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CBS Rips GOP Candidates for Daring to Question European Socialism

Allen Pizzey, CBS News Correspondent | NewsBusters.orgCBS's Allen Pizzey completely whitewashed the struggling European economy on CBS Sunday Morning to bash the Republican presidential candidates' attack on President Obama's economic policies. Pizzey zeroed-in on Germany's lower unemployment rate and cited left-leaning Professor James Walston, who claimed that "the candidates are dealing in caricatures of Europe that are about 90% wrong."

The journalist played clips from Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney, who defended the U.S. Constitution and ripped "European socialism." He condescended in reply, "If you're a candidate who wants to move to the White House, why worry about details?" Pizzey also turned to a European woman who insulted the Republican candidates' intelligence: "I just hope that most Americans are just more intelligent than those politicians" [audio clips available here ].

The CBS correspondent featured Walston, as well as John Kornblum, former President Clinton's second ambassador to Germany, throughout his report. Kornblum clearly ripped the American economic system towards the end of the segment:

PIZZEY: There was a time when Europe's youth and aspiring middle class saw America as a shining beacon of opportunity, but it's no longer seen as the ultimate career and lifestyle improvement.

KORNBLUM: In northern Europe, they're looking at the United States and say, boy, I'm happy to be here, because unemployment is much lower; job security is higher; education is free; medical care is comprehensive. And so, they have to be fairly adventurous to believe that they would be better off in the United States than they are here right now.

Earlier in the report, Pizzey and Kornblum tag-teamed to spotlight Germany's economy versus that of the U.S.:   

PIZZEY: ...Germany has a five-and-a-half percent unemployment rate, an immense export surplus, and world-leading innovative companies. And its economic system, according to former U.S. Ambassador John Kornblum, is closer to what the U.S. was in President Eisenhower's time than it is to socialism.

JOHN KORNBLUM, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO GERMANY: The governments in Europe- and especially in this country, Germany- could probably be given credit for writing half of the Republican economic policy. They believe in low taxes, saving, low government expenditures, no deficits.

The journalist buried the lede about the internal struggles of the EU's economy. Despite acknowledging that "the recession is biting here" in Europe at the beginning of the segment, Pizzey immediately added, "It's just that the Europeans seem to have a way of getting by, unless you look at them from the Republican presidential hopefuls' point of view." It took him over three minutes to even touch briefly on Europe's economic troubles, and even then, the correspondent followed it with a defense of European-style health care:

PIZZEY (voice-over): European nations have seen riots over benefit cuts, their fair share of foreclosures, and long unemployment lines. And the cradle-to-grave social welfare systems, set up more than 60 years ago, do have to be drastically trimmed to fit changing economic times, but not to the extent of removing the safety net.

WALSTON: There is a presumption that health care should be guaranteed; there should be a minimum of health care, which the government- which the community provides.

PIZZEY: And it's for everybody. Even a tourist who ends up in an ambulance here in Italy can expect full and comprehensive care, and no one will demand to see an insurance card first or send a bill when it's over.

After playing the clip of the European woman's anti-Republican smear, the CBS correspondent further condescended towards the GOP candidate: "One of the things that amuses people here is the GOP candidates' insistence on referring to Europe and European socialism, as if they were talking about a single amorphous entity- when, in fact, the European Union alone comprises 27 different countries, each with its own language, culture, and social system."

This obviously omits the fact that each of these countries has an economic system that is further to the left of the United States, and that the EU bureaucracy in Brussels intervenes in each of the constituent economies.

This isn't the first time that Pizzey rushed to the defense of European socialism. Back in 1990, shortly after the Berlin Wall fell, the journalist defended East Germany's pro-abortion social welfare policies on the June 16 edition of CBS Evening News, all the while failing to mention the oppressive nature of its communist regime: "East Germany provides what may be the world's most extensive family services system. It includes abortion on demand and free day care centers for children....Reunification threatens more than the economic security of East German women. It could also mean an end to their legal right to free, easy abortions."

The full transcript of Allen Pizzey's report from CBS Sunday Morning, which began 33 minutes into the 9 am Eastern hour:

MITT ROMNEY, (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (from campaign event): I believe in the principles of America. I don't believe in Europe. I believe in America. (audience cheers and applauds)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE ANNOUNCER 1 (voice-over): It's the money issue on 'Sunday Morning.' Here again is Anthony Mason.

