Monday, May 10, 2010

Awww... (UPDATED)

(please scroll to bottom of post for update. Thanks.)

The whiner-in-chief is bummed about technology or something.

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."

(italics, ours)

Wasn't this supposed be the most tech-savvy president and presidential administration of all time? Wasn't Team Obama's alleged abilities to connect with young voters via social mediums like Twitter and FaceBook an oft-repeated meme' and big reason for his victory in 2008?

Maybe he's just venting because it was a crappy week.. and it was but his hey, I'm just a regular guy schtick rings hollow. Maybe he doesn't know how to use all that techy stuff as he claims but tough luck there, champ - when you're the hippest person to ever walk the planet, people are going to hold you to it.

(UPDATE #1): The irony of the hippest and most tech-savvy President evah going grumpy old man on us, shrouded the larger issue in his Hampton University commmencement address and that is his very curious take on the explosion of information that is now available to us because of the digital revolution is somehow bad for democracy.

Sure, there is the danger of facts being misrepresented and falsehoods being represented as truth but since when was any of that not the case? And we're looking at you, old state-controlled media.

It doesn't take a genius to figure out who the President is lashing out at as the second-to-last paragraph of the pull quote indicates (to wit, the right blogosphere has been opining on the possibility that the Gulf oil spill is Obama's Katrina. It's far to early to speculate and we'll wait until more facts are brought to light before we pass any judgement, if at all).

And in totally related news to the President having a tough time of late controlling the media narrative you'd be pleased to know that the FCC's Diversity Chief (the first position to suffer the budget axe in a BwD administration, btw) Mark Lloyd is a big fan of that champion of free speech and opposition politics, Hugo Chazez.

Two years ago, Lloyd stated, "In Venezuela, with Chavez, is really an incredible revolution -- a democratic revolution. To begin to put in place things that are going to have an impact on the people of Venezuela." Lloyd also commented that when independent media outlets criticized Chavez's policies, the Venezuelan dictator "began to take very seriously the media in his country." Lloyd's comments came in the middle of Chavez's two-year run of closing down nearly every single privately-owned media outlet in Venezuela, thereby ending all criticism of the government.

A long but good read from the American Spectator, here, on just what is in store for the internet, TV, radio and free speech, in general, if the politically-appointed folks at the levers of power within the FCC get their way.