CBS Gives Downbeat Spin of Bush Economy

     The broadcast media just can’t seem to get past the notion that President George W. Bush has created economic turmoil.

     In a segment painting a dismal picture for Bush’s presidential legacy, CBS White House correspondent Jim Axelrod repeated a common media mantra of “an economy in shambles.” He presented the economy among “a long list of targets [Bush has] presented to his critics.”

     Axelrod didn’t mention signs of an economic uptick: the Commerce Department reported gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 3.3 percent in the second quarter of 2008 – a full percentage point higher than economists’ predictions.

     CBS, along with NBC, didn’t mention the revised number August 28, the same night Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama delivered a speech focusing on the theme of an economy “in turmoil.”

     Axelrod turned to AmericanUniversity historian James Thurber for an expert analysis of Bush’s legacy.

     “He’s in the bottom five-to-10 presidents in the history of the United States,” Thurber said. He added later that, “All presidents think that history will change perceptions of their activities. I think that history will be unkind to this man.”

     Axelrod didn’t mention that Thurber has donated money to Democrat Sen. Patrick Leahy’s most recent reelection campaign, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

     The segment also included analysis from Brookings Institution senior fellow Michael O’Hanlon – whom Axelrod identified as a Democrat – and former Ronald Reagan administration chief of staff Kenneth Duberstein.

     Axelrod noted that the success of the surge strategy in Iraq “will help the president’s legacy,” but insisted on comparing Bush to conservative icon Ronald Reagan, the last two-term Republican president.

     “It seems indisputable that George Bush will address this convention greatly diminished from his previous appearances,” Axelrod said ahead of Bush’s satellite address to the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn.