COMMENTS: Scenes from the Summit

The G8 Summit of world leaders on the shore of the Baltic Sea was the Story of the Day. Diplomacy included a Russian initiative on NATO's plans for an Anti-Missile Defense, a watered-down plan to curb greenhouse gas emissions and pressure to pursue poverty relief in Africa. NBC and CBS both led from Germany. ABC chose the looming collapse of the immigration compromise in the US Senate.

All three networks had their White House correspondents file from the G8. ABC's Martha Raddatz focused narrowly on President Vladimir Putin's proposal to switch the site of NATO's AMD radar from the Czech Republic to Azerbaijan. Putin made it clear that basing the system in Europe was "not acceptable." On CBS, anchor Katie Couric (no link) asked former diplomat Richard Haass of the Council on Foreign Relations to assess the AMD jockeying. Haass replied that it is "a missile system that has not been proven to work against a threat that does not yet exist--so there is an air of politics and unreality about all of this." NBC's David Gregory used a mixed temperature metaphor to assess the Russian surprise: "All that heated talk about a new Cold War appeared to fade away."

Continuing the temperature theme, CBS' Jim Axelrod added global warming to the AMD diplomacy: "The White House went further than it ever has before on climate change" even though it "fell short of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's hopes" for mandatory cuts. NBC's Gregory added the lobbying of Bono, Irish rock star and Africa activist, into the mix. When President George Bush argued that climate change should not eclipse the African agenda--those dying from "AIDS, malaria, genocide and the effects of poverty" as Gregory put it--Bono told Gregory: "Even critics of the President would have to admit that he has stepped up to help."


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