Thursday, May 03, 2012

Robber baron or financial wizard?

The Washington Free Beacon has taken a look at how candidates for office are judged on their business background and success. Not surprisingly, they find that whether the candidate is portrayed as a robber baron or a financial wizard depends upon ... wait for it ... political party!

In Good Business, Bad Business they write:

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s business record has been classified as a liability according to prominent talking heads and leading newspapers, while Democrats with similar backgrounds of financial success have been praised for their business acumen.

They looked at stories about presidential candidate Mitt Romney and Sen. Mark Warner. Most know of Romney's success, but in case you don't remember, Sen. Warner was a venture capitalist in the telecommunications industry where he managed to earn a personal fortune of $200 million.

As the Free Beacon explains, the Washington Post questioned Romney's impact the "costs of a modern capitalism that embraces creative destruction" but failed to question "the impacts of Warner’s investments on pay-phone sales or the employment prospects of employees who put up telephone wires, another example of creative destruction."

All this contributes to the perception (fact?) of media bias:

The press’s treatment of Romney gives further credence to allegations of bias, conservative media critics say.

“There’s an inherent ignorance of business and economics in newsrooms, so reporters rely on a Rolodex consisting of liberal contacts that reinforce what reporters already believe,” said Dan Gainor of the Media Research Center. “The default position is that businessman are evil, but if they find out the guy’s on their side, then he’ll get a pass.”

What a surprise!

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