October 1, 2020
New York Times caught naked in bed with Trump’s tax strategy, and the New York Sun exposes them
By Monica Showalter
Now, here’s some old-school shoe-leather investigative reporting the New York Times probably didn’t anticipate after it published its stolen-documents exposé about President Trump’s bad, bad tax returns, coming from the green-eyeshade mavens at its tiny rival, the New York Sun.
In Ira Stoll’s report, headlined “Guess How the Times Knows So Much About Tax Losses Trump Uses,” the Times is exposed for doing the exact same things that President Trump did on his taxes, in a report that leaves its piety in smoking ruins. Hypocrite much?
The brilliant piece begins with this:
The New York Times’ investigation of President Trump says the president used big tax losses in some years to avoid paying taxes in others, that he invested some of his profits into money-losing businesses, and that Mr. Trump paid his daughter as “a way to transfer assets to his children.”
In addition, it says that Mr. Trump’s businesses are propped up by foreign revenue and that Mr. Trump “has written off as business expenses costs — including fuel and meals — associated with his aircraft, used to shuttle him among his various homes and properties.”
The Times ought to know — because the New York Times Company and the Ochs-Sulzberger family that control it have done the same things.
What follows is a brutal takedown of classic Grade-A media hypocrisy, in what was obviously some research done for years, a careful reading of the tiny line items of the Times’ tax returns showing that they were doing the exact same things Trump does. It’s a heck of a damning report.
It was done by someone who knows hell-all about tax returns and writes so crisply and clearly that even a layman can understand it. Stoll is a brilliant writer and extremely well versed in economics, but if we had to guess, the Sun’s founder and editor-in-chief, Seth Lipsky, probably had a research hand in it, too. Lipsky is an ex–Wall Street Journal ace who knows how to ask questions and has been doing that for decades. Here’s just the front of it:
The New York Times Company had a loss of about $58 million in 2008, and its 2009 annual report disclosed a net income tax “benefit” of nearly $6 million that year. The annual report says, “State tax operating loss carryforwards (‘loss carryforwards’) totaled $13.5 million as of December 27, 2009 and $9.5 million as of December 28, 2008. Such loss carryforwards expire in accordance with provisions of applicable tax laws and have remaining lives generally ranging from 4 to 20 years.”
Similarly, in 2006, the New York Times Company was in trouble. Its stock price had tumbled to a low of $21.58 in that year from a high of $40.80 in 2005. The company reported an annual loss for 2006 of $543 million. The Times 2006 annual report says the company’s “effective income tax rate was 3.0% because the majority of the non-cash impairment charge of $814.4 million at the New England Media Group is non-deductible for tax purposes.”
Speaking of the New England Media Group, it is to the Ochs-Sulzberger family what loss-producing golf courses are to the Trump family. The Times Company bought the Boston Globe for $1.1 billion in 1993, added the Worcester Telegram & Gazette for $295 million in 1999, and sold them both to Boston Red Sox owner John Henry for $70 million in 2013.
Like Mr. Trump, the Times Company has even dabbled in the golf sector: The Times Company bought Golf Digest magazine in 1969 for between $3 and $4 million, then sold it in 2001.
The Times makes a big investigative scandal about President Trump’s businesses paying his sons and his daughter Ivanka, describing it as a way around the gift tax. Less than a week before the Times published its investigative report, it issued a press release: “the New York Times Company today announced that Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr., 69, will retire as chairman and a member of its Board of Directors on Dec. 31, 2020 and will be succeeded as chairman by A.G. Sulzberger, 40, Times publisher since 2018. Mr. Sulzberger Jr. will assume the title chairman emeritus.”
Then it gets into even more minute and venal details, with example after example around the world, all mirroring the actions they piously charge President Trump with questionably doing. There’s all kinds of wild stuff about Singapore subsidiaries, and China partners, and “forgotten” to mention stock transfers that the Times would have raked Trump over the coals for had he somehow forgotten instead. The report makes the Times look downright shady in its tax dealings even as the Times points the finger at Trump, who, like the paper, had done only what the law allowed — and whose returns were illegally leaked.
Tax dodges OK for me, but not for thee, see.
That was an excellent display of how people are so hypocritical about the President. Feel like the air has been purified and I have, mistakenly, listened in on the New York Times confession to the priest. Thanks!
I bet the New York Times even feels better – now that they have been exposed.