Sticking up for European socialism, Friday night on HBO's Real Time, BBC America's Katty Kay contended the “idea of demonizing” a “public option” for U.S. health care “as some sort of step toward socialism -- it just seems to me so out of touch with reality.” That's because “in Britain we have a purely public plan and even the Conservative Party calls it one of our great national treasures,” while other European nations “that have some sort of a public plan actually, you know what, they seem to like it” since “it seems to actually work pretty well and no one wants to get rid of it.”
The fact Britain's Conservative Party doesn't oppose that nation's nationalized health system says more about how far the party is to the left than anything about the benefits of the system.
On Monday, correspondent Richard Roth gave a glowing report on President and Michelle Obama in Paris: "The big tourist treat in Paris this weekend was for the tourists treated to a sight of the Obamas driving by. For the President and First Lady, the treat may have been a European reprise of their date night in New York a week ago."
Reporting for the Early Show, Roth also emphasized the idea that no one in Paris was "inconvenienced" by the Obamas’ visit: "Other tourists at the Eiffel Tower Friday night were surprised when the First Lady and the Obama girls turned up, but not much inconvenienced...And no whining, at least certainly not in public, though what's to complain about when the Pompidou Center’s been opened, especially for a presidential family viewing of modern art and the day's capped with a bit of shopping at a Left Bank children's boutique."
Following Roth’s report, fill-in co-host Debbye Turner Bell showed how impressed she was with the President’s romantic getaway, remarking: "My husband’s got a lot of explaining to do." Co-host Russ Mitchell jokingly added: "If you’re a guy and your name is not Barack Obama, this is not good news. There’s nothing good about this." Bell agreed: "The bar has been raised." Later, weatherman Dave Price concluded: "No, you know what? I think it's great. I said it before. You know, whether it would be President Bush or another president, I think it's great. You know, you try and have some semblance of a – of a relationship or a family life."
On Sunday, White House correspondent Chip Reid gave a glowing review of President Obama’s overseas trip: "A trip laden with symbolism and elegant words, asking the world to look beyond old hatreds and wounds. In doing so, he hopes to create a world where there never has to be another D-Day." [audio available here]
During CBS Sunday Morning, Reid reported on Obama’s trip to the Middle East and Europe, highlighting the President’s speech in Cairo last week and marking of the 65 th anniversary of D-Day in France on Saturday. On the subject of Obama addressing the Islamic world, Reid cited left-wing New York Times columnist and Obama sycophant, Roger Cohen, who declared: "He went out there, he spoke movingly...He spoke in a way that convinced Muslims that he is sensitive to their view of their suffering, to their culture, to their religion. And that's a new message from an American president."
In March of 2008, Cohen jumped aboard the Obama campaign, using his column to praise then candidate Obama’s speech on race: "It takes bravery, and perhaps an unusual black-white vantage point, to navigate these places where hurt is profound, incomprehension the rule, just as it takes courage to say, as Obama did, that black ‘anger is real; it is powerful’...Can an inquiring mind actually explore the half-shades of truth? Yes. It. Can...The clamoring now in the United States for a presidency that uplifts rather than demeans is a reflection of the intellectual desert of the Bush years."
On Tuesday's Hannity show on FNC, while interviewing author Brigitte Gabriel, host Sean Hannity suggested that, rather than make apologies for America in the Muslim world, that President Obama should point out that Muslims have benefited from America's assistance in various countries, and Gabriel pointed out that the United States sided with Muslims against Christians in the former Yugoslavia.
Hannity posed the question: "Shouldn't the President be highlighting, for example, the sacrifice of America to help save some Kuwaiti Muslims and in Somalia and in Afghanistan and in Iraq and in other parts of the world?"
There is little argument that the British press is doing a better job than its U.S. counterparts covering the Obama administration's less than perfect performance.
If the reactions of Nile Gardiner and James Delingpole at the UK Telegraph to White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs's blanket criticism of British journalism are any indication, UK reporters are also more willing to stand up for themselves instead of filing toothless complaints and letting veiled threats go by without blowback.
