Unbeknownst to Presidents Nikolas Sarkozy of France and Barack Obama of the United States, an open microphone picked up part of their private conversation last Thursday after a G20 meeting.
Luckily, the two men said nothing of consequence.
The conversation then drifted to [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu, at which time Sarkozy declared: "I cannot stand him. He is a liar." According to the report, Obama replied: "You're fed up with him, but I have to deal with him every day!"
The remark was naturally meant to be said in confidence, but the two leaders' microphones were accidently left on, making the would-be private comment embarrassingly public.Well, at least nothing was said of consequence to Presidents Obama and Sarkozy thanks to compliant journalists.
The surprising lack of coverage may be explained by a report alleging that reporters present at the event were requested to sign an agreement to keep mum on the subject of the embarrassing comments.
A member of the media confirmed Monday that "there were discussions between journalists and they agreed not to publish the comments due to the sensitivity of the issue."
Ah, yes. The media's Obama standard. Reporters wouldn't do anything to make him look bad, bump him off script, or jeopardize his standing. It's better to cover up his true feelings on allies and world affairs so that everyone can maintain their painstakingly-crafted illusions.
Yes, much better for everyone, except Prime Minister Netanyahu and the people of Israel, and people the world over who care about what happens to them.
It's a pity for a world in need of hope and choking in cynicism that President Obama's spontaneous impulse wasn't to defend Prime Minister Netanyahu's integrity, or for fairness' sake to encourage President Sarkozy to temper his harsh judgement, or for understanding's sake to counsel empathy.
Americans presumably have no right to know what their President really thinks, or any reason to expect the mainstream media to play the watchdog for politicians and candidates from both sides of the political aisle. That would defeat the purpose of dominating the information flow, wouldn't it?
As for Presidents Obama and Sarkozy, we already had visual evidence of their natural affinity on matters of importance.
Since the public has no right to know about this incident, it follows that it has no right to give it a second thought. Let's MoveOn.org.