Off the Record

Greta: There's nothing's wimpy about George H.W. Bush - and the media's power

'Off the Record,' 11/18/14: A conversation with George W. Bush about the controversial 1987 Newsweek cover of his father reminds us that the media wield immense power that can be used viciously and disgracefully

 

By Greta Van Susteren

Let's go "Off the Record." After my interview yesterday with President George W. Bush in his childhood home in Midland, Texas, I was thinking about the media and the work that we do. We in the media have great jobs. And we can do so much with our big spotlights, but there are times when the media are painfully terrible, even disgraceful.

And this one might take the prize, the October 1987 cover of Newsweek calling President Bush 41 a "wimp." A wimp, really? By the young age of 22, he had already flown 58 bombing missions in the pacific. And had even been shot down by the Japanese while defending our freedom. That's hardly a wimp.

But do you know what's more despicable than that insult? The timing of that Newsweek cover:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH: It was the day he announced for president by the way in '88. Needless to say, I hit the roof. Sometimes, parts of the media try to influence people's opinions. It's just unfair.

What happens in the political process, it did not embitter him, however. He went on to win.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

So, just reminder to all of us in the media - while we are far from perfect and mistakes can be made, some things are so obvious, like this. So you wonder how it could even happen. And that's my "Off the Record" comment tonight.