The AP applied some basic “accountability journalism” (I guess?) to some recent McCain/Palin campaign trail rhetoric (emphasis mine):

Republican Sarah Palin told a rally of several thousand people Monday that Barack Obama would not only raise their taxes as president but also spend the money in a way that could hurt the economy.

“What that means is government taking your money and spreading it out wherever politicians see fit. That’s not good for the economy,” she said.


The government’s job is to collect taxpayer dollars and decide how to spend them

Oh, riiight. That’s right. It was sounding so drastic and objectionable for a minute there, wasn’t it?

Gen. Colin Powell gave a related little primer which aired on MSNBC yesterday (Reason! Basic facts! So un-cable! Refreshing!):

NORAH O’DONNELL: I want to play for you first what General Colin Powell said about these particular tactics, this new message over the weekend from the McCain/Palin campaign that Obama is a socialist. Listen.

POWELL: I guess the message this week is we’re going to call him a socialist, that Obama is a socialist because he dares to suggest that maybe we ought to look at the tax structure that we have. Taxes are always a redistribution of money. Most of the taxes that are redistributed go back to those who paid them in roads and airports and hospitals and schools, and taxes are necessary for the common good.

(Of course, O’Donnell then immediately turned to her two assembled “strategists” — a Repub, a Dem — to again muddy the waters…)

Check back later on Campaign Desk for more on how political reporters have been/should be handling this recent using of the s-word. (Meantime, you can take the New York Times’s tour “Inside Socialist Party Headquarters.”)

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.