Media Not Reporting on Bush’s Successes
- 12 May 2006 by Author 0 Comments
Media Not Reporting on Bush’s Successes
By Richard Larsen
Published 5/12/06 – Idaho State Journal
During the 1992 presidential election, the truism du jour was “It’s the economy, stupid!” Bill Clinton’s charge against Bush 41 was that the economy eclipsed all other issues for presidential politics. In part due to the languid economic environment of 1992, Bush Sr. became a one-term president.
The truism proved equally veracious in 1980 when Jimmy Carter’s “malaise” of the late 1970’s led to the creation of the Misery Index. This was the sum of the current unemployment rate plus the inflation rate. The index peaked in 1980 at 21.98 before the economic reforms initiated by newly elected President Ronald Reagan began to affect the economy.
By 1984, when President Reagan was facing re-election, the Misery Index had already dropped to 11.81 and was heading lower. This, combined with a host of other positive economic verities, propelled Reagan to a landslide 49 state Electoral College victory over Walter Mondale. It truly was “the economy…”
Current economic conditions not only match those of Reagan’s landslide re-election year, but they exceed them. The Misery Index is at 8.48. Unemployment at 4.7% with over 5.2 million jobs created in the last 3 years. Average hourly earnings have continued their upward climb increasing from $14.70 in 2000, to $16.80, an increase of over 14%. Last quarter’s GDP (Growth Domestic Product) was an impressive 4.8%; greater than the growth rate of any industrialized nation. Retail sales continue to baffle analysts as they climb higher.
Further, hourly compensation grew at a 5.7% rate during the first quarter of 2006, more than twice as much as the previous quarter. The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence rating increased in April to the highest level in four years. Over the past 6 years, the Administration and Congress doubled the child tax credit, reduced the marriage penalty, cut taxes on capital gains and dividends, created incentives for small businesses to purchase new equipment and hire new workers, and put the death tax on the path to extinction. Altogether, this tax relief left $880 billion in the hands of American workers and businesses. And the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 are right near 6 year highs.
Statistically, this is a better economy than the one that catapulted President Reagan past Mondale in 1984. This economy is arguably stronger than that of the Clinton years, which many pine after. Even without rose-colored glasses, this is an outstanding economy! Are there pejorative elements to the economy? Of course. The high price of gasoline is perhaps the largest negative. It would be idyllic to think that all is well. But from any objective analysis, this economy is hitting on nearly all cylinders.
So is the truism “it’s the economy, stupid” no longer apropos? Is this recovery and growth of the past 6 years not President Bush’s economy? Or is there a nefarious component to this scenario?
I would submit that the media is so anti-Bush that his successes are not accurately reported. The bias is so evident from even a cursory review of recent headlines from prominent newspapers nation wide. San Jose’s The Mercury News this week: “Gloom At a Time of Growth.” “GDP 4.8%: Less Than Some Expected,” New York Times. From Reuters, “U.S. Job Openings Little Changed,” (even though at 4.7% unemployment rate we are technically fully employed!) Course, what can you expect from a news agency that refuses to call terrorists what they are: terrorists!
Other headlines further typify this bias. “GDP Growth Disappoints; Job worries linger,” Chicago Tribune. “Economy Puts on the Brakes,” New York Daily News. “GDP growth fails to impress,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Economy’s Growth Rate Cools Off,” Los Angeles Times
A Pew Research Center poll disclosed that in reporting unemployment, 44 percent of the headlines under the Clinton administration were positive while only 23 percent under Bush 43. By comparison, the average unemployment rates were fairly similar, 5.2 percent under Clinton’s eight years and 5.3 percent under Bush during the
A study in 1998 examined Presidential approval polls and found that networks and news agencies are both more likely to conduct and report polls when Presidential approval ratings are declining. In other words, not only does the drive-by media misrepresent the positive economic news, but they feed off of the negativity of their poor reporting by creating more negative news by conducting declining poll after declining poll, hence, adding fuel to the fire of negativity.
What a great way to make a living: promulgate negativity, compound it, and then promulgate the compounded negativity. After all, he gets blamed for everything. Maybe he should get some credit where credit is due!
Richard Larsen serves on the Idaho State Journal Editorial Board, and is President of Larsen Financial, a Pocatello based brokerage service. Larsen graduated from Idaho State University in History and Political Science. He can be reached at email@example.com.