First, via Howard Kurtz, here's the fine whine from Associated Press reporter, President of the White House Correspondents' Association, and Democratic operative Jennifer Loven about the Obama administration's penchant for anonymous, "on background" briefings:
Mr. Biden has also been engaged on the Balkan issue since the early 1990s, when he was an outspoken advocate of the Bosnian cause. During his speech, Mr. Biden recalled his trip to the country in 1993, and how, flying in at the time, his plane was fired upon, and bombed-out homes with snipers inside could be seen.
Speaking of "old patterns" -- Biden sure got fired on a lot as a Democratic senator, didn't he? During the presidential campaign he claimed his helicopter was "forced down" in Afghanistan. (Turns out it was "forced down" by a snowstorm.)
CBS anchor Harry Smith and Bill O’Reilly traded light blows with each other on Tuesday’s Early Show, as the Fox News Channel host marked his 100th consecutive month at the top of cable news ratings. Smith jabbed his guest about his 12 years on the same network: “Couldn’t hold a job at any other place?...Is this the longest continuous employment you have ever had?” O’Reilly didn’t take it lying down, however, and got in his own hits at Smith, such as joking about how the CBS anchor apparently hangs out with President Obama.
After beginning with his employment jab at O’Reilly, Smith asked the Fox News anchor about the piracy off the coast of Somalia. O’Reilly replied by recommending the arming of merchant ships and the posting of security guards onboard. He also got his first ribbing in at Smith: “A few security guards? Look, you got more security around you, Smith...here than they have in the boats.” The CBS anchor quipped back, “I need it....We’ve got guys like you coming in and I never know what’s going to happen.” O’Reilly further recommended that a blockade be initiated off the Somali coast.
During the 7:00 p.m. hour of Saturday’s CNN Newsroom, anchor Don Lemon pushed the view that Barack Obama should try to emulate European gun laws as a way of reducing gun violence in America as he discussed the subject with four guests. During an interview with former FBI agent Gregg McCrary, who expressed support for an assault weapons ban, Lemon suggested Obama learn from the Europeans: "The one person who can probably weigh on this and may have the most influence is the President. Since he's over there in Europe now, and they're, you know, they're not perfect, but it seems that their gun laws seem to be at least working in a way that ours are not."
While Lemon tried to sound nonpartisan at times – once declaring, "We're just trying to find a solution here. No one is on one side or the other. We just want a solution" – and seemed to try to quell accusations of partisanship and liberal and conservative labels, at one point he seemed to single out conservatives to chide for criticizing liberals for advocating more gun control:
Every time we do something on gun control, it always boils down – when it comes to the e-mail, at least – that I get, we get as a response, it's a conservative issue or it's a liberal issue. "Liberals want to ban guns and take away my rights," conservatives say, "this is my right." But no one has the right to terrorize and kill people. And you heard the FBI agent say, people are being killed. Not conservatives or liberals.
In the brief "Closing Arguments" segment on Wednesday's "Nightline," ABC's Terry Moran credulously repeated the White House contention that Barack Obama didn't bow to the King of Saudi Arabia last week at the G-20 summit. As video of the incident played, Moran narrated, "He sees King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. Goes in for the hello. There's a hand shake. Obama bends at the waist. But was it a bow?" [Audio available here.]
He then recited, "The White House called it a lean, pointing out the King's shorter than the President." Inviting people to respond on his Twitter page, Moran wondered, "So, tonight, we ask you, was it a bow and do you care?" A search of @TerryMoran responses on Twitter shows a healthy number of people somewhat incredulous at the host's lack of skepticism. DesigningDi instructed, "Are you blind? Of course he's bowing. Don't play stupid!"
USA Today's Chuck Raasch has decided that President Obama is a "transformational American leader abroad" and that his America Stinks tour of Europe is a "confirming stamp of that new reality." This effluvia of over indulgent praise heaped on Obama is ubiquitous in the media, we all know, but what makes Raasch's piece egregious is the assumption of historical "truth" that posits that Obama has already succeeded as president even though he's only been in office a few short months. Raash states as fact that Obama has "transformed" America's image with this one tour and that all sorts of new and better relations have followed.
