Official Washington is gazing northward this morning toward New York and the United Nations, where President Barack Obama will be followed in the General Assembly by Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi. The big question in the blogosphere is not what Obama will tell the gathered diplomats of the world — the White House has indicated he will stress a new tone in foreign policy — but where Gaddafi spent the night.
Unlike the rest of the assembled envoys, Gaddafi prefers a Bedouin tent to a hotel (hates elevators, reportedly) but his plans to pitch a tent in the suburban town of Bedford, New York, hit a snag with local authorities. Construction of the tent, featuring draperies with a camel print, was halted on Tuesday. ABC News reported that he bedded down in Manhattan close to the United Nations.
The morning TV news programs — NBC, ABC, CNN, CBS, FOX — all featured stories, with video of the tent under construction. A quick Web search for tent+bedford+libya (leaving out Gaddafi’s name because of the various spellings of it) resulted in 227,000 hits.
There are plenty of critical issues before the United Nations General Assembly (and the G20 in Pittsburgh) this week: nuclear weapons proliferation, Middle East conflict, climate change, the global economic slump. So why is this the issue that’s grabbing the headlines? Is it because it’s something to spark outrage? Laugh at? Because of all the gnarly problems of the world, this is one that at least is comprehensible? Let us know what you think.