According to CBS's Seth Doane on Wednesday, even the "fairy tale" introduction of Caroline Kennedy hasn't kept the U.S. ambassador to Japan from running into some problems in her new job. Doane highlighted a protest of new military bases in Okinawa, Japan. Yet, while the reporter seemed mildly irritated about having to whisper during a Kennedy press conference (and not being able to ask questions), his co-hosts didn't appear too bothered.
Explaining the start of Kennedy's ambassadorship, Doane cited the "ceremonial aspect," narrating, "That was showcased when she was brought by horse-drawn carriage to present her credentials to the emperor. Thousands lined Tokyo's streets in November to catch a glimpse of this fairy tale-like scene." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Doane did cite controversies created by the Kennedy daughter, including tweeting her opposition to a dolphin hunt. Regarding an appearance, the journalist dismissed it as a "choreographed photo opportunity." In a whispered tone, Doane lamented, "For all of the media gathered here, we were not allowed to ask a single question."
After the segment ended, co-host Charlie Rose joked, "[Doane] did it so well." Gayle King laughed, "Seth is very polite. His mother raised him well."
Last March, the journalist at the CBS Evening News were very excited about Kennedy. King hyped, "Madame Ambassador– Does that have a ring to it for you?" O'Donnell tossed this softball: "Do you like Japan or Canada better?"
A transcript of the February 12 segment , which aired at 7:44am ET, is below:
NORAH O'DONNELL: The new U.S. Ambassador to Japan, Caroline Kennedy is in Okinawa this morning. She said her father was if there in 1951 recovering from an illness that nearly killed him. And as Seth Doane reports, it's bringing up memories that have nothing to do with President Kennedy.
SETH DOANE: This daughter of JFK can certainly draw a crowd, even in the spitting rain. Touring this World War II memorial today in Okinawa, she stuck to her script.
CAROLINE KENNEDY: No one can leave this park and this museum without a renewed commitment to build a better future for our children.
DOANE: Part of her role as U.S. ambassador to Japan is ceremonial. That was showcased when she was brought by horse-drawn carriage to present her credentials to the emperor. Thousands lined Tokyo's streets in November to catch a glimpse of this fairy tale-like scene. But not all U.S. presence is not welcome. By coming to Okinawa, Kennedy is visiting a place that is central to US. interests. Around 25,000 U.S. troops are based here, but she's also stepping into the center of a controversy. These protesters oppose the 30-plus military bases here. Siziou Takazotu [PH] is among those who reject a proposal to relocate a base and build a new one.
SIZIOU TAKAZOTU [PH]: We want our land back.
DOANE: You want that land back from the military bases.
TOKAZOTU [PH]: Yes, yes.
DOANE: Inside, Ambassador Kennedy met with the Okinawa governor who supports the U.S.- backed plan to move the base.
CAROLINE KENNEDY: Hopefully, we can work together to keep the momentum moving forward for progress.
DOANE: But to most Okinawans, the U.S. plan to relocate the base is anything but progress. On the job for less than three months, this ambassador has not shied away from controversial topics. On Twitter, she voiced her disapproval of an annual dolphin hunt in western Japan. She also criticized Prime Minister Abe's visit to a shrine that, in part, honors, war criminals.
ELLIS KRAUSS (UCLA Japanese politics expert): She has to walk the fine line of every ambassador. At the same time, she can push the envelope more than most ambassadors because of her celebrity.
DOANE: Today, she mostly stuck to more benign topics, quietly listening to students read haiku poems at this high school library. Despite so many issues today was more about carefully choreographed photo opportunities and for all of the media gathered here, we were not allowed to ask a single question. For CBS This Morning, Seth Doane, Okinawa, Japan.
O'DONNELL: I think Seth is whispering because the ambassador is behind him. It's one of those delicate things where you say, "Let's get a stand-up in the room, while she's here. Be respectful."
CHARLIE ROSE: He did it so well.
GAYLE KING: Seth is very polite. His mother raised him well.
CHARLIE ROSE: He is.
O'DONNELL: She's got a lot of work ahead, Ambassador Kennedy, dealing with that.