How did the British view our election? Today's blog by Sarah Wallace and Chris Cody provides a purely Brit view intertwined with that of an American in London.
So after months and months of anticipation, a new America is finally here!
The British public and the press have followed the race to the White House almost as intently as the Americans, and with good cause, as one British political commentator (I forget which one) remarked, “even though we don’t have a vote, it affects us all.”
It was of great interest to see, after the intense coverage this election has received over the past few months, what percentage of the media’s reporting would be dedicated to the result and it didn’t disappoint.
On election day the newspapers and television were full of headlines, most of them referencing key words such as "historic" and "change" and of course the ever important by-line "America’s first black President". Stories covered every possible angle from the initial reporting of the polls – African Americans and young people are finally getting out there and voting – to the challenges Barack will face when he is finally sworn in. One article even covered what type of rug he will pick in the Oval office (apparently Bush’s rug cost $61,000!).
It seems that the UK public cannot get enough of this landmark election and our media is feeding this appetite. The British public have always had a good grasp of American politics, granted, the American President is the leader of the "free world" and America is the last remaining global superpower, so it benefits everyone to be up to date on his or her American politics, but there has always been a “special” relationship between these two countries, and this has been reinforced by the importance of this election and its ongoing coverage.
Most newspapers and websites have provided in-depth state-by-state breakdowns and analysis highlighting the early results right through to the final outcome. Unsurprising, given that the UK has more than two million Americans currently residing here, most of whom are ardent proponents of British news coverage and would admit, often disdainfully, to changing the channel from ABC’s purported “world news” to the BBC’s legitimate world news, which provides astute political commentary and unbiased representations of both Republican and Democratic platforms.
The British press is well known across the World for its impartial and well researched reporting and just to reassert its credentials, The Times even went so far as to take out a full page advertisement, just to make sure that the British public are aware that since 1849 it has had a correspondent based in America.
It is clear that for months to come the British media will continue with this coverage and it will be of great interest to see whether this President-elect can really bring America back to what it once was: a country worthy of its status as a world leader.