Two days ago, in the article headlined "Senator's Kenya Visit Inspires Obama-Mania," the Los Angeles Times wrote about Illinois Democrat Senator Barack Obama visiting his father's homeland.
"He's a role model for all of Africa," a Kenyan playwright effuses. The story is typically glowing as is much of the coverage Obama has gotten about his trip from the American media.
Yet Charles Thomas, a reporter for Chicago's ABC affiliate WLS-TV who is accompanying the senator, sees less enthusiasm in Kenya than here: "Producer Janet Hundley and I spent all of Wednesday in Nairobi and were somewhat surprised by the lack of 'buzz' surrounding the only African-American U.S. Senator's visit to his ancestral homeland. As the newspapers make little mention of it the television news programs make even less."
That suggests the U.S. mainstream media, in perpetual adoration mode for the liberal Mr. Obama, is hyping his visit in the context of a possible presidential bid.
Interestingly, there has been little commentary questioning exactly what the purpose of the senator's visit is. He's going to take an AIDS test because, he told the Chicago Sun-Times, "Leaders, I think, have a responsibility to speak honestly and clearly about these issues." The test is obviously just a photo op since he admitted, after being asked, that he's already taken an AIDS test for an insurance policy.
Leaders do have a responsibility to speak out on issues, but shouldn't that speaking out be to the people the leader represents?
Instead of blowing tax dollars on visiting his father's homeland and strutting his "concern" for Africa, shouldn't he be attending to more pressing matters here in the United States?
Then again, if the real purpose of his African journey is to pump up his presidential possibilities, the warm mainstream media attention he's receiving won't hurt. As the Kenya Times reported: "Old white Americans in Washington DC describe him as 'an incredibly intelligent young man who we think shall one day become President of the United States.'"
This is one old white American who hopes he doesn't.