Fev at headsup: the blog on "I"-wash.
Seriously — how long did you figure it would take for the "narcissist" theme to surface in (ahem) some commentary on the recent events in Pakistan? […]
At this stage, it's pretty fair to conclude that huffing about Obama's alleged infatuation with first-person pronouns is the modern right-wing commentariat's way of saying "Boy, you lookin' at something?" […]
Using a modified Fox technique, meaning you ignore pronouns like "me" and "mine" but count assorted "I"-contractions, Obama's late-night speech on Sunday was about 0.7% "I": eight "I" and two "I've" in 1,388 words. He's a little under Bush's "Mission Accomplished" speech (May 1, 2003), which was right at 1%, though Bush was down around 0.5% for the beginning of the Afghan war (Oct. 7, 2001).
The elder Bush managed 2.2% in his Panama address (Dec. 21, 1989): 17 cases of "I" in 769 words. He had no "I" contractions, and — were you waiting for something interesting? — didn't end by asking God to bless the United States of America. […]
Closing sermon for editors: When the Will or Krauthammer column on this theme arrives, spike it. Then call the syndicate and ask for a refund. Maybe the Washington Post will get the message that way.
But seriously, read the whole thing.
Update — since some commenters seem confused about what's going on here, let me bring to the front my response to Hermann Burchard:
The core observation is that a surprisingly large number of pundits have seized on the idea that Obama's frequency of first-person-singular-pronoun use is proof of (or at least evidence for) his allegedly excessive self-involvement or "narcissism".
There are two problems with this meme. The first problem is that frequency of FPS pronoun use is not in fact correlated with the personality traits that they associate with it (and with Obama). (For discussion and references, see "What is 'I' saying?", 8/9/2009.) The second problem is that Obama's empirical frequency of FPSP use is in fact on the low side, when you compare his speeches, press conferences, interviews, etc. to similar performances by other recent presidents. (For discussion and references, see "Fact-checking George F. Will, one more time", 10/6/2009.)
And let me add, in response to J. Lee's complaints about "a lame liberal blogpost about a non-issue", that this has nothing to do with political perspective — it's about fairness and elementary rationality. These are the same motivations that led me to write dozens of posts complaining about the "Bushisms" industry during the two terms of the previous president.
In my opinion, there are two reasons why this is an "issue" rather than a "non-issue". The first is we have a right to expect that when major national pundits make empirical claims about matters of easily checkable fact, they should not be free to Make Stuff Up without being called on it. The fact that this particular piece of nonsense has been so widespread for so long is shocking, in my opinion. If you care about the health of public discourse in our country, this should worry you, even if you think the point about pronouns is a trivial one.
And second, whatever your political perspective, you should wonder why this president's references to himself, though fewer in number than those of his predecessors, should be so salient to pundits that they perceive them as inordinately frequent. No doubt part of the explanation is stupid herd journalism, but not every stupid idea becomes part of the Conventional Wisdom. As John McIntyre recently wrote,
I do not reflexively assert that every criticism of President Obama is based in racism, and I think that accusing anyone of racist attitudes is something not to be done casually. But I grew up hearing racist remarks and racist attitudes, and when I see complaints that President Obama uses I excessively, what I hear is “That boy is getting uppity.”