But, the main problem with Raasch's sycophancy is that "followed" hasn't even arrived yet. In fact, Raasch writes this article before Obama's trip abroad is fairly done. It is idiotic to say what "has" come of it all before the president has even set his feet back on American soil. And this is a key problem with all these fake assessments of the "success" of Obama's presidency. There hasn't BEEN any "success" because history has yet to see the outcome of anything he's done thus far.
But this doesn't stop the slobbering Obama love affair that mediots like Raasch wallow in. It all amounts to little else but propaganda as opposed to serious analysis -- serious prOpaganda, if you will.
On Monday’s Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann seemed to rationalize the actions of the Chile-based Marxist terror group MIR, as he compared one of the group’s followers who helped kidnap a Spanish businessman, and who is currently attempting to have Bush administration members indicted in a Spanish court on war crimes charges, to George Washington.
In response to FNC’s Bill O’Reilly, who last week pointed out that Gonzalo Boye, the attorney in Spain who is trying to have Bush administration members prosecuted, himself spent eight years in a Spanish prison for assisting the MIR, Olbermann suggested that the attorney’s involvement with the Chilean terrorist group was justified because the group's aim was to topple former dictator Augusto Pinochet.
But Olbermann did not mention that the crime Boye was convicted of being involved in was the 1988 kidnapping of Spanish businessman Emiliano Revilla, who was abducted outside his Madrid home and held eight months for ransom in a collaborated effort between the Chile-based MIR and the Spain-based ETA, another left-wing terror group which has perpetrated bombings and killed many in Spain. Olbermann responded to O’Reilly’s complaint that it was a "big omission" for a New York Times article not to mention Boye’s history by rationalizing Boye’s terrorist history. Olbermann: "Well, no, not as big an omission as forgetting to mention that the man whom Mr. Boye`s collaboration with terrorists targeted was the sadistic Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. This is like Bill-O calling George Washington a terrorist."
On the Monday, March 30, The O’Reilly Factor, FNC host Bill O’Reilly slammed the New York Times for not reporting that an attorney in Spain, Gonzalo Boye, who is trying to have Bush administration members charged with war crimes in a Spanish court, himself has served eight years in prison for "collaborating with terrorists," referring to the Chile-based MIR, and the Spain-based ETA, both left-wing terrorist groups. During his "Talking Points Memo," O’Reilly related: "The action is being driven by a man named Gonzalo Boye, a radical left lawyer in Madrid. On Sunday, the New York Times reported Boye's beef, but did not report this: Boye served almost eight years in a Spanish prison for collaborating with terrorists. He was sentenced in 1996. Now, that seemed to be a mighty big omission by the New York Times, does it not?"
But on the same night’s Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann informed his viewers of the possible indictment in Spain without mentioning Boye and his terrorist connections. Introducing a discussion with George Washington University Professor Jonathan Turley, Olbermann announced: "The first steps towards opening a criminal investigation against the Bush administration about torture is now under way, only it`s not by the U.S. government but by Spain. The New York Times reporting a Spanish court now building a case against six high-level Bush officials."
Assessing President Barrack Obama's overseas trip, ABC's George Stephanopoulos proposed it was “a real test for the President” and, no surprise, decided “he passed it pretty easily” since “he was confident, he had a sense of command in his personal and his public diplomacy, forged strong relationships with his European counterparts...” Furthermore, Stephanopoulos admired Obama's “strong” unannounced visit to troops in Iraq, touting how the President “capped off” his travels “with this critical visit to the troops. When you've got American troops fighting on two fronts, you have to end that visit with a strong visit with the troops, and he did.”
Asked by anchor Charles Gibson to list some minuses, Stephanopoulos acknowledged “good feelings with your allies don't guarantee agreement,” citing Obama's inability to secure help in Afghanistan and with North Korea, but the host of ABC's This Week wrapped up with how the White House is pleased with the trip -- as if it were possible they wouldn't be: “They feel this trip went exactly as they planned. They couldn't be happier. Now they're going to come back home and focus again on the economy.”
Hard to imagine how they could be any happier with the media's reverential coverage.
