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Inventing Tax Rage
Misinformation in the National Post

Patriquin, Larry
Publisher:  Fernwood Publishing
Year Published:  2004  
Pages:  190pp   Price:  $24.95   ISBN:  1-55266-146-6

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Patriquin is Assistant Professor of Sociology, Social Welfare and Criminal Justice Studies at Nipissing University. His book is a polemic about alleged news distortions during the National Post's first year of publication: were Canada's supposedly high taxes causing damage to the economy? Did this cause tax rage amongst the middle class? Why did the National Post allegedly distort?

Patriquin believes that it was because the paper wanted to create an agenda for the tax cuts that mostly benefits the wealthy. He does a nice job discoursing here, with the flashpoint themes of income tax, middle class, press and propaganda. He closely documents dozens of such occurrences by the National Post to create a right wing agenda. He firmly believes that nothing is balanced, that only one side of the story is told.

The book is a model for using the various forms of false logic and usage, such as improper context, loaded words and exaggeration, irrelevance and straw men, misleading statistics, factoids, false attributions of causality, unwarranted assumptions, anecdotal evidence, and false analogies.

Audience or interest level: the committed reader of journalism, reporters.

Some interesting facts: "The sole objective is to influence the public; hence, being right or wrong doesn't matter. The purpose of the misinformation is not to seek the "truth" or to engage in an exercise of intellectual rigour, one where logic will triumph when all is said and done".

What I don't like about this resource: specialized material, useful for an ethics or journalism class, but the students need to know how to follow the arguments.

What I do like about this resource: there is a bibliography to check out, and a handy glossary which explains automatic stabilizers, effective tax rate, fiscal dividend, marginal tax rate, etc.

Quality-to-Price Ratio: 89.

[Review by Dean Tudor]

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