The celebratory tone that characterized international media coverage of Barack Obama’s historic election victory was again pervasive in many of the stories about his inauguration as the 44th American president. “History was being made up there on the hill,” raved Britain’s Daily Mail, “and the atmosphere was so electrifying that it took your breath away.” “The United States has got its groove back,” according to Germany’s Der Spiegel.
However, many newspapers noted the more somber tone of Obama’s speech, and were themselves relatively somber about the enormous challenges and inflated expectations facing the new president. “Like his new Administration,” wrote the Times of London, “his inaugural address faced soaring expectations. It did not quite soar to meet them.” The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung called the speech “sober,” and suggested it was “certainly aimed at dampening the messianic hopes that have been raised by his inauguration.”1
An editorial in El País, one of Spain’s largest newspapers, cautioned that Obama’s agenda is at the mercy of many “imponderables,” as well as the will of Congress; and it warned that Obama will have to devote the bulk of his energy to grappling with the crises facing the United States before dealing with “just causes” around the world.
Beyond warnings about tempering hope with realism, however, international newspapers were focused on regional concerns. As the Obama presidency becomes a reality, newspapers around the world are wondering how the new president will deal with the issues that their readers care about.
Read the full report As Obama Takes Office, Global Press Turns to Regional Concerns on the Pew Research Center's Web site.