While tax avoidance gets sporadic mentions when celebrities from the world of sports or entertainment are involved, serious debate on tax reform barely makes headlines in mainstream news.

"I think by and large economic stories run pretty well on television ... But remember that if you're talking about taxation you're also talking about inequality," explains broadcast journalist Andrew Wilson. "You're talking about poverty. You're talking about real people's lives."

Tax reform stories are also up against a prevailing corporate ideology that preaches low tax rates are a good thing; that if billionaires are spared taxes proportionate to their income, society will somehow benefit.

But "there is no evidence for that," points out Naomi Fowler of Tax Justice Network. "And yet it's repeated as though it's true. It's not challenged ... The problem with the media really is that there has been an ideological capture, there is a kind of narrative that has become dominant. And one of the successes of neo-liberalism is its invisibility and the fact that people are not aware, including journalists are not aware, that they're repeating beliefs that have no evidential basis."

Dutch academic Rutger Bregman recently made waves when he told a room full of billionaires at the recent World Economic Forum in Davos: "Want to fix the global economy? Then dig deeper. Pay up. Tax the rich."

Fox News' Tucker Carlson invited Bregman onto his programme but he probably didn't expect him to go after him, the channel that he works for, and the media in general, for its complicity in almost never covering tax reform.

He told host Tucker Carlson: "I went to Davos to speak truth to power. And I'm doing exactly the same thing right now - but you're a millionaire funded by billionaires. And that's why you're not talking about these issues."

The interview did not go to air, but the entire exchange, recorded on a phone camera, has since gone viral.

Bregman made news by stating the obvious because sometimes it's not what you say that matters, it's where you say it. But the last word on this goes to the millionaire Fox anchor who went viral - 15 million views, and counting.


Will Fitzgibbon - International Consortium of Investigative Journalists
Naomi Fowler - Tax Justice Network
Matthew Guardino - Author of Framing Inequality
Andrew Wilson - Broadcast journalist

Source: Al Jazeera