October 2, 2009

The Obamas: The "Shame" of Copenhagen

This AP photo of the Obamas in Copenhagen in support of Chicago's Olympic bid is just one example of how the media is using the decision to frame Michelle and Barack as failures.

So, the media is using the failed Chicago Olympic bid — and the pictures accompanying it — to wring the necks of the Obamas?

Maybe it’s all just Friday afternoon vapidness, but it’s truly impressive how the media is using this “loss,” this “blow,” this shock this afternoon (check it out) as an opportunity to question Obama’s momentum, his mojo, even his judgement.   

This quote from the NYT is, what should I say, “best in show”?

Rarely has a president put his credibility on the line on the world stage in such a personal way and been slapped down so sharply in real time. While Chicago may have lost to Rio de Janeiro for all sorts of reasons that had nothing to do with Mr. Obama, the fact that he made himself the face of the city’s bid invariably meant it would be taken as a stinging rejection of its favorite son.

The defeat will be used as a political metaphor and raise painful questions. Why did he invest so much time, taxpayer money and, perhaps most important, presidential prestige in a losing effort? How did he misjudge the potential vote so badly that Chicago evidently was not even in the top tier? What does it say about a leader who may be far more popular abroad than his predecessor yet has trouble converting that esteem into tangible benefits for the United States?

Regarding of the image above, I included the caption on purpose to place the image in context. …That’s so, when you see it alongside the AP/GoogleNews article: “Analysis: Chicago’s loss is a blow to Obama, too,” you will know the picture shows nothing more than the Obama’s looking where people look when they descend stairs — as opposed to hanging their heads in shame.

And not to push it much further, but because the First Lady (who has been mostly “golden” up to now in terms of media coverage) attracted the bulk of the attention in lobbying for the Chicago bid, it does look here like it’s mostly around her neck.

(image: Charles Dharapak/AP)

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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