Apple taxes: New York Times pulls a Daisey
Mike Daisey, the theater guy who thought performing on stage and/or radio gave him license to lie about Apple’s labor practices in China, spoiled it for do gooding liars. Like Greenpeace, which cherry picked power usage numbers for Apple’s North Carolina data center to make a point, The New York Times estimated Apple’s 2011 taxes based on a now discredited source — their headline made headlines and, one presumes, generated a lot of page views and perhaps even sold few extra newspapers.
Whereas NYT used a Greenlining estimate of Apple’s 2011 taxes of 9.8 percent, the actual number was 24.2 percent:
So, what the NYT/Greenlining calculation has done is compared the profits in 2011 not with the taxes paid on profits from 2011. It has compared profits in 2011 with the taxes calculated on the basis of 2010′s profits.
Which is obviously clear and present nonsense, entire argle bargle of which at least the newspaper should be ashamed. — Forbes
Who is Greenlining? An advocacy group, i.e. people with an axe to grind, that Forbes took down in print a few weeks back.
The truly interesting bit is that Apple’s publicly available Securities & Exchange Commission 10K Filing (.pdf) states the company’s effective rate was 24.2 percent. That the NYT didn’t mention this inconvenient fact let alone attempt to make it jibe with Greenlining’s discredited number is telling.
It’s pretty clear that NYT was going for drama in erroneously saying Apple’s tax rate was 9.8 percent when in fact it clocked in at 24.2 percent — a theatrical 246 percent exaggeration.
Like Mike Daisey and Greenpeace, NYT is apparently satisfied with throwing whatever unsubstantiated crap they can find up against the wall, as long as it generates pageviews. This time it didn’t stick.
It didn’t stick when Mike Daisey played a starring part in NYT’s reporting on Apple’s China labor practices either. Then again, with Apple in the headline, facts aren’t foremost in their editors’ minds.
The best take on today’s “Apple tax” news? Joy of Tech really nails it…
What’s your take?
via Cult of Mac