At an April 4 news conference in Strasbourg, France (White House transcript here), President Obama referred to a language that doesn't exist (bold is mine; HT to DrewM at Ace of Spades):
It was also interesting to see that political interaction in Europe is not that different from the United States Senate. There's a lot of -- I don't know what the term is in Austrian -- wheeling and dealing -- and, you know, people are pursuing their interests, and everybody has their own particular issues and their own particular politics.
Apparently none of Obama's 12 teleprompters (their existence was cited a week ago at the UK's Evening Standard, and noted yesterday at NewsBusters and BizzyBlog) were able to guide Obama's dialect-challenged utterance in time.
Amazingly, Tom Raum of the Associated Press in effect made the same mistake (HT to an e-mailer) when he cited the above Obama quote and failed to note that there isn't an Austrian language. Raum and who knows how many editors surely had several hours to get it right, and didn't.
In an interview on CNN.com on Friday titled “Zakaria: Obama disappoints as world leader,” author and CNN anchor Fareed Zakaria threw cold water on the media’s laudatory coverage of President Obama’s trip to Europe: “Although he brought a lot of star power -- the talk of the week -- at least in certain circles in Washington, New York and London -- has been that President Obama is failing in his role as leader of the free world.” He cited a columnist overseas to support his opinion, something that hasn’t really been done in the media’s coverage of the trip. Zakaria also plugged the central thesis of his book, “The Post-American World” -- that the “rest of the world is rising to meet the United States’ position -- economically, politically and culturally.”
The unnamed correspondent who interviewed Zakaria began by asking what the anchor/author thought about the president’s trip. After dropping the “failing” word, he cited a recent column by British columnist Jonathan Freedland in The Guardian, that “President Obama looks neither like JFK nor FDR but rather JEC -- that’s James Earl Carter -- better known here as Jimmy Carter.” The interviewer countered, “But it appears everyone is fawning over him.” Zakaria answered, “President Obama has encountered a Europe that is more resistant to his policy proposals. The French and Germans have their own proposals. The Chinese and Russians have come with their own demands. And everyone expects him to apologize for having caused this mess in the first place.”
Friday’s CBS Early Show continued its fawning coverage of Barack and Michelle Obama in Europe as co-host Harry Smith gushed over the First Lady: "I mean, there's a kind of just raw realness about her. That session with the schoolgirls yesterday...People were in tears." Smith made the comment while talking to executive editor of thedailybeast.com, Tina Brown, who had her own words of praise: "Michelle is so authentic, and so real, and so today, and so, you know, J. Crew, and the whole price point thing and not designer clothes..With Michelle, you can almost feel those warm arms. You know, there's a kind of real red-blooded feel to her. But there's also -- I mean she's almost like overtaking Oprah, I think, as the kind of inspirational 'it' girl at this point." [audio available here]
Later, Smith dismissed criticism that Michelle Obama had broken protocol when meeting Queen Elizabeth: "This whole touching of the Queen and everything else, in the end, the Queen says, 'let's please stay in touch.' Whatever affront, or perceived affront, was completely trumped by the fact that those two people charmed the Queen's socks off." Brown agreed: "They completely charmed them. And the Queen wouldn't have taken any offense at that...she's also, I think, getting a kind of almost Princess Di-like empathy going at this point. You know, when she went to that school yesterday and you saw this tall figure bending down to embrace these kids wearing those pearls, it was like, ‘oh, my God, it’s Di time all over again.’"
Former Democratic political operative-turned journalist George Stephanopoulos appeared on Friday's "Good Morning America" to tout what a "star" Michelle Obama became during the trip to the G-20 summit in London. After being asked by co-host Chris Cuomo about the decision by the President to take his wife, the "This Week" host effusively responded, "That turned out to be a no-brainer, didn't it, Chris? I mean, Michelle is a star."
Comparing the First Lady to another family much-loved by the liberal media, he continued, "Again, much like Jackie Kennedy on her first trips overseas with President Kennedy, she is doing so well for the President, for the country right here." Speaking of how the President did at the summit, he opined, "But the President did a good job of managing expectations going into the summit. So, that what they came out with seemed like a victory." Isn't that essentially saying that journalists allowed themselves to be spun by the President and his team?
