Even considering federal taxes only, the poorest 20 percent of the population ends up paying 4 percent of their income in net federal taxes (in 2007, including excise taxes). The second-poorest quintile pays 11 percent.

“Class warfare,” as Stewart says at the end of his masterful piece, is scorned on Fox, which turns around and practices it on the poor and working classes, whom it calls “parasites,” “animals,” “takers,” and “moochers.” This campaign is so all-encompassing that the network even questions whether the poor exist, putting the word in scare quotes for an appalling Stuart Varney segment on how most poor people have luxuries like refrigerators and air conditioning.

Watch Stewart, our greatest media critic, eviscerate that. And while you do, note the synergy between Fox News’s class warfare and the Republicans’ campaign rhetoric.


Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at rc2538@columbia.edu.