US President Barack Obama lamented Sunday that in the iPad and Xbox era, information had become a diversion that was imposing new strains on democracy, in his latest critique of modern media.
Obama, who often chides journalists and cable news outlets for obsessing with political horse race coverage rather than serious issues, told a class of graduating university students that education was the key to progress.
“You’re coming of age in a 24/7 media environment that bombards us with all kinds of content and exposes us to all kinds of arguments, some of which don’t always rank all that high on the truth meter,” Obama said at Hampton University, Virginia.
“With iPods and iPads and Xboxes and PlayStations, — none of which I know how to work — information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment, rather than the means of emancipation,” Obama said.
He bemoaned the fact that “some of the craziest claims can quickly claim traction,” in the clamor of certain blogs and talk radio outlets.
“All of this is not only putting new pressures on you, it is putting new pressures on our country and on our democracy.”
This is disingenuous.
First, no politician in American history has used these “new media” better than Barack Obama. And the diversional aspects of the technology make it easier to advance your own agenda while people are interacting with their electronic devices.
Second, he’d be better off ignoring what isn’t to his taste than make his press secretary waste press conference time discussing it, as he did here. OTOH, making Gibbs play “whack a mole” diverts attention from what Obama is really doing…
Third, a nation where everyone is on the dole to some degree and privacy is eviscerated by the technology he bemoans won’t be a real “democracy” much longer anyway. That is, in reality, what saved Labour in the UK from a total trashing in this last general election. Too many people are dependent upon the government to risk losing anything from it, especially when the providers have been in power for 13 years. Obama figures that, if he can rack up eight years of dependency, they’ll never boot the Democrats.
But national bankruptcy just might boot many people from their “safe” positions…