"Good Morning America" reporter Yunji de Nies continued to fawn over Michelle Obama on Friday, lauding how the First Lady shared her "Cinderella story" with a girls school in London. An ABC graphic for the segment opined, "Michelle Wows Europe: First Trip Big Hit." Recounting the positive reception the speech received, de Nies cooed, "But it was her personal touch that made the biggest impact."
Tina Brown, liberal commentator and former editor of the New Yorker, was featured to rhapsodize, "I don't see any misstep from Michelle Obama on this trip. She really excited everybody. She's done it right." Of course, de Nies made no mention of Brown's left wing political views. Sounding more like a PR representative, the GMA correspondent asserted, "She [Michelle Obama] leaves the U.K., no longer a stranger, but, now, a friend."
Two journalists appearing as guests on CNN on Wednesday and Thursday praised “mighty Michelle” Obama for being “stylish,” “successful,” and for showing “an interest in wanting to reach out to people who may feel they’ve been disenfranchised or held at a distance from the power structure.”
Eighteen hours later on Thursday’s American Morning, the Washington Post’s Robin Givhan tried to sell how Mrs. Obama could aid her husband on the international stage: “[She] helps people to get more of a human sense of the administration. And also, I think that for many people, there was, to some degree, a sense of being closed off to the rest of the world or closed off to those who are kind of outside of the mainstream by other administrations. And I think this is a way of trying to build those bridges in a way that is very non-confrontational.”
At the top of the 3:00PM EST hour of live coverage on MSNBC, anchor Norah O’Donnell and Politico executive editor Jim VandeHei were practically tripping over themselves declaring Barack Obama the "rock star" of Europe in the wake of the G-20 summit. O’Donnell began by asking: "Can we gauge this meeting as a success?" VandeHei replied: "I think early indications are it probably was a big success...I think they'll hail that as a big success. I think the fact that he's just been greeted like such a hero overseas...and I think that that press conference will probably get a pretty good reception." O’Donnell agreed: "You're right, it was sort of like rock star treatment...I mean, you could even see it from some of the international press there at that press conference that we just watched for the past hour...Of course, there was the Obama-mania out there..."
Later, O’Donnell compared Obama to Bush: "...there's also a turning point in terms of a break with this administration and the last administration. And Bush foreign policy. The President, today, talked about the old ways of Washington...How much of this was a clean break with the Bush Administration and that type of foreign policy?" VandeHei then won the contest over who could praise Obama more: "Oh, I think that the campaign through now, it's all been a clean break... Norah, as you well know, Obama could have gone and sat in his hotel room and listened to his ipod and he still would have been greeted with more cheer in Europe than President Bush would. So that's not a hard hurdle to clear. Because Bush was so unpopular overseas and Obama is a rock star overseas, in some places even more so than here. So that part was an easy slam dunk for him."
Thursday’s CBS Early Show offered non-stop gushing over Barack and Michelle Obama in Britain as co-host Julie Chen spoke with royal watcher Ingrid Seward: "Well, what is the buzz so far about Michelle Obama, and is she overshadowing her husband's presence over there?" Seward replied: "No, she's not overshadowing her husband. I think we all find him very charismatic, very handsome, and almost with the responsibility of being a savior on his shoulders...And people are excited to see him, very excited to see him." Chen added: "As they should be."
Later, Chen asked about the Obamas’ gift to Queen Elizabeth, an ipod loaded with show tunes: "Now, what are people saying about the First Lady and President Obama's gift of an ipod to the Queen?" Seward declared: "Actually, an ipod is a perfect gift for the Queen because in the cellars of Buckingham Palace, she has so many unwanted gifts, sort of trophies and unattractive pieces of jewelry. I mean, she couldn't be more thrilled with something useful like an ipod."
"Good Morning America" reporter Yunji de Nies on Thursday gushed over Michelle Obama's appearance in London for the G-20 summit, thrilling about the First Lady's fashion and the fact that "Mrs. Obama hasn't lost touch with her sensible chic American roots." In contrast, GMA ignored the controversy over Mrs. Obama touching the Queen of England during her visit, which many consider a breach of protocol. Similarly, the show's hosts and reporters downplayed the fact that the Obamas gave Queen Elizabeth II an iPod loaded with Barack Obama's speeches.
