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Amanpour's Panel Hails Obama's 'Courage,' 'Leadership' and 'Great Global Message' on Mosque

President Barack Obama's endorsement Friday night of building a mosque near Ground Zero has driven the establishment press corps to find nobility in pursuing conviction even in the face of public opposition, not something MSM journalists admired about the previous President, while suddenly becoming very concerned about protecting private property rights - all while hailing Obama's "great global message."

"I thought the speech Friday night was a model of political courage, in the sense that he said what he believed knowing that it was going to cost him," hailed Washington Post Associate Editor David Ignatius on ABC's This Week with Christiane Amanpour. Picking up on Matthew Dowd's suggestion Obama was echoing George W. Bush's "it's my way or the highway" attitude, Chrystia Freeland, global editor-at-large for Reuters, argued:

Another way of talking about that is leadership, conviction, having your beliefs and not governing according to polls. And I think if you ask most Americans what kind of leader you want, if you ask people in the world what kind of leader do you want, you want someone who governs according to conviction....for American leaders to say in the face of, you know, some political pressure from their voters, to say actually we believe sufficiently strongly in diversity, in private property rights for our Muslim citizens, I think that's a great global message.


Ignatius, the Post's former foreign editor and business editor and now a columnist on international affairs, backed Freeland, contending that doing what upsets Americans is good to do because it protects property right and pleases the world:

I agree with that. I think that's one of our strongest suits. As the world looks at us, if they see that the United States, even in an issue that hurts, and Ground Zero hurts, even on that issue, we still stand up for the freedom of people to dispose of their property as they want. That does count. When I travel, you travel Christiane, we hear comments about that America a lot. I think you shouldn't minimize the benefits of saying to moderate Muslim, here you are. This upsets a lot of Americans, but we're going to do it anyway.

(Where were Ignatius and Freeland when the Supreme Court allowed eminent domain seizures of homes so local government could sell the land to developers?)

In between, Amanpour worried the controversy over the mosque hurts Obama's efforts to befriend Muslims and "so do you think it's wise to have this huge hubbub over it, or it should just go forward, this mosque?" Amanpour fretted:

I just want to ask you this, but it does go to the heart of what he's been doing since the beginning of his presidency, reaching out not just to the Muslim world but Muslims in general. He's made a very important first interview where he said the United States could not afford to have yet another generation of Muslims viewing it as the enemy. So do you think it's wise to have this huge hubbub over it, or it should just go forward, this mosque?

Earlier in the program, Amanpour put forward Germany's state capitalism as a model to emulate: "The big story out of Europe this weekend is that Germany has shown stronger than expected growth over the last quarter. Laura, you were saying something about how Germany had taught and trained its workforce to compete in these situations."

From Berkely, California, Laura D'Andrea Tyson, of the President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board, asserted: "A major part of that is serious vocational training and very serious ongoing training for manufacturing workers in Germany." She also trumpeted: "Germany manages to do this with a much higher tax rate than we do."

My previous looks at Amanpour's This Week:

From last Sunday: "Amanpour Elevates British Journalist Who Sees 'Culture of Hate' in U.S., Time to Divide Up Our 'Pie'"

Two weeks ago, reviewing Amanpour's debut: "Amanpour Slums to Take on U.S. Politics, Flummoxed Pelosi's Victories Aren't Better Appreciated"

A Friday (August 13) Daily Caller article by Caroline May, "Amanpour's 'This Week' continues to receive negative reviews as viewers express desire for Tapper's return," included my assessment of Amanpour:

 

Brent H. Baker, Media Research Center Vice President for Research and Publications speculated to The Daily Caller that Amanpour's air of superiority has added to the poor reviews. "Viewer revulsion toward Amanpour is hardly surprising given her condescending attitude toward them," he said. "In her first two shows, she's acted like she's deigning to explain the world to the uninformed rubes, aka Americans, watching, acting as if she's slumming to help bring the world to the ill-informed Americans."

