2. Bloomberg's Fred Kempe: Obama 'Center-Right on Foreign Policy'
3. Mitchell Defends Obama; Gushes About 'Love Fest' in France
4. CBS: Obama's Berlin Speech 'Confirmed His Rock Star Status'
5. AP: Obama's 'Superstar Charisma' Promises to 'Redeem' America
6. Stephanopoulos to McCain: 'I Can't Believe You Believe That'
7. CNN's Amanpour Bizarrely Connects French 'Scum' Rioters to Obama
Baker's narrative mocked the media's infatuation: "And so it was, in the fullness of time, before the harvest month of the appointed year, the Child ventured forth -- for the first time -- to bring the light unto all the world. He traveled fleet of foot and light of camel, with a small retinue that consisted only of his loyal disciples from the tribe of the Media....From there the Child went up to the city of Jerusalem, and entered through the gate seated on an ass. The crowds of network anchors who had followed him from afar cheered 'Hosanna' and waved great palm fronds and strewed them at his feet."
Video: The entire reading took Baker more than six minutes, enhanced with matching video and pictures added by a Fox News producer. The Flash video and MP3 audio posted with the NewsBusters article, which will be added to the posted version of this CyberAlert item, provides about half (3:35) of it, cutting out the beginning and end.
[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Friday night, with audio and video, on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
For the same video in a larger window, play it from the MRC's Eyeblast site: www.eyeblast.tv
And Baker offered another shot at the media: "In hospitals across the land the sick were cured even though they were uninsured. And all because the Child had pronounced it. And this is the testimony of one who speaks the truth and bears witness to the truth so that you might believe. And he knows it is the truth for he saw it all on CNN and the BBC and in the pages of The New York Times."
An excerpt from Baker's July 25 column:
....When he was twelve years old, they found him in the temple in the City of Chicago, arguing the finer points of community organisation with the Prophet Jeremiah and the Elders. And the Elders were astonished at what they heard and said among themselves: "Verily, who is this Child that he opens our hearts and minds to the audacity of hope?"
In the great Battles of Caucus and Primary he smote the conniving Hillary, wife of the deposed King Bill the Priapic and their barbarian hordes of Working Class Whites....
From there he went forth to Mesopotamia where he was received by the great ruler al-Maliki, and al-Maliki spake unto him and blessed his Sixteen Month Troop Withdrawal Plan even as the imperial warrior Petraeus tried to destroy it.
And lo, in Mesopotamia, a miracle occurred. Even though the Great Surge of Armour that the evil Bush had ordered had been a terrible mistake, a waste of vital military resources and doomed to end in disaster, the Child's very presence suddenly brought forth a great victory for the forces of the light....
In Jerusalem and in surrounding Palestine, the Child spake to the Hebrews and the Arabs, as the Scripture had foretold. And in an instant, the lion lay down with the lamb, and the Israelites and Ishmaelites ended their long enmity and lived for ever after in peace.
As word spread throughout the land about the Child's wondrous works, peoples from all over flocked to hear him; Hittites and Abbasids; Obamacons and McCainiacs; Cameroonians and Blairites.
And they told of strange and wondrous things that greeted the news of the Child's journey. Around the world, global temperatures began to decline, and the ocean levels fell and the great warming was over.
The Great Prophet Algore of Nobel and Oscar, who many had believed was the anointed one, smiled and told his followers that the Child was the one generations had been waiting for.
And there were other wonderful signs. In the city of the Street at the Wall, spreads on interbank interest rates dropped like manna from Heaven and rates on credit default swaps fell to the ground as dead birds from the almond tree, and the people who had lived in foreclosure were able to borrow again....
Then the Child ventured forth from Israel and Palestine and stepped onto the shores of the Old Continent. In the land of Queen Angela of Merkel, vast multitudes gathered to hear his voice, and he preached to them at length.
But when he had finished speaking his disciples told him the crowd was hungry, for they had had nothing to eat all the hours they had waited for him.
And so the Child told his disciples to fetch some food but all they had was five loaves and a couple of frankfurters. So he took the bread and the frankfurters and blessed them and told his disciples to feed the multitudes. And when all had eaten their fill, the scraps filled twelve baskets....
On the Seventh Day he walked across the Channel of the Angles to the ancient land of the hooligans. There he was welcomed with open arms by the once great prophet Blair and his successor, Gordon the Leper, and his successor, David the Golden One.
And suddenly, with the men appeared the archangel Gabriel and the whole host of the heavenly choir, ranks of cherubim and seraphim, all praising God and singing: "Yes, We Can."
