the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and Vice President for Research and Publications
Hooray for Hume
today: Brit Hume provides information you wouldn't expect
on network news.
On Thursday the Commerce Dept. reported GDP
growth of 2.8 percent
during the first quarter. All the networks reported the good news
for Bill Clinton. On the CBS Evening News reporter Ray Brady
concluded his story on why the hike occurred (more business
investment, higher consumer spending spurred by tax refunds) by
noting that "the prospect is for at least six good months ahead,
and maybe more. Dan."
Dan Rather then announced: "Ray, that of
course would take us
right up to the November elections. And President Clinton was
quick today to take some of the credit for an improving economy.
Still Wall Street is afraid a surging economy -- all of this good
news -- could mean higher inflation and interest rates. The Dow
Industrials plunged today more than 76 points." While Rather did
make it clear that bad news could be ahead, neither CBS or NBC saw
through the White House spin.
On ABC's World News Tonight, however, Brit Hume
put White House
claims of credit into context. Hume showed a clip of Laura Tyson,
Director of the National Economic Council, saying "This is plain
and simple good news for the American economy and more evidence
that the President's economic strategy is paying off."
Hume then reported "Tyson went on to call
this the second longest
peacetime expansion since World War II, not mentioning that the
longest was during the Reagan years, which the Clinton Administration
prefers to call 'the decade of greed.' She also did not mention that
this expansion includes the last part of the Bush Administration, a
time Mr. Clinton always claimed was a recession."
It's great to see one major reporter willing to
cut through the White House's historical revisionism. --