I took to the streets in Dublin on Monday to ask people their reaction to the American president. The line stretched for blocks as people waited to get a glimpse of himself.
I was especially interested in what young people thought of the president. American young people fueled Mr. Obama’s election victory in 2008. One girl of high school age said she “loved” Obama and then volunteered “I hate President Bush.”
“Why?” I asked. She stumbled, groping for an explanation and then tried to recover: “I hate all American presidents.”
“Even George Washington?”
Amazing! And we thought American schools were liberal. They apparently have nothing on Irish schools.
A man who said he was from Kenya said he had braved the blustery weather because he was proud to see a black man as the American president. He said his relatives in Kenya were equally proud.
Most of those with whom I spoke had the spirit of people about to attend a concert with their favorite rock star.
“What about his policies?” I asked one. “He promised to close Guantanamo and end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but he hasn’t yet.”
That was a problem for some, but they were clearly so enamored of the man and his image that they appeared ready to forgive him for continuing the policies of the president they most disliked. That would be George W. Bush.
The Irish Times did a special supplement that could have been written by the Democratic National Committee. There was not a disparaging word to be found.
One British newspaper had a negative cartoon about Libya and a single columnist suggested that the trip was all about Obama’s re-election, but even the British press was overwhelmingly in Obama’s pocket.
When Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush visited London, British media managed to contribute a great deal of criticism about their policies, but Obama was above criticism for the media here.
The mistakes Obama made (he signed a guestbook with the wrong year and toasted Queen Elizabeth before the British National Anthem was played, violating protocol). The U.S. and British media forgave him both mistakes and in some cases even made excuses for him..
Imagine if George W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, or Dan Quayle had made such mistakes.
Media bias is not the sole property of American journalists. It has roots in Ireland and Great Britain, too and it has been on full display during the Obama visit.
Cal Thomas is America's most widely syndicated newspaper columnist and a Fox News contributor.