Obama and the Nobel Peace Prize – the social media reactions from Norway

This year’s selection of the Nobel Peace Prize started an online outcry the second it was announced. For many people, including the recipient himself, is was a shock that hear that president Barack Obama was awarded. And Norwegians were among those who reacted most strongly against the decision from the Norwegian Nobel committee. Not because Norwegians dislike or disapprove of Obama, rather opposite. During the election campaign, 79 percent of Norwegians prefered Obama rather than the Republican candidate, John McCain.

But awarding him the Nobel Prize after just 10 months in office have been hard to swallow, even for Norwegians.

One of the first tweets that circulated was this: “Obama had been in office in 11 days when the nomination ended” (my translation). And as all social media topics these days, the decision got its own “fail” tag, #fredsprisfail (PeacePrizeFail)

The reactions have been raging from people demanding that Torbjørn Jagland, the leader of the Nobel Prize committee, should resign, to people demanding Obama should not accept the prize. Jagland was recently elected Secretary General of the Council of Europe. One blogger has written a formal complaint to the committee on his blog, and a Swedish blogger, Åsa Linderborg, has suggested to dissolve the prize all together.

Politicians such as the social media active Bård Vegar Solhjell (minister of Education), has speculated on Twitter whether the prize will hurt Obama at home or not, and written a huge question mark after Obama’s name in a blog post.

43 percent of Norwegians meant it was right to give the peace prize to Obama, while 38 percent opposed it. 19 percent had not made up their mind according to a recent survey by Synovate, but if you check the online polls, the numbers are opposite, such as in VG.no. It is also characteristic that the young ones are most critical against the committee’s choice, among the 18 -25 years old, only 25 percent are positiv to Obama as a peace prize winner, 42 percent are negative. Among those over 6o years, 58 percent meant that the decision was right.

It has become political incorrect in Norway to say that Nobel committee made the right decision, according to this blogger (who actually supports the decision). One of the commentators in the same tread is even ashamed to be Norwegian because of the committee’s decision.

For more international discussions surrounding the Nobel committee and their decision, follow the Twitter search for Nobel - as you can see, it is full of jokes, both about Obama and the Nobel Peace Prize.  The Nobel Peace Prize is also a hot topic at the Swedish blog search engine Twingly. Here is the only article where one of the committee member have been interviewed; “He did not seem very happy” said Inger Mari Ytterholm about Obama when he met the press after the Nobel announcement.

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6 thoughts on “Obama and the Nobel Peace Prize – the social media reactions from Norway

  1. According to your article it seems like most comments in blogs and micro blogs are negative to the award.
    This does not correspond very well with the poll from Synovate. What do you think is the reason for that?

  2. Congrats on your new job at Bengler, Bente!

    And by the way: Prepare to see Google Wave going mad about Obama destroying all cred for the Nobel Prize. In my view, the Peace Prize should go back to being administered from Stockholm, Sweden, like in the pre-1905 days.

  3. Trond, it might be that the bloggers/micro bloggers are younger then the people Synovate asked in their survey (ref. young people are more critical then people in their 50-60s, according to the survey VG refered to).
    I`m not sure how Synovate did their survey, and whether they are able to reach young people in the same degree in their phone interviews.

    Thanks for the congrats, Vidd. In my view, Obama is not destroying the credibility for the Nobel Prize, the committee does. He didn`t ask for the prize, the committee gave it to him at a very awkward moment.

  4. Oh, I don’t think I said that, at least I didn’t mean it. The awarding of Mr Obama destroyed all cred, and the fact that Mr Obama accepted it.

    Let’s hope there is still time to take the Peace Prize ouf of his hands. The future of the earth as such might depend upon it.

  5. I can only guess that the Nobel committee wanted to motivate Obama to pursue more humanitarian policies in the future.

    I can’t fathom that anyone could look at Obama’s records/plans and deem him worthy of a prize for peace.

  6. This is a difficult one to call as the definition of a prize is something that is awarded for an achievement and certainly until now this has been the spirit of the Nobel Peace Prize. To award it to someone in lieu of any achievement whatsoever on the premise that he will achieve something in the future is to make a mockery of it, in my opinion. It also smacks of a political agenda.

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