I'm obviously not articulating what I'm trying to say very well. What happens within the U.S. How you people view him, via the news outlets, is not what I'm discussing. It's the more international aspects.
Well, if you're referring to the gay marriage issue specifically here, no, I don't see hundreds of millions of people outside the U.S. viewing Obama's endorsement as a statement that matters a great deal internationally. It's more seen as part of an effort to make the U.S. "catch up" with the wider world, ridding herself of attitudes and laws that have become outdated. It's perceived as domectic policy, yes - and many people recognize that legally speaking, it's not something the president will be able to decide directly because it's mostly state law. The statement was a bit overdue, yes, he could have made it a year or two ago. But we all know this issue is so loaded in the U.S. that any political figure with national ambitions or a national standing has to weigh how he/she is saying things against how it will be picked up by their voters, sponsors and adversaries.
It's seen (by non-Americans) as a "home talk issue", and about the U.S. being in a political and social learning process (sorry for having to put it that way - and No, it doesn't mean casting Obama as "the Teacher"!). It's the same with the health insurance law I think, which will likely be seen as a defining part of the current term: many people see it as the U.S. coming to terms with something many other nations grappled with decades ago. Yes, that view flies in the face of the tradition of U.S. exceptionalism of course, but it's part of how it's seen - especially in Europe and Canada, but not just in those places.
Bear in mind, I am NOT saying he IS ineffectual. It's how the news outlets outside the U.S. seem to be portraying him. As let's face it, although the President saying something is important, so are the news agencies. In fact a lot of people put more stock into the news because reporters are seen as unbiased and can only speak truths (Which is a total and complete falsehood, see FOX News and CNN.)
Many news sources and writers, outside of the U.S. as much as within, have "placed bets" on him and how he is going to perform in the upcoming elections, in foreign policy etc, and they will skew what they say to play up to those bets and estimates. Or they may have axes to grind in general politics. That's going to play a major role in what gets written and reported, that's how the news machine works.
I personally stopped believing a long time ago that "it's got to be true because I read it in such and such a paper". Even with those news outlets I see as having good quality. One just has to dig a bit deeper, and to think for oneself. And yes, the media have become overall less scrupulous, more spinny,