Oprah.com has published 100 Things That Are Getting Better from O, The Oprah Magazine, February Issue. Does Oprah know what she’s talking about and do you really care if the United State’s reputation around the world is getting better?
Oprah and Pew Research are not playing fair.
Oprah says our (the United States) reputation around the world is getting better. Is it really? Do we care? Should we care? Oprah cites a poll from the Pew Research Center and extrapolates that Latin America, Africa, and much of Asia and western Europe no longer think of us as the “Ugly American”. Then Oprah gives the credit to Obama, making the statement that “a certain Norwegian prize” may be possibly involved. Much could be said about Obama’s Nobel prize, but I will limit my discussion to “our reputation around the world”. Oprah gives no link or resource for the information, but I found it on the Pew Research website. The entire Oprah premise (and the analysis of Pew Research) is quite misleading. The poll was published in July 2009. All of the analysis on the Pew Research site compares favor to the United States from 2008 when Bush left office to the spring of 2009 a few short months after Obama took office. To be completely fair, one would have to compare the percentages on the chart for 2002 right after George Bush took office, to the percentages on the chart in spring 2009 right after Obama took office. When you compare those percentages, the story is not quite as slanted as presented in the Pew Research analysis and promoted by Oprah.
These are the facts, Oprah.
South Korea’s percentages (from 52% to 78%) changed the most in favorability towards the U.S. from 2002 to percentages in early 2009. France is the country with the next highest percentage change. France gave the U. S. a 62% “favor” rating in 2002 and 75% in 2009. The Palestinian territories only participated in 2007 when 13% favored the U.S. By 2009, their opinion only increased 2%. Jordan’s favorability percentages stayed the same. Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Kenya, Germany, India and Spain do show from 4-10% increases in favorability towards the United States from 2002 to 2009. China did not participate until 2005 (42%) and in spring 2009 the percentage had only increased by 5 percent. However, on the other side of the coin are: Canada, Britain, Poland, Russia, Turkey and Japan. All of those countries favored the United States more (from 4-18%) in 2002 when George W. Bush had been in office 5 months than in 2009 when Obama had been in office about 5 months. It makes a big difference who is interpreting the results. If you want to compare how the world sees the United States and think that it has anything to do with the former or current president, wait until Obama’s term has ended.
I have my own criteria for measuring whether or not the United States and our president is on the right track. Oprah would have us believe that we should be in step with the world and that Obama has the right shoes for the job. While it is not necessarily a bad thing for the United States to be viewed favorably in the world, the favor of God is far more beneficial. Doing the right thing is often not popular. My personal belief: If everyone is walking with you, you better turn around and walk the other way.