In a May 9 commencement speech to graduates at Hampton University, Hampton, Virginia, President Obama claimed that modern technology and social media are “putting new pressure on our country and on our democracy.”
Great! Many HOPE that to be true, as both our country and democracy have been needing a new pressure – a pressure that would cause people to wake up and “smell the coffee” (as one of my old teachers would have put it). Our democracy has been spiraling out of control with Democrats and Republicans both having made decisions that put us on a financial train wreck. Modern technology and social media bring pressure by providing a level of transparency and public discourse never before possible in history. Many thank God for it.
Not so President Obama, although he made great use of modern technology and social media throughout his 2008 campaign. He told the graduates on Sunday,
“…meanwhile, 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 that high on the truth meter.”
Let’s stop here. Truth meter? Obama is going to lecture US about truth? Does he sincerely believe that most of America still thinks he’s honest?
He goes on,
“And with iPods and iPads; and Xboxes and PlayStations – none of which I know how to work – (laughter) – information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment, rather than the means of emancipation. So all of this is not only putting pressure on you; it’s putting new pressure on our country and on our democracy.”
– OK, first, he’s talking about a Truth meter, and inferring that that Truth is important…and then goes ahead and lies about his use of this horrid technology. CNN.com’s SciTech blog, John D. Sutter writes that during the 2008 presidential campaign, Obama told Rolling Stone his iPod contained songs by Bob Dylan, Jay-Z and cellist Yo-Yo Ma. He also told the AP he has all Michael Jackson music “on my iPod.” He’s even given the Queen Elizabeth an Ipod (With…can you believe this?… his speeches programmed in. Talk about arrogant…) And his administration uses social media to push their agenda constantly. His Press Secretary made a big show of starting to use Twitter.
– Second…most of us feel that yes, indeed, modern technology HAS been a huge tool for empowerment and emancipation! Call Twitter, Blogs and other non-traditional media what you want, but I and many others are GRATEFUL for the ability to get news without having to depend on NBC, ABC or CBS.
– But third …wait, most of what he mentioned in the above list ARE …primarily tools used for…entertainment, right? Not information? So…what’s he talking about? Tools for entertainment aren’t putting pressure on the democracy…are they? Wait…there’s an ipod in England loaded with his speeches….right; an entertainment ipod which contains distracting information that doesn’t rank that high on the truth meter… exists.
No, this feigned concern over the dangers of ipods, etc. was a farce. He campaigned using social media, and his administration continues to use it heavily. This wasn’t about the dangers of modern technology. This was about the lamest attempt to quash dissent ever recorded. Obama can control a few of the major news sources, but he hasn’t been able to control what we text, tweet, and blog each other. And that’s what he hates, just as much as he hates the Tea Party.
Some think that this was his first volley in an attempt to control the Internet as well as dissenting news media. If it was, it was a very weak and ineffective volley. Needless to say, any attempt to circumvent the constitution and prevent people from freely communicating would only anger the public further. No matter what, they would continue to communicate by any means possible.
He might have wanted to give the appearance that he was trying to ”warn” America’s youth about the dangers of new technology, but for many of us, the actual warning we received is that he’s trying – ineffectively – to dampen trust in the myriad news sources that he can’t control.