In the newspaper article "Barack Obama visits Jordan amid red faces at King Abdullah's comments," why does the writer describe the participant with words like "shaken by" and "alarmed by"?
The author is using strong word choice to humanize the king and describe his and Obama’s personal reactions to the events.
In this Guardian article by Ian Black from March 22, 2013, Black describes a visit US President Barack Obama made to Jordan to visit King Abdullah II. The visit was in response to some controversial comments made by the king about Muslims and Syria.
Abdullah also had harsh words for devout Muslims, members of his own family and the powerful Mukhabarat secret police. Perhaps worse, he described loyalist but restive East Bank tribal leaders as "dinosaurs".
Black takes a softer line though, as if wanting to humanize and explain King Abdullah’s reaction and feelings, while reinforcing Obama’s support.
Abdullah is described as a “conservative monarch shaken by the events of the Arab spring and alarmed by the escalating conflict between Bashar al-Assad and western-backed rebels.” In the same way, Obama is described as “alarmed by the escalating conflict between Bashar al-Assad and western-backed rebels” in the article. This seems to support Abdullah’s concerns, if not his words.
The combination of these similar terms binds the two leaders, and makes it seem as if they are not so far apart and Obama is indeed supporting Abdullah. Abdullah does not seem as extreme, and Obama seems supportive without being conciliatory.