CBS News has a story headlined, "How GOP Candidates Get Europe Wrong." The gist of it is that the Republican candidates are wrong to warn against turning America into a European-style social welfare state:
Germany has a 5.5 percent unemployment rate, an immense export surplus, and world-leading innovative companies. And its economic system, according to former U.S. ambassador John Kornblum, is closer to what the U.S. was in President Eisenhower's time than it is to socialism.
"The governments of Europe - and especially in this country, Germany - could probably be given credit for writing half of the Republican economic policy," said Kornblum. "They believe in low taxes, saving, low government expenditures, no deficits."
The candidates are dealing in caricatures of Europe that are about 90 percent wrong, in the view of American University of Rome Professor James Walston. "They are trying to smear opponents by using the socialism word, when what is actually present in Europe is something, is social democracy, and not even that," he said.
Germany is something of a cherry-picked example here: according to the OECD, the unemployment for the European Union as a whole in January 2012 was 10.1%, well above America's, which was in the low 8% neighborhood. France was at 10%, Portugal at 14.8%, and Spain at 23.3%. And Ambassador Kornblum is right that Germany's tax cuts and balanced budgets have had something to do with it; Veronique de Rugy explains more here, and also mentions Germany's changes to its labor laws, which had been excessively rigid.
The words "Sovereign debt default" don't appear in the CBS piece, and the word "Greece" appears only in a passing quote from Rick Santorum.
"But if you're a candidate who wants to move to the White House, why worry about details?" the CBS piece asks derisively.
One might respond, "If you're a CBS reporter who wants to make Republicans look bad, why worry about details?"
I've made the same point here myself about the dangers of Republicans using too broad a brush to condemn Europe, so I don't want to be too rough on CBS. The Republicans candidates should be more careful, but so should CBS News.