'Today' Showcases Hotel Obama in Ghana

<div style="float: right"><object width="240" height="194"><param name="movie" value="http://www.eyeblast.tv/public/eyeblast.swf?v=Gd4z8z2GZu&amp;c1=0xCE4717&... name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><embed src="http://www.eyeblast.tv/public/eyeblast.swf?v=Gd4z8z2GZu&amp;c1=0xCE4717&... allowfullscreen="true" width="240" height="194"></embed></object></div>In yet another moment of Obama puffery the &quot;Today&quot; show highlighted a hotel dedicated to Barack Obama. During a segment headlined: &quot;Hotel Obama, Small Country Goes Wild For President,&quot; NBC's Mara Schiavocampo, on Friday's &quot;Today,&quot; showcased a new hotel in Ghana named after the President that is run by a former campaign worker and joined her as she took viewers on a room-by-room tour devoted to places and people important in Obama's life history [audio excerpt <a href="http://media.eyeblast.org/newsbusters/static/2009/07/2009-07-10-NBC-TDY-... target="_blank">available here</a>]: <blockquote><p>MARA SCHIAVOCAMPO: It's run by Ghanaian-American Coretta Owusu, whose father owns the business. She worked for this Obama during the campaign and then moved to Ghana to work for this one. It's a budget conscious hotel featuring 18 themed rooms priced at $60 to $100. </p><p>CORETTA OWUSU, HOTEL MANAGER: And this room is the Obama suite. Most people stay here if they come for a special occasion or they're coming with their family. Well we have Michelle Obama right next to Barack Obama. Across from Obama it's Joe Biden's room. <!--break--></p><p>SCHIAVOCAMPO: And in case you never make it to the White House, you can always stay in the Lincoln bedroom here. They're not just politically themed rooms. At Hotel Obama you can stops all through the President's life by staying in rooms like Harvard, or the Chicago Room. </p></blockquote><p>In her report Schiavocampo did manage to call Obama a &quot;lefty,&quot; however she wasn't describing Obama's ideological leanings. </p><blockquote><p><img src="http://media.eyeblast.org/newsbusters/static/2009/07/2009-07-10-NBC-Hote... vspace="3" width="240" align="right" border="0" height="180" hspace="3" />SCHIAVOCAMPO: In fact Ghanaians are so taken with the new American president they're naming lots of things after him. Everywhere he goes people tell 12-year-old Felix Agiyaba-Afreeye (sp?) he bears a striking resemblance to a certain American politician. What part of you do you think looks most like? </p><p>FELIX AGIYABA-AFREEYE: Oh everywhere. </p><p>SCHIAVOCAMPO: Tell me like where. </p><p>AGIYABA-AFREEYE: My ears. My eyes. My nose. My mouth. The way I smile. </p><p>SCHIAVOCAMPO: Even the way he writes. <b>Felix is a lefty, just like the President.</b> How do you feel when people tell you that you look like Obama? </p><p>AGIYABAAFREEYE: I feel wonderful and great.</p></blockquote><p>The following is the full segment as it aired on the July 10, &quot;Today&quot; show: </p><blockquote><p>MEREDITH VIEIRA: And now to Ghana, the next destination on President Obama's week-long overseas trip. And if he visits one of the capital city's newest hotels he might feel right at home. NBC News digital reporter Mara Schiavocampo has more on that. Mara, good morning to you. </p><p>[On screen headline: &quot;Hotel Obama, Small Country Goes Wild For President.&quot;]</p><p>MARA SCHIAVOCAMPO: Good morning, Meredith. Well, today's newspaper says it all. &quot;Akwaaba&quot; Welcome to President Obama. Ghanaians here are eagerly anticipating the President's visit and in the days leading up to it they've been clamoring for everything Obama related. Singing Obama songs, wearing Obama shirts and now some are getting a chance to sleep in Obama's room. Visitors here aren't just staying at any hotel. They're guests of Obama, Hotel Obama, that is. Brand-new come accommodations in Ghana's capital city where every room is designed around a Barack Obama theme. </p><p>CORETTA OWUSU, HOTEL OBAMA MANAGER: There's a hotel named Lincoln. There's a hotel named Washington, why not have a hotel named after Obama? </p><p>SCHIAVOCAMPO: It's run by Ghanaian-American Coretta Owusu, whose father owns the business. She worked for this Obama during the campaign and then moved to Ghana to work for this one. It's a budget conscious hotel featuring 18 themed rooms priced at $60 to $100. </p><p>OWUSU: And this room is the Obama suite. Most people stay here if they come for a special occasion or they're coming with their family. Well we have Michelle Obama right next to Barack Obama. Across from Obama it's Joe Biden's room. </p><p>SCHIAVOCAMPO: And in case you never make it to the White House, you can always stay in the Lincoln bedroom here. They're not just politically themed rooms. At Hotel Obama you can stops all through the President's life by staying in rooms like Harvard, or the Chicago Room. Even though this Obama was inaugurated less than a week ago, it's already the talk of the town. </p><p>ANTWI BAFFOUR, HOTEL GUEST: A moment in time when the U.S. president come to Ghana and suddenly hearing that there's a hotel by name Hotel Obama. So...</p><p>OWUSU: People just love the idea that the name, that the hotel is named Obama. </p><p>SCHIAVOCAMPO: In fact Ghanaians are so taken with the new American president they're naming lots of things after him. Everywhere he goes people tell 12-year-old Felix Agiyaba-Afreeye (sp?) he bears a striking resemblance to a certain American politician. What part of you do you think looks most like? </p><p>FELIX AGIYABA-AFREEYE: Oh everywhere. </p><p>SCHIAVOCAMPO: Tell me like where. </p><p>AGIYABA-AFREEYE: My ears. My eyes. My nose. My mouth. The way I smile. </p><p>SCHIAVOCAMPO: Even the way he writes. Felix is a lefty, just like the President. How do you feel when people tell you that you look like Obama? </p><p>AGIYABAAFREEYE: I feel wonderful and great.</p><p>SCHIAVOCAMPO: President Obama won't be staying at his name sake hotel during his visit, but in this nation, he'll be greeted everywhere, as the guest of honor. Now, along with the excitement there is a little bit of frustration here that Obama is not holding a big public event like Clinton did during his visit. People here really want a chance to get to see him and they're disappointed that for the most part he's gonna be kept behind closed doors. Meredith?</p><p>VIEIRA: Alright Mara Schiavocampo, thank you very much. </p></blockquote>

Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens is the Deputy Research Director at the Media Research Center.