END of Excerpt
For the piece in full: www.timesonline.co.uk
Barack Obama's overseas trip this past week proved "he's not a left-wing ideologue" or a "dove" and, "if anything, he's center, even center-right, on foreign policy issues," Bloomberg News world affairs columnist Fred Kempe, a veteran of the Wall Street Journal, declared on this weekend's Political Capital show which airs several times Friday night and Saturday on Bloomberg TV.
Host Al Hunt, formerly Executive Washington Editor of the Wall Street Journal, opened the segment with Kempe by showing video of Obama shooting a basketball as he enthused, "You might call it the shot heard 'round the world: Barack Obama, at a military base in Kuwait, meeting with the troops and sinking a three-pointer." Asked his assessment of Obama's trip, Kempe echoed: "If it weren't a three-point shot, I would have called it a slam dunk. In any case, wherever he went he had perfect pitch." Hunt concluded the segment: "From a three-point shot to 200,000 people in Berlin, it was an extraordinarily memorable week."
[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Saturday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
The full quote from Kempe, President of the Atlantic Council of the United States, on what the trip to Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel, Germany and France revealed about Obama's ideology: "I think in general he's shown people he's not a left-wing ideologue. If anything, he's center, even center-right, on foreign policy issues in the way he was talking on this trip."
Bloomberg's page with Kempe's columns: www.bloomberg.com
Kempe based his assessment on how Israeli Prime Minister Olmert's office was "hugely impressed with him" and how in his speech in Berlin he called upon Europeans to provide more troops for Afghanistan. Plus:
Kempe's Atlantic Council bio highlights his Wall Street Journal career: "Kempe left the Wall Street Journal following more than a quarter century of distinguished work. He was most recently assistant managing editor, International, and 'Thinking Global' columnist for the Wall Street Journal, based in New York. He was previously for seven years the longest serving editor and associate publisher ever of the Wall Street Journal Europe and was European editor for the global Wall Street Journal from 2002 to 2005, also overseeing Middle Eastern reporting."
While many in the media rather enjoyed Obama's speech in Berlin, particularly CBS which declared that it "confirmed his rock star status" (see item #4 below), conservatives felt that this speech, like others, lacked substance. But, Obama need not worry because NBC News Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent Andrea Mitchell, reporting from London, came to Obama's defense during the 3pm EDT hour of Friday's MSNBC News Live: "Well, [the Obama campaign] have rebutted that and I think when you look at this speech, this was a broad, overarching, thematic speech. It was never intended to be a checklist of legislative programs. So I think that they can fairly defend themselves and say this was the big picture of let's have the United States and Europe re-engage."
Of course, it could be argued that with the rise of center-right leaders in Germany's Angela Merkel, France's Nicolas Sarkozy, and Italy's Silvio Berlusconi, that Europe has largely re-engaged President Bush's administration in the past few years.
Earlier in the segment, Mitchell reported on Obama's meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, describing the meeting as a "love fest" and gushing about their "full scale presidential news conference": "[I]t was such a love-fest between Sarkozy and Barack Obama today in Paris....What [Obama] got in Paris at the Elysee Palace was a full scale presidential news conference with President Sarkozy. So there was no reluctance at all on the French to embrace this nominee."
[This item is adapted from a Friday posting, by MRC intern Lyndsi Thomas, on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Mitchell then turned her attention to Obama opponent Sen. John McCain's and his speech in Denver. The Republican candidate, she argued, had "found his voice" although he had failed to keep on message throughout the week: "John McCain seemed to find his voice today and really, in Denver in that speech, really went after Barack Obama on all things Iraq and Afghanistan and the troop surge. He really seemed much more spirited and if he's had difficulty keeping on message on the economic themes this week and taking shots along the way at Barack Obama when he couldn't resist or when he was in all fairness asked a question by the group of reporters following him, today he brought it all together I thought in that speech and very effectively to present his point of view against Obama."
A report by correspondent Mark Phillips on Friday's CBS Early Show gave a glowing review of Barack Obama's speech in Berlin on Thursday: "...there is a bit of a morning after feeling here in Berlin after what they're calling the 'Obama show.' But if the intent of this trip was to raise Barack Obama's foreign profile, it could hardly have been raised any higher...The stage could not have been bigger. The 200,000-plus crowd confirmed his rock star status, and his more cooperative sounding rhetoric was what the crowd wanted to hear."
On Thursday's Early Show Phillips previewed the upcoming speech with the same fawning: "...preparations have been underway for a crowd that may number in the tens of thousands. Such is the anticipation of this Obama visit...Barack Obama of course isn't running for office here, but he may wish he were. Opinion polls across Europe, unofficial ones in newspapers, show that he would have a lead somewhere in the range of 80%. He has extremely high popularity in Europe and extremely high expectations." During that same report, Phillips quoted one German citizen who explained: "I have the feeling that with Obama there's something new. And we need it. Especially in Europe." Phillips then added: "Something new meaning he's not George W. Bush, whose war in Iraq drove a wedge between U.S. and European public opinion."
