Emotional intelligence … The popularity on Twitter of the Obamas' victory embrace indicates his support among younger people
The story of Barack Obama's re-election is the story of how real people, real voters, have expressed a relationship with this man that defies the cynicism, bias and outright prejudice of the official media, who either wrote him off or saw him as the best of a bad choice. This photograph tells the true story, for it goes to the deep admiration and affection Obama inspires in so many of us – around the world as well as in the US.
Obama celebrated his election victory this week by immediately tweeting an emotional photograph of him and his wife, Michelle, embracing, and it has become the most re-tweeted picture in history. That's partly because it captures his humanity and the sincerity of his love for his family, his wife and daughters, to whom he paid lavish tribute in his eloquent victor's speech.
It also indicates the nature of his support: younger people who tweet, as opposed to older folk who go hunting. Obama is on the right side of history, and that includes the technological future. In this election, the America of Steve Jobs defeated that of Donald Trump.
Above all, the enthusiastic re-tweeting of this photograph indicates how deeply most television and newspaper reports and commentaries got the 2012 presidential election wrong. They became blind to the authenticity of Obama, and the faith such a quality can still inspire. It's an intimate picture: in sharing it with the world, he expressed a trust in people. This is what the moment means for him – it means Michelle continuing as first lady for, as he said emotionally in his winner's speech in Chicago, the nation has come to share his love for his wife. Wow. This man has emotional intelligence. And instead of mocking it, his voters understand. This is the Obamas' moment and everyone wants to share it. The Obamas in love: most retweeted moment in history.
Did he win by default, was he grimly given a second chance by a sullen electorate? (Many commentators said so, except the genius Nate Silver, with his unerring mathematics of the American soul.) Not in the slightest. This picture's popularity says it all: Obama has won a renewed bond with the American people, a true mandate, a second birth for Hope.
Historians may wonder, and perhaps journalists should wonder right now, why his deep support among women, younger voters, Ohio workers he has helped, gay voters, black people and Latin Americans, even Bob Dylan, was not the defining story of the 2012 election all along. Perhaps it's because older white men edit the news. One in particular, Rupert Murdoch, exerts a startling grip on American television through Fox News. Does the sheer volume of right-wing interpretations pumped out by Fox fatally distort the entire spectrum of reporting, dragging the centre rightward? Yet the liberal press seemed to succumb to its own overwrought view that Obama was a damaged president, lucky if he got re-elected.
This picture is worth more than all the words that have been spoken or written about an election that should scare newspapers and broadcasters, who could not see its simple truth.