From the Sunday, August 15 This Week with Christiane Amanpour, segment with Laura D'Andrea Tyson, former New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine, Senator John Corker and Chamber of Commerce economist Martin Regalia:

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: Let me just quickly go to what you mentioned about being competitive with the rest of the world. The big story out of Europe this weekend is that Germany has shown stronger than expected growth over the last quarter. Laura, you were saying something about how Germany had taught and trained its workforce to compete in these situations.

LAURA D'ANDREA TYSON: Right, well Germany has had a long-term commitment to manufacturing. And it has a very strong manufacturing base. It has a much larger share of economy in manufacturing than we do. A major part of that is serious vocational training and very serious ongoing training for manufacturing workers in Germany. And often times a German firm with German workers will retrain and use technology at home rather than offshore those jobs abroad.

And I want to point out also that Germany manages to do this with a much higher tax rate than we do. I think there should be corporate tax reform. I agree with a lot of what Senator Corker and Martin Regalia [of the Chamber of Commerce] have said. But we need investment. I would say, in thinking about the share of government and GDP, something the Senator mentioned, we need to distinguish between investment spending by the government - whether it's federal, state or local - and other spending. A dollar spent for infrastructure is different than a dollar spent for current operations.

From the roundtable:

MATTEW DOWD: ...It feeds a broader narratively about him, which is, it's my way or the highway. In many ways, to me, it reminds me of Bush, which is, "I don't care what the American public is on this, I'm going say what is the right thing to do." He's done it on immigration in Arizona, he's done it on this, he's done it on health care. I think that's the political problem he has.

DAVID IGNATIUS, WASHINGTON POST. Why is that a problem for him? I thought the speech Friday night was a model of political courage, in the sense that he said what he believed knowing that it was going to cost him. The White House has stayed out of this issue knowing that it's political poison. And I thought the President spoke to it fairly directly. This is America, people have a right to build on property that they own, even if it's going to be a mosque near Ground Zero. I was sort of sorry that he was trying to walk it back in these more nuanced comments yesterday.

CHRYSTIA FREELAND, REUTERS: I totally agree with David. And I think, you know, Matt, to the point of my way or the highway, another way of talking about that is leadership, conviction, having your beliefs and not governing according to polls. And I think if you ask most Americans what kind of leader you want, if you ask people in the world what kind of leader do you want, you want someone who governs according to conviction.

And I do think this touches on, Christiane, the economic panel you had earlier. I think that it touches on in two important ways. This point about private property might seem like a parsing, but it is actually essential and I think to have the President, and we had similar comments from Mike Bloomberg, coming out and saying, actually, we believe that the rights of private property are so strong, we are not going to change them because the cosmetics are not-

....

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: I just want to ask you this, but it does go to the heart of what he's been doing since the beginning of his presidency, reaching out not just to the Muslim world but Muslims in general. He's made a very important first interview where he said the United States could not afford to have yet another generation of Muslims viewing it as the enemy. So do you think it's wise to have this huge hubbub over it, or it should just go forward, this mosque?

....

FREELAND: But let's talk a little bit about the rest of the world. You know, I think that actually, the President's comment, the comments by Mike Bloomberg are really an important message to the Muslim world. We're talking about Pakistan later on. For these people - for American leaders to say in the face of, you know, some political pressure from their voters, to say actually we believe sufficiently strongly in diversity, in private property rights for our Muslim citizens, I think that's a great global message.

IGNATIUS: I agree with that. I think that's one of our strongest suits. As the world looks at us, if they see that the United States, even in an issue that hurts, and Ground Zero hurts, even on that issue, we still stand up for the freedom of people to dispose of their property as they want. That does count. When I travel, you travel Christiane, we hear comments about that America a lot. I think you shouldn't minimize the benefits of saying to moderate Muslim, here you are. This upsets a lot of Americans, but we're going to do it anyway.

- Brent Baker is Vice President for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter.