It’s been a week since Obama first arrived in our great city, and we’ve done so much coverage on his short trip to the PRC that we’re thinking we should start marking our time in relation to the president’s visit: you know, Before Obama and After Obama.
In week one A.O., we’ve watched the press capitulate and rage some more for and against the quickly formed recaps and opinion pieces of last week. It’s been a lot more rehashing of the same opinions, just with more breadth and depth. Of course, we like SNL news best, but here’s some of the other articles on Obama in China making their way around the internet:
- Diplomatic words: US Ambassador Jon Huntsman criticized the press for not realizing the actual progress made in the visit.
- Tish Durkin of The Bullpen suggests that the Chinese view Obama’s visit as successful for a number of reasons, all of which the American press has slighted: “The irony here is that, although the Chinese are the ones who get their information through the twin filters of propaganda and censorship, they are also the ones who seem to have a firmer grasp than Americans on what constitutes a realistic expectation. People in the street — at least those in the malls and market-stalls of Dalian, where I have been living — are giving Obama real credit.”
- James Fallows of the Atlantic has a five part series on the various aspects of the press’ reportage, coming from a range of sources and running the gamut on expectations before and after the visit. It’s called “Manufactured Failure,” which should give you an inkling about the angle Fallows takes.
- Adam Minter has a great article on Shanghai Scrap about the press’ strife in the whole affair, and his take is pretty even handed and circumspective: “So why the “new era” revisionism? I’m not a Bush defender. But I do believe that some of the coverage of the Obama trip – and its emphasis on a “new era” (best exemplified by this overwrought piece by Peter Foster in the Daily Telegraph – is motivated by Bush fatigue, and a sympathetic desire to embrace Obama’s unilateralist diplomacy. Fine and good. But let’s be straight about it and – at the same time – not dismiss as “horse race afficionados” those who wonder whether it’s reasonable to expect some immediate benefits for the effort.”
- The Columbia Journalism Review has an interview with former New York Times Shanghai bureau chief Howard French, who takes a more realistic approach to handling expectations surrounding a presidental visit: “And now you’re in China on a three- or four-day trip and all of a sudden you’re having to weigh in on in important things and you don’t speak any Chinese and you don’t know any Chinese people and you’re in the security bubble of the president and you’re traveling from stop to stop on a stopwatch with the guy and being pumped all the time by the president’s aides—and this is true of all presidents—and subject to their spin and you’ve got these short deadlines and you’ve got to write these things. So they operate within those constraints. It’s a very difficult process, so I’m being critical of the press but I don’t see any obvious ways around that particular piece of things”
- Finally, Evan Osnos of the New Yorker’s Letter From China Column has a great writeup of the funny follies of the foreign press in China while they weren’t fuming about the President.