Saturday 21 January 2017

And who's to say...

George W Bush (off camera) makes Barack Obama laugh. Jimmy Carter enjoys the moment.

Over on the BBC World Service, James Naughtie has been giving his valedictory assessment of President Barack Obama. He's also been airing his suspicions about Trump supporters. Here's how his piece ended:
The Obama Effect will last. His presidency wasn't an aberration but a break with America's past. 
For that reason it disturbed many people. Those who ran with Trump, driven by hatred of all that liberals believed or are said to have done, are the evidence for that. They want done with a distant establishment which, weirdly, a young black man from Chicago, had come to represent. And who's to say that lurking underneath wasn't the old demon of race, asking Americans 'Is this really the kind of man who should be in the White House?' 
Time will pass before we settle on the first assessment of the Obama years but what we can say now is that for many Americans there was a bright, shining moment. Like Kennedy and Reagan in their different ways he made the landscape seem new and painted it in different colours - an achievement that would make many other ex-presidents satisfied and proud. 


  1. Naughtie is another one on an extended holiday in the USA at our expense.

    1. So much for the BBC stopping that sort of thing.

    2. Their hiring practices also seem 'unique' post Lord Tone's claims

  2. If I had the time and inclination to trawl through past BBC reports of thirty years ago I could easily find countless smug, contemptuous references to Ronald Reagan. James Naughtie appears to have a rather unreliable memory, or this an admission that he was wrong.

    1. They do seem - nearly thirty years on - to be started to concede the point more often.

      On today's Dateline, Gavin Esler mentioned (without naming himself or that BBC) that (unspecified) people had misjudged and traduced Ronald Reagan from the very start.

      One of his guests replied that such people kept on misjudging him throughout his entire presidency and for many years after.

      Maybe it's distant enough in time now for them to finally admit that 'people' (unspecified) got it wrong.

    2. That Dateline London, incidentally, was quite good today - despite the presence of foaming-at-the-mouth former BBC journalist Polly Toynbee, who rather lowered the tone with her hate-filled insults.

      The rest of the panel were grown-up thinkers, sometimes to be agreed with, sometimes disagreed with.

      Treat Polly as pure pantomime and all's good!

  3. Wottaload of bllx from Naughtie! If Americans are really so racist, why did they vote Obama in twice? And did Naughtie not notice there was no black man standing in the Presidential election in 2016? Finally, referring to Obama as "young black man from Chicago" is absurd. (a) He's no longer young. (b) He was from Hawaii not Chicago. (c) He was mixed race, not from a black family.

    Perhaps Naughtie is suffering early onset...or has been relaxing too much on his extended holiday.


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