The Corner

Politics & Policy

Apparently, Only Conservatives Spend Money on Politics

Attendees at the 2013 NRA-ILA Leadership Forum in Houston, Texas. (Adrees Latif/Reuters)

Alex Griswold notices the bizarre way in which the Treasury’s 501(c)(4) rule change is being reported in the press. Here’s the headline on CNN’s story:

NRA and some other nonprofits will no longer need to identify their donors to the IRS

And here’s the opening to the piece:

Some nonprofit groups will no longer have to give the IRS the names of donors who give them $5,000 or more.

Among the groups that will no longer have to report donors are the National Rifle Association, various chambers of commerce, and groups focused on particular issues, such as Americans for Prosperity, which has been closely associated with the Koch brothers. But the ruling also applies to groups like the NAACP, labor unions and volunteer fire departments.

What’s the “but” doing there? The change applies to every single 501(c)(4) in America. CNN could just as easily — and just as misleadingly — have placed the story under the headline, “NAACP will no longer need to identify their donors to the IRS.” Or it could have mentioned, say, Planned Parenthood. Or SEIU. Or Everytown for Gun Safety. Or the Sierra Club. Or . . .

The New York Times’s story has a similar headline:

I.R.S. Will No Longer Force Kochs and Other Groups to Disclose Donors

The Times notes that “varied” groups will benefit from this change, which is true. But the “varied” groups given as examples are “arms of the AARP, the United States Chamber of Commerce, the National Rifle Association and Americans for Prosperity, which is funded partly by the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch.” Gosh, what a range! They must have been plucked from the air . . .

USA Today‘s story sits under the headline, “Trump administration won’t force NRA, Kochs to disclose donors to IRS,” and starts like this:

The Trump administration will no longer force some tax-exempt organizations, including politically active groups such as the National Rifle Association, to identify their contributors to federal tax officials.

And so it goes. What’s “media bias”? This is.

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