There are a lot of cheap shots lobbed in politics. And if you are in the media as a high profile host, you are likely to be attacked almost daily for being a hypocrite, a fraud, a phony, etc. Most of those attacks can simply be ignored as ideologically motivated shots that aren’t really fair.
However, recently National Review and other conservative news organizations have given a lot of ink to the fact that MSNBC has not just one (Al Sharpton-a special case) but four on-air hosts who have significant IRS tax delinquencies. This is a huge PR problem for MSNBC and its hosts. These are fair attacks.
This issue isn’t just 4 employees with tax problems; it goes deeper than that. It is that all four hosts make a good living specifically calling for the need to have a more progressive tax structure and for wealthy Americans to pay their fair share and a higher share. None of the 4 hosts presumably make anywhere near as much as, say Bill O’Reilly’s $30 million a year. Still, they all have to make multiples of the average family of four $50,000 income in America.
So the whole not paying their taxes thing looks bad. Really bad. You can’t go on national TV saying “the wealthy must pay their fair share of taxes! (except for me!)” and expect to get away with it. It’s like Rush Limbaugh denouncing drug users and then getting caught using Oxycontin illegally.
Unfortunately, there is only one way to manage damage control for the MSNBC hosts on this issue: Pay their taxes!
TJ Walker is President of Media Training Worldwide.