Obama: With iPods and iPads, information becomes a distraction; imposes new pressures on democracy

Barack Obama lamented Sunday that “with iPads and iPods,” information has become a distraction that is putting new pressures on the U.S.A. and “democracy.”

“‘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,” AFP reports. “‘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.”

MacDailyNews Note: During the 2008 election, KCAL-TV covered Candidate Obama’s advertisements placed inside eighteen of Microsoft’s Xbox video games:

Direct link via YouTube here.

AFP continues, “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… We can’t stop these changes… but we can adapt to them,’ Obama said, adding that US workers were in a battle with well-educated foreign workers. ‘Education… can fortify you, as it did earlier generations, to meet the tests of your own time,’ he said.”

Full article here.

Obama’s commencement address at Hampton University:

Direct link via YouTube here.

[Update: 2:08pm EDT. Pulled the Take because the point we were attempting to make seems to have been either too satirical or not satirical enough. Our fault, not yours. We blame the weekend help.]

[Update: 11:37pm EDT. Added link to 2008 report on Obama campaign’s ads in Xbox video games. Thanks to MacDailyNews readers too numerous to mention individually for the heads up.]

[Update: 11:59pm EDT. Added link to Obama’s commencement address at Hampton University. Thanks to MacDailyNews reader “Algr” for the heads up and the nice compliment.]

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “TowerTone” for the AFP article heads up.]


  1. He stepped in it this time. He may have been lamenting the demise of professional journalism (a la Newsweek being sold), but his choice of gadgets was clearly ignorantly chosen.

  2. “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.
    Translation: Information becomes ever more accessible and every lie is immediately verified as such and every source is instantly vetted. With such tools in the hands of the proletariat, the Vox Populi tends to drown out the tired clichés of an impotent and ineffective government. Don’t waste your time gathering information. Just do what we tell you.

  3. Since he doesn’t know how to work these devices, perhaps he’s unaware that there’s an “off” switch? It’s really very similar to the things he may be more familiar with, such as radio and television: you can turn it on when you like, you can choose what you want to see or hear ( or not ), and you can turn it off when you’re sick to death of all the crap it’s filled with.

  4. I think you’re all missing the point. You know how writers bastardize Apple products and spout their opinions about falsehoods just to get ratings and hits.

    American people in general are pretty freaking stupid and will believe anything as long as it’s in print, or for this matter online in an article.

    The digital age is allowing for more anonymity and a lot less accountability for stupid actions. This is what he’s saying.

    Basically, don’t believe everything you read.

    Pi has spoken.

  5. Reading comprehension must be missing today @MDN.

    He also said,

    What Jefferson recognized… that in the long run, their improbable experiment — called America — wouldn’t work if its citizens were uninformed, if its citizens were apathetic, if its citizens checked out, and left democracy to those who didn’t have the best interests of all the people at heart.
    “It could only work if each of us stayed informed and engaged, if we held our government accountable, if we fulfilled the obligations of citizenship.”

    At least try to be fair.


  6. From a President whom used social media more than any other President to win an election? I’m shocked he could be so bland about products that are shinning and shaping in our poor economy. Quite out of touch.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.