Anchor Charles Gibson noted Obama was met in Moscow by "skepticism coupled with an edge of reserve" since "after nearly a decade of tense relations with the U.S., Russians remain wary, even of a President who promises change." Reporter Clarissa Ward recited the reasons: "In the last eight years, profound disagreements over issues such as the war in Iraq, the invasion of Georgia, and NATO expansion have sunk U.S.-Russian relations to post-Cold War lows." Specifically, "46 percent of Russians said they had a mainly negative opinion of the U.S. That's up from just seven percent in 1990."
Nonetheless, Ward asserted "that with President Obama's visit to Moscow this week, they do expect relations to improve" and at a "Kremlin-sponsored summer camp" where teens "are schooled in Russian nationalism, lecture topics include the "'McDonaldsization' of the World." Yet, "they are optimistic about President Obama. 'He's so young and energetic,' says Vagiz, 'and he will give a new surge to our relationship,'" Ward relayed in translating comments from a group of teens as they all sat by Lake Seliger. "'I see Obama as an innovator in your country,' adds Alexander. 'New face, new relationship.'"
Nothing wrong with people in another nation having a positive view of a U.S. President, but ABC made no such effort to find foreigners who liked Bush when he was in office.
The January 22 CyberAlert post, "Kids Around the World on ABC: Obama Means 'Peace' & 'Yes We Can! '" recounted:
ABC's World News on Wednesday night used limited news time to feature a silly piece with soundbites from naive kids around the world sputtering beauty pageant-like simplicities about how President Barack Obama will bring "world peace" and inspires them to say "yes, we can!" Reporter Jim Sciutto touted how "we heard children around the world expressing hope and fascination with the new American President." Viewers heard a boy in Russia yearn for "peace, democracy and friendship" and a girl in the United Arab Emirates assert "he's interested in giving peace to the world and stopping wars," all before a boy from Indonesia promised: "He's going to change the world and make world peace." From Gaza, a kid hoped Obama will "prevent Israel from attacking us."The MRC's Brad Wilmouth corrected the closed-captioning against the vide to provide this transcript of the story on the Monday, July 6 World News on ABC:
From Pakistan, Sciutto relayed, "hope for an American President with a Muslim father." A boy then wished "he can make the citizens of the U.S. recognize that we, not all Muslims are terrorists and not all terrorists are Muslims." And what story on foreign reaction would be complete without input from France? A French girl: "I think that he may stop the war in Iraq. At least I hope he will."
Sciutto ended by trumpeting how "that familiar campaign theme has gone global." Girl in South Korea: "Yes, we can." Boy in Italy: "Yes, we can." Barack Obama: "Yes, we can." Girl in France: "Yes, we can."...
CHARLES GIBSON: And in his travels overseas, President Obama has generally been greeted by large enthusiastic crowds. In Moscow, it has been skepticism coupled with an edge of reserve. After nearly a decade of tense relations with the U.S., Russians remain wary, even of a President who promises change. Here's Clarissa Ward. CLARISSA WARD: No one expected crowds to line the streets as President Obama drove by today.The piece ended with video of Obama's picture on a nesting doll.
HILLARY CLINTON, IN MARCH: We want to reset our relationship.
WARD: Pushing the reset button was never going to be easy in a country where anti-Americanism is a well-established tradition.
ANDREY KORTUNOV, NEW EURASIA FOUNDATION: Whatever the United States does in the world is often interpreted by a faction of our political establishment as something which is directed against Russia.
WARD: In the last eight years, profound disagreements over issues such as the war in Iraq, the invasion of Georgia, and NATO expansion have sunk U.S.-Russian relations to post-Cold War lows. "I'm against America's imperial ambitions," this man says. In a recent poll, 46 percent of Russians said they had a mainly negative opinion of the U.S. That's up from just seven percent in 1990. But the majority also said that with President Obama's visit to Moscow this week, they do expect relations to improve.
At this Kremlin-sponsored summer camp, thousands of young people from across the country enjoy outdoor activities and are schooled in Russian nationalism. Lecture topics include the "'McDonaldsization' of the World." But they are optimistic about President Obama. "He's so young and energetic," says Vagiz, "and he will give a new surge to our relationship." "I see Obama as an innovator in your country," adds Alexander. "New face, new relationship." Not all Russians are enamored with the new face of America's leadership. But many are at least curious. Clarissa Ward, ABC News, Seliger, Russia.
- Brent Baker is Vice President for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center