What Are You Guys Doing?! AP Offers Tasteless Obituary of George H.W. Bush

December 1st, 2018 2:38 AM

Not long after it was announced publicly that former President George H.W. Bush had passed away late Friday night in Houston, Texas, the Associated Press came out with a smugness and bias that showed how, even in death, the liberal media can’t help but take shots at conservatives and Republicans. 

The AP and recently-retired correspondent Michael Graczyk also articulated this not only in the lead paragraph of their story but also in their second tweet about Bush’s death: “George H.W. Bush, a patrician New Englander whose presidency soared with the coalition victory over Iraq in Kuwait, but then plummeted in the throes of a weak economy that led voters to turn him out of office after a single term, has died. He was 94.”

Yes, really. Since the tweet went out, it was quickly pilloried and ventured into ratio territory

Graczyk’s lengthy obituary was filled with liberal bias, summing up the press’s worldview perfectly. Partway through paragraph three, he was back to the negative on Bush’s legacy (click “expand”):

But Bush would acknowledge that he had trouble articulating “the vision thing,” and he was haunted by his decision to break a stern, solemn vow he made to voters: “Read my lips. No new taxes.”

He lost his bid for re-election to Bill Clinton in a campaign in which businessman H. Ross Perot took almost 19 percent of the vote as an independent candidate.


After his 1992 defeat, George H.W. Bush complained that media-created “myths” gave voters a mistaken impression that he did not identify with the lives of ordinary Americans. He decided he lost because he “just wasn’t a good enough communicator.”

Concerning his entrance into the White House in 1989, Graczyk slighted him as someone possessing “a reputation as a man of indecision and indeterminate views” as “[o]ne newsmagazine suggested he was a ‘wimp.’”

Taking a dig at Ronald Reagan, Graczyk wrote that Bush’s “work-hard, play-hard approach to the presidency won broad public approval” as evidence by how he “held more news conferences in most months than Reagan did in most years.”

The longtime AP correspondent cited his successes on encouraging Americans to become a “‘kinder, gentler’ country,” engage in volunteerism, and a litany of foreign policy successes, but his failures were chalked up to how his “true interests lay elsewhere, outside the realm of nettlesome domestic politics” even though “[s]even years of economic growth ended in mid-1990.” 

And, yes, there was a nod to the nomination of Clarence Thomas and the subsequent Anita Hill hearing that “spark[ed] an intense debate over race, gender and the modern workplace.”

Despite his lengthy resume, the 1992 campaign loss permeated the obituary (click “expand”):

He rode into office pledging to make the United States a “kinder, gentler” nation and calling on Americans to volunteer their time for good causes — an effort he said would create “a thousand points of light.”

It was Bush’s violation of a different pledge, the no-new-taxes promise, that helped sink his bid for a second term. He abandoned the idea in his second year, cutting a deficit-reduction deal that angered many congressional Republicans and contributed to GOP losses in the 1990 midterm elections.


In the closing days of the 1992 campaign, Bush fought the impression that he was distant and disconnected, and he seemed to struggle against the younger, more empathetic Clinton.

During a campaign visit to a grocers’ convention, Bush reportedly expressed amazement when shown an electronic checkout scanner. Critics seized on the moment, saying it indicated that the president had become disconnected from voters.

Later at a town-hall style debate, he paused to look at his wristwatch — a seemingly innocent glance that became freighted with deeper meaning because it seemed to reinforce the idea of a bored, impatient incumbent.

In the same debate, Bush became confused by a woman’s question about whether the deficit had affected him personally. Clinton, with apparent ease, left his seat, walked to the edge of the stage to address the woman and offered a sympathetic answer.

Bush said the pain of losing in 1992 was eased by the warm reception he received after leaving office.

“I lost in ’92 because people still thought the economy was in the tank, that I was out of touch and I didn’t understand that,” he said in an AP interview shortly before the dedication of his presidential library in 1997. “The economy wasn’t in the tank, and I wasn’t out of touch, but I lost. I couldn’t get through this hue and cry for ‘change, change, change’ and ‘The economy is horrible, still in recession.’”

The obituary wound down with a more straightforward examination of his background and resume, but Graczyk still was throwing jabs, bashing Bush as having grown up “into the New England elite, a world of prep schools, mansions and servants seemingly untouched by the Great Depression.”