Waking up to the news that President Obama had been awarded the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize, the American media reacted with confusion and skepticism.
Many commentators had some reason why the unexpected award reflected poor judgment by the committee
or might end up hurting Obama. Some worried that it would fuel the president's critics
, who already attack Obama's inexperience and international celebrity. Their alarm proved well-founded as conservative talk radio personalities took to the airwaves Friday.
Mark Davis, who hosts a morning show on Dallas' WBAP and writes a weekly column for the Dallas Morning News
, was among the most measured of the president's talk radio critics. He dismissed the importance of the award, arguing that it long ago lost its credibility by nominating "bloodthirsty terrorist" Yasser Arafat in 1994. Davis called Obama's admission that he did not deserve the award "a very smart approach." But he used the opportunity to take issue with the Nobel committee's definition of "peace" -- one he believes Obama shares -- as cessation of hostilities before "the good guys have won." Offering Obama the prize, Davis said, "affirms on the world stage the planet's affinity for not fighting even when fighting is called for."
Rush Limbaugh took the air a few hours later in his typical farcical fashion, announcing that the NFL had pre-emptively awarded next year's Super Bowl to the ailing
Kansas City Chiefs for being the most-improved team. "In related news," Limbaugh intoned, "President Obama has won the Nobel Peace Prize." But despite being loaded with wisecracks, Limbaugh's analysis had a sharp edge and occasionally morphed into explicit disgust. "Obama gives speeches trashing his own country and gets a prize for it," Limbaugh complained, after suggesting Obama was part of an international conspiracy to weaken U.S. supremacy. "Liberal sellouts get this prize." He also called Obama the "second Kenyan" to be honored by the Nobel committee.
On his Premiere Radio Networks program, Glenn Beck said
the award strips the Nobel committee of any credibility it still possessed. Comparing the prize to the Oscars, he said that selecting Obama was analogous to the Academy awarding Barbra Streisand for "thinking about making a movie." Like Limbaugh, he tied the prize to "global interests" that want to use Obama to embarrass the United States. He said Obama should reject the prize or give it to "tea party protesters."