This is despite the fact that the very same de Nies filed a report on Tuesday on the history of overseas presidential trips. She insisted, "But one unlucky misstep and everyone remembers." She then proceeded to feature supposed gaffes from Republican Presidents George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. Two days later, however, de Nies ignored the missteps of the Obamas and filed an absolutely laudatory segment on the First Lady. She rhapsodized, "The First Lady showcased her signature sleeveless style, her bare arms reminiscent of Jackie Kennedy, the last First Lady to cause such a stir across the pond."
CNN correspondent Alina Cho loaded the regal language into her report on Wednesday’s American Morning about Europe’s “apparent love affair” with Michelle Obama. Besides the obligatory Jackie Kennedy references, Cho gave a preview of the first lady’s tea with Queen Elizabeth II: “On today’s schedule: tea with the queen, and insiders say the queen and America’s queen bee will be fast friends.” The correspondent even compared Mrs. Obama to Princess Diana. She also referred to the Obamas as the “royal family of the United States.”
Cho began her report by hyping the first lady’s popularity, how it apparently isn’t exclusive to the States, and how it could overshadow her husband the president: “Tina Brown, as you know, joked about an hour ago that Sara Brown is a beautiful girl but, you know, everybody sort of knows that right now, at least, she pales in comparison to Michelle Obama. Of course, the big question is, could she overshadow the president?...So, you know, there’s no denying that Michelle Obama is a rock star in America, but how is her style and personality playing abroad? Well, the early reviews are very good. The apparent love affair with the U.S. first lady is flourishing in Europe.”
On Wednesday’s CBS Early Show correspondent Chip Reid reported on President Obama’s first day in Britain: "Arriving at 10 Downing Street this morning, the President and First Lady were warmly greeted by Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his wife Sarah. They posed for a hoard of photographers who shouted for the President, who is hugely popular here, to give them another wave...Then a short walk across the street for a press conference where Mr. Obama was showered with praise."
A clip was played of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown offering that "praise": "Your first 70 days in office have changed America, and you've changed America's relationship with the world." Reid then added: "After cementing relations between the two close allies, the President said he's confident this summit will help ease the global economic crisis."
Reid began his report with breaking news, touting a possible nuclear arms reduction agreement between the United States and Russia: "At this very moment, President Obama is meeting with Russian President Dimitri Medvedev and White House officials say they will soon announce a diplomatic breakthrough. Opening negotiations on a new treaty to reduce their nuclear arsenals. Some very good news for President Obama as he begins this high stakes summit."
The day President Barack Obama arrived in London, the broadcast network evening newscasts on Tuesday night noted that he faces some tough challenges from other leaders who are not as enthralled with him as are their citizens, but ABC and CBS went out of their way to point out how Obama is more popular than was former President Bush. From London, ABC anchor Charles Gibson highlighted the American perception, mostly formed by the media, of how those abroad view the U.S.:
The President comes here with firm backing from the American people. According to our ABC News/Washington Post poll, 43 percent of Americans say the country's image abroad is improving under President Obama. That number was just 10 percent under President Bush. And the President continues to get high marks at home, as well: 64 percent say they are confident the President's programs will improve the economy.
Also from London, CBS anchor Katie Couric stressed how foreigners are pleased Obama's not Bush:
What he represents to many countries overseas is a departure from the Bush administration which alienated some foreign governments early on with its rejection of global warming initiatives and its national security positions. It may be a fresh start, but the current President's approval ratings will only take him so far.
"Good Morning America" reporter Yunji de Nies on Tuesday touted supposed gaffes of past Republican presidents in a segment on Barack Obama's trip abroad. De Nies intoned, "But one unlucky misstep and everyone remembers." As she said this, video of George W. Bush's 2005 trip to Beijing appeared onscreen. (In the footage, the then-President can be seen trying to go out the wrong door.) More Republican footage followed.
