Flashback: NYT scolded Clinton for almost bowing to royalty

posted at 4:41 pm on April 4, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

So far, the media has remained entirely silent on Barack Obama’s deep-waist bow to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.  They used to defend American protocol a lot more closely, as The Anchoress discovered in doing research on the subject.  The New York Times sharply criticized Bill Clinton for a mere inclination of his shoulders towards Japanese Emperor Akihito in 1994:

It wasn’t a bow, exactly. But Mr. Clinton came close. He inclined his head and shoulders forward, he pressed his hands together. It lasted no longer than a snapshot, but the image on the South Lawn was indelible: an obsequent President, and the Emperor of Japan.

Canadians still bow to England’s Queen; so do Australians. Americans shake hands. If not to stand eye-to-eye with royalty, what else were 1776 and all that about?  …

Guests invited to a white-tie state dinner at the White House (a Clinton Administration first) were instructed to address the Emperor as “Your Majesty,” not “Your Highness” or, worse, “King.” And in what one Administration aide called “some emperor thing,” an Army general was cautioned that he should not address the Emperor Akihito at all as he escorted him to the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery.

But the “thou need not bow” commandment from the State Department’s protocol office maintained a constancy of more than 200 years. Administration officials scurried to insist that the eager-to-please President had not really done the unthinkable.

The media took Clinton to task for even suggesting the unthinkable.  Now they remain silent on Obama’s leap to the unthinkable:

When will the New York Times cover this, even to the extent they covered Clinton’s inclined shoulders?  Or is the unthinkable in 1994 turned into the unmentionable in 2009, thanks to a national media that has completely sold out to Barack Obama?


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