MASON (on-camera): The state of the European economy has become something of an issue in our presidential campaign. So just how bad are things over there? We asked Allen Pizzey to check it out.

[CBS News Graphic: "Over There"]

ALLEN PIZZEY (voice-over): Springtime brings out the best in Europe. The cafes move out into the streets- all the better to absorb the history that surrounds you. The recession is biting here, just as it is everywhere. It's just that the Europeans seem to have a way of getting by, unless you look at them from the Republican presidential hopefuls' point of view.

ROMNEY (from ABC News/Yahoo! News Republican presidential debate): We're increasingly becoming like Europe. Europe isn't working in Europe. It will never work here.

RICK SANTORUM, (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (from interview on the Fox News Channel): I think if you're looking at European socialism at a minimum.

PIZZEY: Which got us to wondering, just how bad is that? Germany has a five-and-a-half percent unemployment rate, an immense export surplus, and world-leading innovative companies. And its economic system, according to former U.S. Ambassador John Kornblum, is closer to what the U.S. was in President Eisenhower's time than it is to socialism.

[CBS News Graphic: "Unemployment Rate: U.S.A., 8.3%; Germany, 5.7%; Source: BLS.GOV/CIA.GOV"]

JOHN KORNBLUM, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO GERMANY: The governments in Europe- and especially in this country, Germany- could probably be given credit for writing half of the Republican economic policy. They believe in low taxes, saving, low government expenditures, no deficits.

PIZZEY: The candidates are dealing in caricatures of Europe that are about 90% wrong, in the view of American University of Rome Professor James Walston.

PROF. JAMES WALSTON, AMERICAN UNIVERSITY OF ROME: They are trying to smear the opponents by using the socialism word, when, what is actually present in Europe is something- it's social democracy, and not even that.

PIZZEY: But if you're a candidate who wants to move to the White House, why worry about details?

NEWT GINGRICH, (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (from campaign event): I am for the Constitution. He is for European socialism.

ROMNEY (from campaign event): He wants to turn America into a European-style social welfare state.

PIZZEY: Such talk certainly resonates with young European voters like Anica Petrovic, but not quite in the way the candidates have in mind.

ANICA PETROVIC: I just hope that most Americans are just more intelligent than those politicians.

PIZZEY (on-camera): One of the things that amuses people here is the GOP candidates' insistence on referring to Europe and European socialism, as if they were talking about a single amorphous entity- when, in fact, the European Union alone comprises 27 different countries, each with its own language, culture, and social system.

SANTORUM (from campaign event): Do you want to see America after the Obama administration is through? Just travel around; just read up on Greece; read up on Portugal; read up on France.

PIZZEY (voice-over): European nations have seen riots over benefit cuts, their fair share of foreclosures, and long unemployment lines. And the cradle-to-grave social welfare systems, set up more than 60 years ago, do have to be drastically trimmed to fit changing economic times, but not to the extent of removing the safety net.

WALSTON: There is a presumption that health care should be guaranteed; there should be a minimum of health care, which the government- which the community provides.

PIZZEY: And it's for everybody. Even a tourist who ends up in an ambulance here in Italy can expect full and comprehensive care, and no one will demand to see an insurance card first or send a bill when it's over.

Universal health care is a concept that Berlin artist Madeleine Krakor says she wouldn't want to live without.

MADELEINE KRAKOR: That's a big part of- like, feeling secure- really secure- because you always know, whatever happens, if you don't have any money to buy some noodles- but you are safe.

PIZZEY: There was a time when Europe's youth and aspiring middle class saw America as a shining beacon of opportunity, but it's no longer seen as the ultimate career and lifestyle improvement.

KORNBLUM: In northern Europe, they're looking at the United States and say, boy, I'm happy to be here, because unemployment is much lower; job security is higher; education is free; medical care is comprehensive. And so, they have to be fairly adventurous to believe that they would be better off in the United States than they are here right now.

PIZZEY: And if they did decide to come to America, some of the presidential candidates would have to drastically alter their perceptions- to say nothing of their rhetoric- to win their votes.

— Matthew Balan is a news analyst at the Media Research Center. You can follow him on Twitter here.