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Wednesday, 10 July, 2002, 12:29 GMT 13:29 UK
US papers dismiss Bush speech
President Bush speaks to business leaders gathered at an Association for a Better New York luncheon
The media question Bush's leadership on reform
President George W. Bush's speech on corporate ethics has failed to impress American editorial writers.


The biggest disappointment was Mr Bush's failure to insist on a forceful reform of the accounting industry

New York Times
Major liberal-leaning newspapers, such as The New York Times and The Washington Post, consider the presidential recommendations as too little, too late.

The business-friendly Wall Street Journal dismisses the address as political grandstanding.

And the West Coast press - while covering the speech in their news pages - have not thought it worthy of an editorial.

Playing politics?

The New York Times says Mr Bush's speech was "disappointingly devoid of tough proposals to remedy underlying problems" in accounting and corporate governance.

"The biggest disappointment was Mr. Bush's failure to insist on a forceful reform of the accounting industry," according to the paper.

It urges Mr Bush to "transcend partisanship" and urge Republican party leaders in the House of Representatives to adopt the tough bill on accounting reform being discussed in the Senate.


The speech was widely and accurately described as an exercise in defensive politics

Wall Street Journal

The Washington Post also says Mr Bush's suggestions fall far short of measures being hatched in Congress.

"He focused mainly on tougher penalties for white-collar criminals plus extra resources to pursue them. But he offered less on both scores than reformers in the Senate," the paper says.

The Wall Street Journal, for its part, accuses Mr Bush of jumping on the reform bandwagon and playing politics with corporate scandals.

"His stern words for CEO wrongdoers were perfectly apt, and some of his proposals might even help," the paper writes.

"But coming so long after the Enron scandal first broke, and amid election season, the speech was widely and accurately described as an exercise in defensive politics."

Over to Congress

USA Today welcomes the new momentum for reform.

But the paper adds: "As disappointed investors have seen, it won't last without presidential leadership that goes beyond toughening the punishment for those who commit crimes."

The paper says Mr Bush has been quiet on new laws to close loopholes "easily exploited by corporate executives more interested in their own quick profits than shareholders' long-term stakes".

The Houston Chronicle - from Mr Bush's home state of Texas - agrees that the main push for reform will come from Capitol Hill rather than the White House:

"How the Congress navigates this political balance sheet and how the president works with and responds to the reform efforts will do more to restore investor confidence than any presidential speech or campaign-season congressional press conference," the paper says.

On the West Coast, neither the Los Angeles Times nor the San Francisco Chronicle, carried editorials about the speech.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Scott Cleland, Precursor
"They want to send a very strong message that wrong doers will be punished"
Charles Lewis, Centre for Public Integrity
"Is anyone actually going to be prosecuted?"
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09 Jul 02 | Americas
09 Jul 02 | Americas
03 Jul 02 | Business
08 Jul 02 | Business
28 Jun 02 | Business
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