‘Liberal’ Media Disappear Bush From Economic News

In examining how the “national news media remains largely enthralled by the pro-Republican rules of the past three decades,” Robert Parry (Consortium News, 2/28/09) notes that “in both right-wing and mainstream news organizations, stories continue to be structured as faulting Obama and largely absolving Bush.” Parry looks at recent major New York Times and Washington Post stories’ framing of “the stomach-turning 6.2 percent drop in the gross domestic product during the last quarter of 2008”: “Though that was the last economic quarter of the Bush administration, the stories instead were framed around Obama’s failures.”

The New York Times cites “a sense of disconnect between the projections of the [Obama] White House and the grim realities of everyday American life.” The Washington Post says “the worse-than-expected data fueled doubts about whether the Obama administration had adequately sized up the challenges it faces.”

What is remarkable about the two stories–and similar ones at other leading newspapers–is that the name “Bush” is nowhere to be found. Instead of a negative slant against Obama, the stories might reasonably have read that George W. Bush left behind an even worse economic mess than previously understood.

But such an approach, Parry argues, “would require a break from the media paradigm of the past few decades”–and, regrettably, Parry sees “no sign that the powerful right-wing news media has any intention of changing its ideological ways, nor that the mainstream news media will stop its endless attempts to prove it’s not ‘liberal.'”

Listen to the recent FAIR radio show CounterSpin: “Robert Parry on Conservative Bias” (2/20/09)