broader threat to our civic culture." Indeed.
Last week, the New York Times Co. didn't exactly practice what the New York Times editorial page preaches. The Times Co.'s $410 million cash purchase of Primedia's About.com subsidiary, announced on Thursday, is set up to maximize tax benefits. For those of you who adore complicated details, the Times Co. is using the portion of Section 338 of the tax code that lets the buyer of the stock of a second company's subsidiary act as if it had bought the subsidiary's assets. It can then put a value on the assets for tax purposes and take depreciation deductions on some or all of them.
This has become conventional tax-avoidance strategy -- but it's giggle-making, considering the newspaper's editorial stance about corporate taxes.
The Times Co.'s response? "The editorial policy of the paper is not dictated by the business side and business-side policy is not dictated by the editorial side," says spokesman Catherine Mathis.
Why hasn't Alterman heard about this policy? Ms. Mathis might want to give him a call.