ABC and CBS Remind Viewers Obama More Popular than Bush

The day President Barack Obama arrived in London, the broadcast network evening newscasts on Tuesday night noted that he faces some tough challenges from other leaders who are not as enthralled with him as are their citizens, but ABC and CBS went out of their way to point out how Obama is more popular than was former President Bush. From London, ABC anchor Charles Gibson highlighted the American perception, mostly formed by the media, of how those abroad view the U.S.:

The President comes here with firm backing from the American people. According to our ABC News/Washington Post poll, 43 percent of Americans say the country's image abroad is improving under President Obama. That number was just 10 percent under President Bush. And the President continues to get high marks at home, as well: 64 percent say they are confident the President's programs will improve the economy.

Also from London, CBS anchor Katie Couric stressed how foreigners are pleased Obama's not Bush:

What he represents to many countries overseas is a departure from the Bush administration which alienated some foreign governments early on with its rejection of global warming initiatives and its national security positions. It may be a fresh start, but the current President's approval ratings will only take him so far.

For a look back at how the networks hailed Obama's July trip through Europe, check my July 25 NewsBusters item, “Can't Contain Exhilaration Over 'World Stage' for 'Messiah' Obama,” which recounted:

Barack Obama's Magical Media Tour hit its high point Thursday night as the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts all led with Obama's speech in Berlin, with NBC's Brian Williams and Andrea Mitchell the most giddy, though ABC featured a German man who hailed Obama as “my new messiah.” ABC and NBC saw Obama on a “world stage.” Charles Gibson teased ABC's newscast: “In a city steeped in history, before a massive crowd, the candidate calls on the world to tear down this generation's walls.”

NBC anchor Brian Williams, in Berlin, trumpeted how “the first ever African-American running as presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party brought throngs of people into the center of Berlin, streaming into this city, surging to get close to him, to hear his message. And when it was all over, he talked to us.” Viewers next heard a sycophantic Williams ooze to Obama:

When an American politician comes to Berlin, we've had some iconic utterances in the past. We've had “ich bin ein.” We've had “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” Is the phraseology that you would like remembered, “people of Berlin, people of the world, this is our moment, this is our time”?

Talking with Andrea Mitchell, an impressed Williams marveled over how “I heard one American reporter tonight say it's hard to come up with a list of others who could draw such a crowd, but then again it's hard to know what we witnessed here today.” An equally awed Mitchell gushed: “It's hard to figure out what the comparison is, what do you compare this with?” She soon asserted that in his speech Obama “acknowledged America's flaws.”...

Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center