Washington Post reporter Scott Wilson topped Wednesday's paper with a
"news analysis" headlined "On
world stage, Obama at ease as seminar leader."  The word that came
to mind wasn't "analysis." It was "unanimous." Everyone in Wilson's
supine story praised Obama's command and personality. It's like Wilson
was Obama's news butler at this summit:
"He's in charge, he's chairing the meetings, and this is where his personality plays a big part," said Pierre Vimont, the French ambassador to the United States, who compared Obama's role during the summit to the way he led the bipartisan health-care meeting at Blair House in February.
"He does it very well," Vimont continued. "And he feels very comfortable doing it."
Even the anonymous sources weren't hiding their identity to make
vicious digs at Obama, the way the Post employed critics against George
W. Bush. No, they loved Obama "the teacher," too:
"He's never better than when he's the teacher," said a European diplomat, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the issue publicly. "Many of those who attended were just happy to be in the picture with Obama. I mean, he did get 46 leaders to Washington on a boring issue. That's pretty good."
Praise from the diplomats of Old Europe is supposed to warm every
American heart? British foreign secretary David Miliband was also
drafted by the Post to hail Obama:
"When Obama stands up and says 'My friend Dmitry Medvedev' or 'My friend Nicolas Sarkozy,' he's right, and that's important," Miliband said. "He's made a number of friends of world leaders, and I think that's a testament to why so many arrived to take part in this."
Several European diplomats said the large number of attendees reflects Obama's popularity abroad - in some places, it exceeds his domestic approval rating - and the fact that an appearance at a high-profile conference can often improve the stature of foreign leaders struggling with poor economies and political unpopularity at home.
The Washington Post is certainly trying to improve the stature of an
American president struggling with a poor economy and political
unpopularity at home.
- Tim Graham is Director of Media Analysis at the Media Research Center.