It is a global event of such importance that Pope Francis himself is praying for its success. The pontiff said Sunday that it was his hope that the talks between President Trump and North Korea leader Kim Jong-un would yield “a positive path that guarantees a peaceful future for the Korean peninsula and for the whole world.”
Some in the Western news media, however, do not detect much positivity in the event, which has attracted 3,000 credentialed journalists seeking random access, or at least an international dateline. In the lead-up to the meeting Tuesday, some skeptical U.S. news accounts urge caution or predict failure; the unprecedented encounter between the two leaders could be “a photo-op or a disaster” according The Washington Post.
One analyst cited USA Today for an automatic “downbeat” story on the event.
“It must pain the news organization whose editorial board declared that Trump is ‘unfit to clean toilets’ to report on the president at the historic Singapore summit with the leader of North Korea. So how does USA Today handle it? By being downbeat on both the summit and, of course, Trump himself,” writes PJ Gladnick, an analyst for Newsbusters.org, a conservative press watchdog.
“The USA Today hostility begins with their dire headline that declares Donald Trump, Kim Jong-un arrive in Singapore for a ‘nuclear showdown.’ Um, no. President John F. Kennedy and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev going eyeball to eyeball during the Cuban Missile Crisis was a nuclear showdown, but the Singapore summit is a, well, summit — aka meeting,” Mr. Gladnick said.
Meanwhile, the restless press has many hours before the summit gets underway and authentic news is made — whether it is big news, predictable news or not much news at all. Whatever happens, no one can distract from the historic nature of the summit. No matter how much squawking goes on, no matter how much speculation and criticism erupts in news coverage, history will still be made. A carefully calibrated image will emerge, a picture worth a thousand words: the inevitable photo of Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim — and it will be one for the ages.
“We’re going to see that photograph of Trump and Kim for decades,” predicted author and columnist Gordon G. Chang, an analyst who specializes in Asian matters, to Fox News anchor Chris Wallace.
A LITTLE LOCAL SUMMIT CULTURE
“Hotels and food outlets in Singapore are building on the hype surrounding the historic summit,” reports The Korea Times. “They are trying to use the landmark meeting as an opportunity to increase publicity and sales by rolling out new summit-themed options on their menus.”
The five-star Royal Plaza on Scotts Hotel is now offering the Trump-Kim Burger — grilled minced chicken and kimchi patty with seaweed, Korean rice rolls and fries, accompanied by Summit Iced Tea infused with Korean honey yuzu, a citrus fruit.
The restaurant and bar Lucha Loco is also offering Rocket Man Tacos, filled with Korean fried chicken, spicy dressing, pickled white radish and sesame.
And of course there are cocktails. The newspaper also cited Gastropub Escobar, which features The Trump, a bright blue, bourbon-based cocktail, and The Kim — a brilliant red cocktail with gin and soju, a clear Korean liquor distilled from rice. Hopheads, another local bar, is serving The Bromance, a mix of diet coke, tequila, Asahi Black lager beer and white grape soju.
MEANWHILE IN RON PAUL’S WORLD
Ron Paul, former Texas Republican and presidential hopeful, on Sunday presented a free Colt AR-15 rifle to a fan in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, as part of a public outreach for Campaign for Liberty, Mr. Paul’s nonprofit interest group.
“The U.S. Constitution is worthless without the Second Amendment and patriots like you to defend it,” Mr. Paul advised, calling the AR-15 — “one of the guns the nanny-statists most want to ban.”
Apparently the nanny-statists have been overlooking Mr. Paul’s giveaway. The program has been in place for four years.
The National Park Service begins repair work Monday to the Windy Run Bridge on the George Washington Memorial Parkway in Virginia, just across the Potomac River from the nation’s capital. The announcement illustrates a specific challenge, which is balancing infrastructure with commuters and tourists. Consider that the “GW Parkway” — as it is known on traffic reports — is a historic and noble roadway that has roots in Colonial times. Congress passed legislation in 1928 to finance the building of this incredibly scenic route, and the first segment opened four years later. The rest was finished by 1970; the route is actually considered a 7,146-acre national park.
But roads need maintenance, as do monuments, the National Mall and everything else that makes the area a destination for a 22 million tourists each year. It’s complicated. The park service advises the Wind Ridge project calls for “dynamic lane changes during construction,” the speed limit will be lowered to 35 mph, there will be complete traffic stops from time to time, plus the presence of workers and law enforcement. Repairs will extend the life of the bridge by 15 years, with more plans to rehabilitate the parkway in the works.
And here comes the challenge.
“We recommend taking public transit, using a different driving route or working from alternate locations while the bridge is under construction. Please use extra care in the area. Follow the posted speed limit, and watch for construction crews along the road. Let’s do our part to make sure we all get home safely at the end of the day,” parkway superintendent Alexcy Romero advises drivers.
“Designed as a scenic roadway and memorial to the first president of the United States, today the George Washington Memorial Parkway is used by more than 33 million vehicles per year,” the park service adds in a public reminder.
POLL DU JOUR
• 42 percent of Americans say North Korea’s nuclear program is a “somewhat serious threat” to the U.S.; 48 percent of Republicans, 38 percent of independents and 41 percent of Democrats agree.
• 22 percent overall say the program is “an immediate and serious threat” to the U.S.; 24 percent of Republicans, 17 percent of independents and 26 percent of Democrats agree.
• 20 percent overall say it is a “minor threat”; 20 percent of Republicans, 19 percent of independents and 21 percent of Democrats agree.
• 12 percent overall are unsure; 3 percent of Republicans, 20 percent of independents and 9 percent of Democrats agree.
• 5 percent overall say the program is not a threat; 5 percent of Republicans, 6 percent of independents and 4 percent of Democrats agree.
Source: An Economist/YouGov poll of 1,500 U.S. adults conducted June 3-5.
• Murmurs and asides to [email protected]
The Washington Times Comment Policy
The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.