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. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.


  4. 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.

  5. It’s not the information that’s the problem, but what one does with it and the lack of balance in one’s life, that Obama is lamenting. Instead of coverage of what’s really important like nuclear reduction talks or environmental issues, we get 24/7 coverage of Tiger’s Wood and “American Idol”.

    Wouldn’t hurt any of us to shut off the TV and video games, put the iPad and iPod to sleep, and go outside and really get to know one’s world. And those of you who still can, hug your moms today; mine’s been gone for 5 years now and I still miss her. 🙁

  6. Any U.S President, regardless of party, who would reign in free speech makes us very nervous. Perhaps, Obama misspoke or was misquoted. We hope that is the case

    I’m hardly Obama’s biggest fan, but I’ve read the quotes MDN provided five times, where the hell was there *any* mention or even hint of reigning in free speech!?

    “Too much info puts pressures on democracy” (paraphrased) is nowhere near “and we must take measures to stop it!”

    No, I’m not going to bother reading the linked article, because if there was anything that alluded to it, MDN should have quoted it already!

  7. This is again a political troll post by MDN, carefully cutting off the article quote before Obama’s operative statement quoted in the article:

    “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.

    Nowhere did he even hint at wanting to curtail the freedom of speech, nor has he ever done that anywhere else to my knowledge.

    MDN, you should really collect a bit of journalistic integrity, even if your political preferences may make that hard to achieve.

    Pitiful political manipulation, nothing else. Rush Limbaugh would be proud.

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