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. My take on it is the same information network that helped destroy any chance for G.W. to succeed from day one and helped, actually guaranteed, President Obama’s election, is now noticing how unqualified, no matter the intentions (good or bad) his administration is.

    When you put the right shoe on the left foot, the President becomes uncomfortable.
    But when you put the left shoe on the right foot, the nation becomes uncomfortable….

  2. Also, when he was referring to devices he doesn’t know how to work, I think he was talking about video game systems like Xbox and Playstation…in which he has much in common with many of his generation (I’m just a few years older and in the same boat). Remember, Obama’s no Luddite; he used his MacBook extensively on the campaign, especially iChat to stay in touch with his family, and jokes about him and his Blackberry abounded.

  3. Is nobody willing to admit that medias can be very saturating… if all you do is constatly haging at your ear-phones?
    Doesn’t need to be that smart to notice that many are zombified by external claims.
    take a little retreat and do not always criticize somebody as soon as he starts to think a bit further than common people…

  4. In a dictatorial government it is essential that there be a single source of information. A single voice espoused from a single, overaching and unchallenged authority. That source is the Democratic party, and it’s voice is Chairman Obama.

  5. Furthermore… The only valid censorship of ideas is the right of people not to listen. – Tommy Smothers

    Done. I’ve put up with years of political garbage needlessly being inserted on this site, masquerading as Apple news. Fine, it’s MDN’s site, it’s their right to choose what to post. However, I now exercise *my* right to “not listen” to the ads (i.e. block them) on this site.

    Let’s see how much MDN values free speech. This is perfectly on topic (especially compared to the political comments that get posted to and remain on completely non-political MDN articles), let’s see if this post is still here by the end of the day.

  6. I do not think he expressed an anti-free-speech point-of-view. The problem he suggests is that some people give the same weight to things they read from commenters on blogs as they do from experts in a particular field. Also, the news has become much more tabloid than journalism, and they have abandoned their traditional role of fleshing out fact from fiction. To the contrary, they seem to relish fanning the flames.

    We, as Americans, are bombarded with information, and I have noticed that instead of using this historically-enviable position to become well-informed, people mainly seek out points-of-view that validate the beliefs they already hold. It is a major problem for public discourse, and without an informed electorate, democracy is crippled.

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