The media today is widely touting a poll commissioned by an organization that doesn’t exist on paper.

Topeka television WIBW reports that the group’s poll shows that two-thirds of those surveyed oppose Kansas’ 2012 tax policy changes. Meanwhile, the Topeka Capital-Journal ran a similar story.

Neither news organization mentioned that the Kansas Center for Economic Growth, the organization responsible for the poll, doesn’t actually exist on paper. According to its website, it’s a “nonprofit, nonpartisan organization,” however, KCEG has yet to file documents with the Secretary of State’s Office. It lists Kansas Action for Children as its funding source. KAC lobbies almost exclusively for more taxes and increased government spending, but media avoids mentioning the connection between KCEG and KAC.

KCEG’s treatment is vastly different from the treatment Kansas Policy Institute receives from the mainstream media. It’s rare to find KPI mentioned in mainstream media without a reference to the Koch brothers or the ALEC. More commonly, the nonpartisan think tank is referred to as “conservative” or “libertarian.” Media doesn’t bother labeling KCEG or KAC as left or liberal-leaning.

Actually, KPI is fortunate if it receives a mention at all. A survey it released in February, revealed that only 4 percent of respondents favored increasing Kansas income tax rates as the primary method of balancing the budget. Nearly a third opposed increasing gas taxes, and nearly 70 percent of respondents preferred a school finance formula that holds districts accountable for student achievement.


Crickets from the mainstream media.

Though the Topeka Capital-Journal and WIBW-TV received press releases about the KPI survey, neither entity bothered to give it any coverage. And that’s despite the fact that KPI exists on paper.

The WIBW study stuck to polling results, but the Cap-J story basically reprinted the KCEG press release. The Journal story and the press release read:

“The top takeaway here is that Kansans are dialed in and fired up,” said Duane Goossen, former state budget director and KCEG Senior Fellow. “They want commonsense leadership that will balance the budget, restore funding to Kansas schools, and end this era of fiscal crisis for good. Repealing the Brownback tax plan will accomplish all of these goals.”

The public trust in media is at an all-time low, but Kansas media outlets only need look in the mirror to figure out why.



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