Media Tries to Sabotage Obamas With Pseudo Stories on Faux Gaffes But No One Buys It
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The real question about how Barack and Michelle Obama are being received on their Rolling-G-20-Summit/Euro-Tour '09 has nothing to do with how the Europeans treat them, but all about the American mainstream media itself: What infinitesimal nit will they find to pick about the new president's conduct abroad that can be blown up into a two- to three-day pseudo-international incident?
You know the sort of story I mean. We're not talking about serious systemic issues, such as the different perspective a country like Germany (with universal health care, generous unemployment benefits, and a highly unionized work force) might have on the need for a global stimulus when compared to the U.S., where the party Obama just turned out of office has proposed effectively privatizing Medicare. That would be too much like journalism, and way too MEGO.
We're looking here for a truly small-bore, utterly irrelevant, content-free distraction, like the ones the MSM entertained us with during March Meme Madness. Stories like Obama
You know the media nitwit-pickers have struck when, at some point, they've made the exact opposite charge -- that Obama's too serious, too off the cuff, or does too little, all well-worn themes from the campaign. On Tuesday, for example, a Fox News promo tried to scorch the president with the tagline "Rock star no more," suggesting he's lost his touch. Of course, that's the B-side of McCain's complaint last summer (megaphoned all over Fox) that Obama drew too big a crowd in Berlin, proving he was the "world's biggest celebrity" -- and if the Eurotrash love him, how could straight-talkin' 'muricans ever accept him as president?
But let's face it: However unpopular American and British financiers may be in Europe, even Fox is having a hard time insisting that the populist firehose over there is aimed at Obama himself. The press spent two weeks in this country trying to hang Obama with the AIG bonuses, and his popularity went up.
A more likely candidate for MSM trumpetition is the line going around rightwing blogs, that the Obamas are narcissitic and stingy gifters. The English press made a big deal last month about how Prime Minister Gordon Brown gave Obama a pen mount made from the wood of a 19th century British anti-slaving warship when he visited Washington, and all he got in return was a lousy stack of American DVDs. So when it was learned that the president gave Queen Elizabeth II an iPod, the blogs went into overdrive -- AmericanDigest.com dubbed the Obamas "the Clampetts," asking, "Were they born in a barn?"
Turns out the Queen requested the video iPod the president gave her, and he filled it with footage of her American visits and 40 showtunes; he also presented her with a rare songbook signed by Richard Rodgers, the Broadway composer who wrote one of the Queen's fave musicals, "Oklahoma!" But that won't stop the piss-ant dramas. When Gift-gate turned out to be just another murder of Vince Foster, some of the same folks started getting the vapors over Michelle patting the Queen's shoulders during their meet'n'greet. Nobody "touches" the Queen, for chrissakes, they mooned -- at least, until Buckingham Palace put out word that there was no violation of protocol, and the Queen thought Michelle was expressing a very natural "affection," which she shares.
Just because both these shots at the Obamas' legitimacy went foul so quickly doesn't mean the desperate will give up, unfortunately. After all, after weeks on the case, conventional-wisdom dispensing machine Mark Halperin was on Monday's Morning Joe still kvetching about how something or other was an example of Obama "doing too much." These people are as incapable of embarrassment as Inspector Clouseau.