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The Most Striking Thing About Mitt Romney’s Overseas Trip…

…has been the press coverage. It has been hypercritical, to put it mildly. It started in England, where Romney’s observation that certain logistical issues relating to the Olympic Games were “disconcerting”–a judgment that has since proved resoundingly correct–was treated as a major diplomatic faux pas. Already forgotten, apparently, is the press’s attempt to make something sinister out of a Romney aide’s reference to America’s “Anglo-Saxon heritage” and its “shared history” with Great Britain. Of such thin gruel do liberal reporters and editors try to generate controversy.

Then it was on to Israel, where Romney’s visit can fairly be characterized as triumphant. Without criticizing President Obama, he made it clear, in a ringing speech in Jerusalem, that his administration would be far friendlier to Israel than Obama’s. Romney’s speech was widely hailed in Israel as well as in the U.S., and probably enhanced his standing with many American Jews. Not to mention the fact that he raised $1 million from contributors with whom he met the next day.

And yet press coverage has focused mainly on the Palestinian reaction to Romney’s pointing out that Israel’s “culture” has much to do with its prosperity relative to its neighbors, much as America’s culture explains its economic advantages over Mexico. The Palestinian objection was silly, and here is a news flash for American media: Romney isn’t angling for the Palestinian-American vote.

Romney’s visit to Poland has been successful, too. He received a virtual endorsement from Lech Walesa:

By any reasonable standard, Romney’s trip has been successful. Yet press coverage has been unrelentingly negative. This AP story sums up the press’s angle well: “Another hiccup? Romney’s foreign trip not smooth.” To hear the AP tell it, Romney has committed one blunder after another:

It was all intended to demonstrate he was ready to handle foreign affairs smoothly and lead during dangerous times.

Instead, as he made his final stop of a three-nation tour in Poland late Monday, Republicans and Democrats alike were shaking their heads in the U.S. Though Republicans said they saw no lasting harm, Democrats raised questions about Romney’s ability to handle delicate topics with sensitivity on foreign soil, even under the friendliest conditions.

None of this will have any effect on the election, except insofar as Romney benefits with pro-Israel voters and with Polish-American and Catholic voters. But it is a useful reminder that the media-formerly-known-as-mainstream are still lying in wait, and will pounce on any opportunity to give the Obama campaign a boost. They they have had so few openings to do so is a tribute to the discipline of Mitt Romney and his campaign.

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