August 18, 2019

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Ignorance aplenty during presidential TV coverage

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 19/2/2009 (3831 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

WASHINGTON -- One CNN anchor had apparently never seen the Mounties before, and those who recognized one of Canada's most iconic national symbols noted the absence of their horses.

Others seemed enthralled by how wintry Ottawa was, while some on-air personalities struggled mightily to pronounce "Michaëlle Jean" and "chargé d'affaires."

American news channels, bloggers and others who watched live on Thursday as U.S. President Barack Obama visited Ottawa were largely complimentary and admiring of Canada, even if they were somewhat unfamiliar with what they seemed to consider their quaint neighbour to the north.

"We love those Canadians; they're good people," CNN anchor Kyra Phillips said at one point during the cable news network's coverage of Obama's first foreign trip as president.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 19/2/2009 (3831 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

WASHINGTON — One CNN anchor had apparently never seen the Mounties before, and those who recognized one of Canada's most iconic national symbols noted the absence of their horses.

Others seemed enthralled by how wintry Ottawa was, while some on-air personalities struggled mightily to pronounce "Michaëlle Jean" and "chargé d'affaires."

American news channels, bloggers and others who watched live on Thursday as U.S. President Barack Obama visited Ottawa were largely complimentary and admiring of Canada, even if they were somewhat unfamiliar with what they seemed to consider their quaint neighbour to the north.

"We love those Canadians; they're good people," CNN anchor Kyra Phillips said at one point during the cable news network's coverage of Obama's first foreign trip as president.

Later, however, Phillips said: "All eyes are on Ottawa right now — you don't hear that every day."

Her colleague, Fredricka Whitfield, was stumped earlier in the day when Air Force One first landed in Ottawa and a line of Mounties — clad in their traditional red serge jackets and Stetsons — marched out to greet the president on the airport tarmac.

Pausing as she attempted to describe the scene to viewers, Whitfield apparently took a wild guess and referred to them as "troops."

The Associated Press, meantime, briefly referred to the prime minister as "Premier Stephen Harper" before correcting his title.

Over at Fox News, anchor Megyn Kelly gamely tried to pronounce "chargé d'affaires," explaining to viewers: "It's French." Later, as Obama and Harper held court during a Parliament Hill news conference, the channel flashed fact boxes at the bottom of the screen — nuggets that are pretty much common knowledge in Canada.

Among them: "Canada is the U.S.'s largest, most secure supplier of oil," and "Canada is the U.S.'s largest trading partner."

White House blogger Jason Djang travelled ahead of Air Force One and wrote about what he saw.

"Ottawa is white, and the snow's still coming down... police are on snowmobiles," Djang wrote. "Canal Rideau is frozen over, and there are people ice skating on it."

But lest Canadians feel smug and superior in the wake of American wonderment about their country, some U.S. observers also poked some good-natured fun Thursday at the breathless nature of Canada's coverage of Obama's visit.

The snarky Wonkette.com, the blog that dishes on D.C., directed its barbs at Macleans magazine's "liveblogging" of the event — particularly its author's preoccupation with Obama's lack of warm winter headgear.

Under the headline: "Cute Canadian Liveblog of Historic Obama Visit," Wonkette wrote: "Get the blow-by-blow of the most exciting thing to ever happen in Canada in the history of history. Sample: '10:34:43 AM. Why is the president not wearing his hat? Or a hat, at least?"

The Macleans blog, written by Kady O'Malley, was described as "hilarious" by a fellow American blogger, who pointed to her 10:26 a.m. entry: "He's here! He's here! Well, the plane is here, or so it appears from the Newsworld feed. It's big and impressive and just like in the movies."

 

— The Canadian Press

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