First, 1992 video of George H.W. Bush throwing up in Japan was highlighted and then a 2006 picture of George W. Bush rubbing the neck of German Chancellor Angela Merkel appeared. De Nies described these two events as "the upset stomach of a President" and an "awkward moment between two world leaders." Introducing a clip of veteran ABC correspondent Sam Donaldson, she continued, "Sam Donaldson remembers watching Ronald Reagan fight to stay awake at the G7 summit in Venice."
In the 8:00AM EST hour of Tuesday’s CBS Early Show correspondent Elizabeth Palmer gave a gushing report on Barack and Michelle Obama’s upcoming trip to Europe, particularly focusing on the popularity of the new First Lady: "In 1961 when Jacqueline Kennedy came to Europe, she enchanted even the crustiest of world leaders. And she's remained a tough act to follow for every First Lady since. But Michelle Obama looks more than equal to the task of impressing and delighting even the grandest of them...To be honest, most Europeans were going to like whoever replaced President Bush. But there's no doubt Michelle and her husband have an extra je ne sais quoi."
Palmer cited French journalist Agnes Poirier, who declared: "Barack Obama and Michelle Obama are a very alluring and very sophisticated couple, and that plays well with the French. They like seeing, you know, sophistication at the helm of power." Palmer concluded her report by adding: "And this sophisticated lady hand in hand with power looks poised to do wonders for America's image abroad."
The three largest mainstream media wire services all agreed that supporters of Pope Benedict XVI who dared to stand up to anti-Catholic leftists in front of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on Sunday were extremists of the right of some sort. The Associated Press used the “right-wing” label to describe the faithful Catholics. Both Reuters and the French Agence France-Presse both used the term “far-right youths,” with the AFP going so far as describing the pro-Benedict protesters as “far-right militants” in another report.
ACT-UP Paris, joined by communists and “green” activists, protested in front of the famed Gothic cathedral to voice opposition to the pontiff’s recent remarks against condom use during his visit to Africa. In addition to holding signs which labeled Benedict XVI an “assassin,” they threw condoms on the ground while giving others to passers-by as people were leaving Mass. The radical left-wing activists skirmished with the supporters of the Pope, leading to the arrest of eleven people by police.
If the snub of British PM Gordon Brown at the hands of President Obama and his wife weren't enough, now British Cabinet Secretary Sir Gus O'Donnell is saying that Downing Street is finding it "unbelievably difficult" to get hold of officials from Obama's administration. British officials can't seem to ever get past the administration's answer machines as they call here to try and coordinate plans for the coming G20 summit.
In frustration O'Donnell said that that when he tries to get in touch with key members of Obama's Treasury Department "there is nobody there." The phones ring and nobody answers or they get messages and that is all. "You cannot believe how difficult it is," O'Donnell told participants at a civil service conference.
While the Obama Administration ducks the Brit's phone calls, the U.S. media also seems to be ignoring this story as they've widely ignored several of the stories that detail the new administration's offhanded treatment of our closest ally.
On Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, correspondent Shelia Macvicar declared: "Playing on television sets around the world, the inauguration of this U.S. president became an extraordinary global event. From his father's ancestral homeland in Kenya, where celebration mixed with expectation...Newborn babies now bear the names of the first couple, Barack and Michelle."
From there, Macvicar went to France: "In the splendor of a grand hall in Paris, emotion overwhelmed." One French woman exclaimed: "Martin Luther King say that we shall overcome. We did today." Finally, to the Middle East: "In Gaza, they've seen presidents come and go and not much change, but, still, maybe this really is something new." A Palestinian man explained: "This is good. This is what we are looking for." Macvicar concluded: "As this president begins work, he has been greeted with an abundance of good will, and the burden of even greater expectations."
Following Macvicar’s report, co-host Julie Chen described a trip to Paris just prior to the election: "That was on October 31st. Everyone I ran into on the trip, they were calling it then the Obama election. Not the election, the Obama election." Co-host Harry Smith added: "Well, we were very fortunate yesterday, because both of us were on the Mall during the -- during the speech and during the swearing in and thereafter. And it really -- I have to say it was one of -- a remarkable experience." Co-host Maggie Rodriguez also chimed in: "Yeah. People were jumping up and down, weeping, strangers embracing. It was a beautiful thing."