[This item, by Kyle Drennen, was posted Friday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
On Friday's show, Phillips observed: "This was a speech about tone, not specifics. But mostly it was about showing up and being seen." He then went on to describe John McCain's "bitterness" toward Obama's media coverage: "Being seen too much, according to John McCain, who has complained bitterly about the coverage his opponent has received. McCain's response to Obama's Berlin mega-event was to go to a German restaurant in Columbus, Ohio."
Phillips concluded his report by discussing how Obama had "passed" a risky test: "This trip had its risks, just not the Berlin speech, but the Middle Eastern swing and the Iraq and Afghanistan visits as well. It was a test, one, the prevailing view here at least, would say he passed."
Following the report by Phillips, co-host Harry Smith talked to political analyst Jeff Greenfield about Obama's speech: "We watch these images over the last 24 hours, 200,000 people out there. He's giving a speech to the people there... The images though, are stunning." Greenfield explained that Obama was really speaking to American voters: "And I think what he's trying to say, one of the messages that I heard was, 'look, I'm not some wooly-headed liberal lefty that thinks we should all sing Kumbaya together. I'm here to tell them that we need international cooperation to beat the terrorists, to beat the extremists, to win the war in Afghanistan.'...But I think for the American voter he was saying, 'look, I'm here speaking for our national security interests...My metaphor is the wall that Reagan used, not John Kennedy's metaphor."
Obama certainly was not trying to sing Kumbaya when he declared: "Tonight, I speak to you not as a candidate for President, but as a citizen -- a proud citizen of the United States, and a fellow citizen of the world....People of Berlin -- people of the world -- this is our moment. This is our time." And he certainly was standing for national security interests when he asked: "Will we reject torture and stand for the rule of law? Will we welcome immigrants from different lands, and shun discrimination against those who don't look like us or worship like we do, and keep the promise of equality and opportunity for all of our people?"
Read Obama's full speech here: edition.cnn.com
Smith went on to compare Obama's speech to McCain's campaign events: "You're John McCain...you're eating a bratwurst, you're at a German restaurant...you're trying to make the best of an odd situation at best." Greenfield replied: "It is. And I think the message coming from Obama's opponents will -- McCain's message is 'this is overreaching. I'd rather go there as president. You're not the president yet.' And there's a certain theme of arrogance, overreaching, that the Republicans are trying to put on Obama." Greenfield added: "I do think that after, you know, after four years of the war, an American being cheered in Europe is probably not politically harmful."
However, Greenfield did conclude the segment by poking fun at all the coverage Obama has received: "You have this obsessive over covering of every single thing that Obama's doing. 'Did he pronounce this word right? Did he eat the right food? He made a three-point shot, he's going to win Ohio.' Meanwhile, it's July. And what I think is, yes, some of the polls in the battleground states are tightening. An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll seemed to show that people have doubts about Obama. They think he's the riskier candidate...Because they don't know him. So we've got to wait a while."
Before moving on from "Barack Obama's Magical Media Tour" of the past week, a look at an Associated Press story so over the top that the Washington Posts's Howard Kurtz on Friday cited it as an example of coverage which "bordered on gushing," though in this case there really was no "bordered." In the July 22 dispatch in advance of Obama's arrival in Berlin, "Obamamania in full flight ahead of tour of Europe," the AP's Matt Moore and Melissa Eddy hailed how Obama's "superstar charisma" will meet "German adoration" with a promise to "redeem" America:
Europe is about to give Barack Obama one of the grandest of stages for statesmanship. In this city where John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton all made famous speeches, Obama will find himself stepping into perhaps another iconic moment Thursday as his superstar charisma meets German adoration live in shadows of the Reichstag and the Brandenburg Gate. He then travels to Paris and London where he can expect to be greeted with similar adulation.
It's not only Obama's youth, eloquence and energy that have stolen hearts across the Atlantic. For Europeans, there have always been two Americas: one of cynicism, big business and bullying aggression, another of freedom, fairness and nothing-is-impossible dynamism.
If President Bush has been seen as the embodiment of that first America, Obama has raised expectations of a chance for the nation to redeem itself in the role that -- at various times through history -- Europe has loved, respected and relied upon....
