UPDATE: This post was based on intentionally distorted and misleading reporting, and is retracted. Ethics Alarms apologizes for being misled.
Fifty-four world leaders joined President Barack Obama in a Washington, D.C. two-day summit on nuclear weapons, including the threat of their use by terrorists. A they posed for a ‘team photo,’ Obama flashed the “peace sign.”
1. The photo is a bias test. If someone has decided that Obama is hopeless incompetent who habitually confuses grandstanding with leadership, and who long ago checked out emotionally and intellectually and is less concerned than ever about “optics” as well as all those other annoying component of being a competent President, this shot confirms it all. If, on the other hand, one has already concluded that Obama can do no wrong, this is just more proof that he is “cool,” and the negative reaction to it (only from conservatives, of course) shows how he has been the victim of bigotry and unfair criticism.
2. And if you are objective, or at least able to still your confirmation bias? You ask yourself if you have ever, in all the times you have seen such photos, witnessed any world leader intentionally draw attention to himself like the class clown in a junior high school graduation photo. The answer is no. Of course you haven’t, because world leaders, even the worst of them, understand that such conduct is disrespectful, undignified, trivializes such gatherings, is rude, irresponsible and unfair, and makes the leader behaving in such an inappropriate manner look like buffoon.
3. For almost eight years, observers have pointed out that Barack Obama exhibits the characteristics of a pathological narcissist. This stunt approached signature significance. What kind of person goes out of his way to draw the viewer’s eye to himself alone while posing for a group photo with 54 colleagues, knowing—knowing!—that his gesture will spark worldwide comment and criticism, detracting from the purpose of the gathering itself?
4. In the recent post about who is to “blame” for Donald Trump’s catastrophic rise, Barack Obama was second on my list, behind only Donald Trump. A strong argument could be made that Obama is #1. Everyone keeps asking why so many voters shrug off Trump’s juvenile rhetoric and conduct despite the fact that he is running for President. The answer is staring them in the face, flashing a peace sign like Cheech and Chong.
They have been conditioned to associate juvenile rhetoric and conduct with the Presidency by Barack Obama.
5. Note the individual grandstanding in this group photo, and the post it illustrates.