Businessweek Finds Media Punching Bag Was Boon to Business

Texas Governor Rick Perry was a joke, at least according to the same media that had ignored his impressive economic record.

The Associated Press called Perry “a political punchline on par with Dan Quayle,” while MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry warned Perry that he looked “a lot like the villain who twirls his moustache and laughs while a speeding train is headed toward the woman you've tied to the tracks.” Meanwhile, Perry has effectively marketed Texas as being business-friendly, drawing many to the Lone Star State.

Bloomberg Businessweek ran an article in its July 11 issue, praising Perry’s handling of the Texas economy. In the article, entitled “Rick Perry, Texas's Star Business Recruiter, Will Be Missed,” Businessweek admitted that Perry excelled at “selling Texas as the best place in the nation to do business.” But many in the media will only miss the laughter they had at Perry’s expense.

Google, General Motors, State Farm, Ebay, Apple and Visa are just some of the corporations moved to Texas during Perry’s tenure. Bloomberg Businessweek’s website also has a list of the biggest names in a “highlight reel.”

The media have also misconstrued the governor’s economic record. In August 2011, ABC’s Senior National Correspondent Jim Avila criticized Perry for the state of employment in his state saying, “His state leads the way in low-wage jobs - almost 10 percent of employees making minimum wage or less, compared to six percent nationwide.” However, according to this latest Businessweek article, “[t]he state had a less bruising recession than the rest of the U.S., and even his most unforgiving critics concede there’s one very visible part of the job he excels at: selling Texas as the best place in the nation to do business.”

The list of media criticism of Perry goes on and on. The New York Times took issue with his skepticism about climate change. Another AP article complained about Perry luring jobs from California to Texas. ABC warned as early as September 2011, that Rick Perry’s presidential campaign was doomed to failure – because his wife was publicly campaigning for him. ABC’s “Good Morning America” criticized Perry for leading a prayer vigil in August of 2011, saying that he was “possibly diminishing his appeal.” NBC’s David Gregory accused him of advocating a tax plan that would “help the rich” but hurt the “poor and the middle class,” despite his sterling record in Texas.

Most recently, NBC, ABC and CBS all expressed their outrage at Perry for daring to criticize their abortion "folk hero" Wendy Davis. Davis had led a filibuster in the Texas state senate on June 25. On June 28, NBC “Today” co-host Matt Lauer announced: "The battle over abortion gets very personal as Governor Rick Perry takes on a female senator whose filibuster helped block a controversial bill." The day after the filibuster, all three network morning shows celebrated the "passionate" political stunt by Davis while largely ignoring pro-life voices on the issue.  

Mike Ciandella
Mike Ciandella
Mike Ciandella is a staff writer for the Media Research Center's Business & Media Institute.