Monday, 2 May 2011

Roastin' toastin'

You've got to hand it to President Obama - the man knows how to make a point. With his approval rating shrinking faster than Jennifer Hudson, he needed to pull something out of the bag to reignite the enthusiasm of his base. In the space of one long weekend, he vanquished two formidable foes without breaking a sweat. And he did it with impeccable timing.

On the eighth anniversary of Bush's premature propagandist 'Mission Accomplished' speech, Obama revealed that the world's most wanted man had been terminated by a crack team operating under the Commander-in-Chief's direct orders. If this was the movies, rather than real life, Obama would probably have ended up on the Pakistan borders due to some technical malfunction aboard Air Force One. With a hunting knife clenched between his teeth, he could have taken out Osama himself, slitting his throat and whispering one last bon mot, as he dispatched the terrorist mastermind to the great hereafter.

Instead, he was stuck in Washington D.C, at the White House Correspondents' dinner, where he delivered his own killshot by way of a twenty-minute monologue. For a man often criticised for over-reliance on autocue, Obama came across as a Comedy Store natural - all that was missing was the brick wall backdrop. His target was Donald Trump, who's been using America's hunger for ignorance and misinformation to promote his own electoral agenda.

He'd seized on a ridiculous conspiracy theory around Obama's citizenship, and spread it as thinly as his own Shredded Wheat barnet. When Obama finally relented and made his Hawaii-issued birth certificate public, Trump managed to turn it into a self-congratulatory acknowledgment of his own awesomeness. So it was great to see Obama take of the gloves and give him the verbal bitch-slap he so richly deserved.

Of course, Obama's Rodney Dangerfield schtick was really just the warm-up. Today we got the headline act, as it was announced that the world's second most wanted man (after Tom Hardy) had been taken out. As the public danced in the street yelling "USA, USA", Fox News kept accidentally writing 'Obama Bin Laden is dead'. This may have raised the eyebrows of a few conspiracy theorists, but it's worth noting that the BBC also made the same mistake.

I guess, when the pressure's on, typos and other simple errors can occur. After all, today can reasonably be considered a 'big news' day. Which is probably why even the celebrity tattle websites tried to get in on the act, by reporting the reactions of our favourite tweeters to the fast-breaking story. Who cares about Rupert Murdoch's spin on Bin Laden's death when you can read Khloe Kardashian's thoughts on the matter: "Wow!!! "@CNN: Congressional and administration officials tell CNN Osama bin Laden is dead. He was reportedly killed in Afghanistan."

Also weighing in on the big news were Phillip Schofield, Rebecca Black, Katy Perry and Nancy Sinatra. It's like I'm A Celebrity... taking over Question Time. There are two schools of thought here - either this weakens journalism by giving airtime to uninformed celebrity opinion, or it encourages people who only ever read People and E! to take an interest in current affairs. Either way, I think we can all be thankful for Rochelle from The Saturdays' insight into international diplomacy: "This Bank Holiday weekend has been a very historic one to say the least... It's like a Disney film...The Prince marries the Princess and the villain dies #justice". Amen to that Rochelle.

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