CNN's Serwer: Bush Needs to Sell Economy; But the Biz Reporter Himself Has Painted a Gloomy Picture

"Why doesn’t the president and the Republican Party also talk about the economy? It’s just right there in front of them," CNN’s Andy Serwer asked University of Virginia political scientist Larry Sabato on the April 29 "In the Money." "The economy is doing pretty darn well. There’s job growth, GDP growth. Yet they just don’t seem to be able to get a handle on that."

Yet CNN, and Serwer in particular have frequently painted the economy in a pessimistic light during President Bush’s tenure in office.

"For the second day in a row the stock market took a drop," CNN’s Miles O’Brien noted on the October 6, 2005, "American Morning." "And I think it’s — what do we need, those ‘Whip Inflation Now’ buttons, maybe." Serwer agreed: "Back to the ’70s. Turn your thermostat down, get your cardigans out."

Weeks before Christmas, Serwer ladled out coal for his viewers’ stockings, focusing on recent layoffs at Ford. The "American Morning" business brief for Dec. 2, 2005, was for Serwer a "litany of bad news, really. Plant closings and layoffs, declining sales, it’s sort of adding up to a very gloomy holiday season."

Serwer’s pessimism showed up again on the Dec. 8, 2005 "American Morning" as the business contributor warned of how "800,000 jobs might be lost" if the housing market would collapse. Even this was too much for colleague Carol Costello, who talked him down: "maybe it’s not so much the bubble is going to burst, but things are just readjusting to where they should be."

CNN’s pessimism goes back even to election season. "None of the media studied did a good job of covering" the economy consistently, the Free Market Project found in its October 2004 study "One Economy, Two Spins." While "CNN was the best" of the networks studied, with balanced coverage of the Clinton economy in the summer months of his 1996 reelection campaign, with President "Bush, that balance went out the window." Of the five stories on the economy in a similar time frame in 2004, only one was positive, the FMP study found.
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