Because of the Web, we are knee-deep in information. Trouble is, a lot of what people think is true, isn't. Checking the truth of information and thinking critically about what we see and hear must play co-equal roles in forming opinions that lead to action, including voting.
This is opinion, not reportage. Brooks uses language intended to pander to his readers, e.g., "I'm an Obama sap" the subtext of which is "you're a sap if you believe President Obama."
Brooks refers to the Congressional Budget Office as his source for the assertion that "People in the richest 1 percent pay 31 percent of their income to the federal government while the average worker pays less than 14 percent." but offers no link or other means by which the reader might verify the assertion.
Assuming that (a) the Congressional Budget Office figures are accurate and (b) the Tax Policy Center page quotes the figures accurately, this story is accurate.
In that it is a recitation of purely numeric data, I'm not sure it can be called journalism.
This is excellent journalism. All sources are cited and linked, all factual assertions in the original op-ed are examined, and when unprovable, are refuted. Inflammatory language is carefully avoided, and the article is clear and easy to understand.
This is poor journalism. Assertions are often attributed as "some say" or "others say."
The article also refutes its own points, e.g., "“Well, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was 831 at the end of 1977 — down from 969 at the end of 1965 — so somebody was having trouble finding investments that would still look sensible after paying a 39.9% tax,” he said.
"In any case, for Buffett to focus on the act of buying stocks or property is all wrong. The capital gains tax is not a tax on buying assets. It is a tax on selling assets. If you don't sell, there is no tax. And when the capital gains tax is high, very few people are willing to sell.""
It also uses vernacular, e.g., "...the 17.4 percent figure Obama and Buffett are ... More »
This is middling journalism. Some assertions fairly represent the facts, some do not. For instance, "An analysis by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center projects that for 2011, households with more than $1 million in income will have an average federal tax rate of 29.1%, compared to a rate of about 12.4% for households with income of $40,000 to $50,000. The center counts all federal taxes, including income, payroll and estate taxes." This statement makes no mention of effective tax rates due to loopholes, percent of income taxable at capital gains rates, and so on.