END of Excerpt
That AP story was posted under the original headline by USAToday.com (but did not appear in the newspaper): www.usatoday.com
And under more gushing sub-heads on MSNBC.com ("Obamamania in full flight before Europe tour: Candidate's charisma and policies capture hearts across the Atlantic"): www.msnbc.msn.com
CBSNews.com: "Obamamania In Full Flight Ahead of Tour of Europe: Obama to Bask In Europe's Adulation Amid Hopes for New Era In America Politics."): www.cbsnews.com
[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Sunday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBsuters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Later in their story, Moore and Eddy stressed how it is Obama's "anti-Bush" image which makes him so popular in Europe:
....But there appears to be a deeper mechanism behind Europe's palpable excitement over Obama than just a break from the acrimonious Bush years. After all, it's difficult to imagine the continent being swept by "Clinton-mania" or "Edwards-mania" had one of Obama's main rivals for the Democratic nomination prevailed.
For Europeans, perhaps, it isn't just that Obama isn't Bush but that he's come to be seen as the "anti-Bush" '€" a figure who represents such a startling contrast to the outgoing president that there's a sense the whole Washington power structure might be purged of much that Europeans see as wrong with American leadership....
END of Excerpt
For the AP story, as posted by Yahoo: news.yahoo.com
As posted by Google: ap.google.com
For Kurtz's Friday, July 25 "Style" section article, "Obama Abroad: We Get the Picture; The Candidate Looked Good This Week. Did the Press?" go to: www.washingtonpost.com
On Sunday's This Week, ABC's George Stephanopoulos condemned John McCain for charging that "Senator Obama would rather lose a war in order to win a political campaign." Stephanopoulos, who interviewed McCain on Saturday at his Arizona ranch, declared: "I can't believe you believe that." McCain insisted "I'm not questioning his patriotism. I'm questioning his actions. I'm questioning his lack, total lack of understanding," leading Stephanopoulos to counter: "But that is questioning his patriotism. When you say someone would rather lose a war, a candidate, that's questioning his honor, his decency, his character."
As McCain continued to defend his assessment, Stephanopoulos kept rejecting his reasoning ("So putting lives at risk for a political campaign, you believe he's doing that?") and excoriating his characterization of Obama: "But you're questioning his motives."
Stephanopoulos matched a theme pushed on Wednesday's World News by ABC reporter David Wright. The July 24 CyberAlert recounted:
Wright began his interview with McCain by scolding him for his "extraordinary statement" that "Obama would rather lose a war in order to win a political campaign." Wright demanded: "Do you really think he's that craven?" Wright also lectured: "But what you seem to be saying there is that it's all about personal ambition for him and not about what he honestly thinks is right for the country."
[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Sunday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
The exchange on the Sunday, July 27 This Week in the interview taped the day before in Arizona, with McCain's dogs walking around them at least once:
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: You've taken heat this week with your comments saying that Senator Obama would rather lose a war than win a political campaign. I can't believe you believe that.
Amanpour never made clear the odd link she seemed to be making between Obama and the "scum" rioters, other than to begin by stating: "Mr. President Sarkozy, you know that in France, the presence of Barack Obama and what he's done in terms of breaking the barriers in the United States has, sort of, made a resurgent black consciousness movement here." President Sarkozy deftly handled the CNN reporter's question. He began with this jibe: "Thank you, madam, for your exceptional knowledge of French political life and your contribution to friendship among peoples." Maintaining a smile, the President added, "...And I'm so glad that you should mention in front of Barack, a situation that prevailed before I became President in France."
[This item, by the MRC's Scott Whitlock, was posted, with video, Friday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
At the very least, Amanpour's query smacks of elitism and racist implications that it's odd for Sarkozy to say nice things about Obama, who is black, since he's also slammed rioters, some of whom happened to be black.
This is not the first time that Amanpour has asked such a question. While talking with (then) Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin in late 2005, she wondered:
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: And on France's fiery unrest, two weeks of rioting by French youths of African and Arab origin, de Villepin admits these people do face discrimination, but he downplays the violence compared to what's happened in the U.S.
For more, see a December 1, 2005 CyberAlert posting: www.mrc.org
AMANPOUR: Mr. President Sarkozy, you know that in France, the presence of Barack Obama and what he's done in terms of breaking the barriers in the United States has, sort of, made a resurgent black consciousness movement here. The black people in France are very proud and very hopeful for their future. They also live, many of them, in poor situations. And you know, you've had your own riots here and protests and disturbances in the Banlieue -- in the city. At one point, when we were covering those riots, when you were interior minister, you called the rioters scum. And I'm wondering whether you feel, today, when you stand next to someone you clearly admire so much, and who has broken so many barriers, that you regret that term or that you wish you hadn't said it?
-- Brent Baker