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President Obama warns of iPad, media misinformation, and stuff



President Obama took a big crap on the iPad at some school in Virginia yesterday. Or at least that’s the impression I got skimming headlines today. Something about media being a distraction or something like that. I don’t know. All I read was “iPad” and was hooked.

From his commencement speech at Hampton University via the Huffington Post:

“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,” he told the students. “And 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. So all of this is not only putting pressure on you; it’s putting new pressure on our country and on our democracy.”

Can you believe that? Blah, blah, blah, truth meter, blah, blah, blah, iPads, blah, blah, blah, diversion. That’s crazy, right? Outrageous that the president would waste time ranting about iPads and stuff rather than make a responsible statement against the current state of our 24/7 media cycle and the misinformation and distractions it spreads through our always-connected, mobile tech-enabled society. Thank goodness seasoned media is there to direct us to the real story hiding beneath talk of emancipation and empowerment and stuff with headlines like, “Obama Criticizes iPad During Commencement Speech”, ’cause that part’s really important. And now here is a video of a cat using an iPad.

P.S. Yes, that was irony, and so is the fact that media outlets have gone echo chamber, stuffing my feeds with this distracting diversion, exactly as the president warned. Or if this was on a message board: media outlets, YHBT. In case anyone cares, here are two links to responsible reporting on the speech.



  1. Mike

    05/10/2010 at 2:54 pm

    Well, to be fair, I think he was more warning about the fast paced (constant) media cycle brought about by modern technology – and its seeming willingness to make ‘news’ out of rumor or innuendo.
    He was making the point that a good education should prepare them to dig deeper than a typical modern ‘news’ story might, and discern a bit more of the truth from the truthiness.
    Fair point I’d say.
    Am I the only one who shakes my head every time a print journalist professional warns of the coming glut of ‘real’ news if traditional print media dies and only blogs live on?
    Am I the only one who constantly finds ‘news articles’ from the wire services or local papers which would not get (or at least should not) get a passing grade in even an entry level journalism class?
    Heck – I’ve never even been to a journalism class, but even I know they should tell me ‘who, what, where, when’ and at least take a stab at ‘why’.
    They often don’t even make it fully through ‘who’ and ‘what’.

  2. Brett Gilbertson

    05/10/2010 at 4:15 pm

    Lol! Love the segue to the video… Classic sumocat. That headline was a slight stretch.

    • Sumocat

      05/10/2010 at 5:41 pm

      Yeah, the headline’s not doing it for me either.

  3. GoodThings2Life

    05/10/2010 at 4:45 pm

    I genuinely feel that the President and our current Congressional leadership are leading our country in the wrong direction, BUT… Obama’s statements about technology being a distraction to our lives is definitely true. He has a point about how the media is misleading as well and how much information overload tends to mess us up.

    Of course, most of the media outlets pretty much parrot everything he says and spits it back out verbatim, so I dunno why he has a problem with that. Plus, all these media consumption devices like the iPad and the iPod (which he owns but doesn’t know how to use according to his speech) are giving people constant access to his message by way of the media consumed on these devices.

    You’d think people (journalists included) would be tuned into the fact that he doesn’t appreciate all the work they do to support his administration…

    • Mike

      05/10/2010 at 7:20 pm

      I can’t say I agree the news puts out Obama’s story all the time or even most of it.
      I think if that was the case there would be far fewer people convinced he wasn’t born here or that he’s a secret Muslim.
      I think most news isn’t that great. Some leans right and some leans left.
      There are a few good sources that try to present a balanced view and wade through what is actually going on.
      For most of it, John Stewart does a good job expressing the WTF attitude that I think most reasonable people have as a general reaction.

      • GoodThings2Life

        05/11/2010 at 3:53 am

        I apologize, because I don’t really want to turn this forum into a political debate, but just a bit of fact-checking here…

        1. The media doesn’t produce those particular stories. Political opponents do and email forwarding crazies and news pundits spread it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a conservative-leaning individual, but I’m not a Republican, because I feel both sides have lost their way. But you basically have CNN, MSNBC, NY Times, USA Today, Washington Post, LA Times, and any number of other outlets… and then you have FOX News and a handful of talk radio programs keeping the conservative movement going. You have to go to outside the US to get any kind of alternative viewpoint, and even then you have the BBC and other outlets treating Obama as a golden-boy. Ironically, the only true dissent I’ve heard against him has been from another kind of crazy– Chavez and Ahmadenijad (spelling?), but it’s more America they hate, I suspect.

        2. Jon Stewart is a comedian that makes people laugh by presenting news stories with a humorous spin. It’s often true that the funniest spin is to take the most contrary representation of the story, but make no mistake he is VERY liberal and VERY supportive of Obama and Congress’s agenda. I will admit, however, that he does call people out on being stupid regardless of which side they’re on, and I applaud him on that, and I do often find his commentary hilarious… I just don’t confuse him for a “right-wing nutjob”. :)

        • Mike

          05/11/2010 at 3:58 pm

          I agree re: not making it a political thread.
          However… ;-)

          I can see the overall leaning of this station or that being called out – but on most all of them it depends on the particular show/host.
          Even Fox News – which I, being left leaning cannot stand – has Shep Smith, whom I think is very good generally.
          You forget PBS though, which often has quite decent news shows.

          John Stewart, as he is first to admit, is a comic and not a news guy. I don’t think it matters much though. Whether with a grin or a grimace I think we are all served well by somebody standing up and pointing at the more obvious idiocies which do so abound in both politics and the coverage of it. Stewart is a master of the form.
          He’s also one of the better interviewers on TV I think.
          He does have trouble resisting a joke – but that bit of levity often helps keep a civil discourse.
          It’s true he leans left, as you point out.
          But also true he is happy to go after anyone on either side if they deserve it.

          Also.. I just find him funny.

    • CLC

      05/11/2010 at 8:58 am

      Agreed. I really don’t understand his issue with the media that praises him every twenty seconds. (I have literally tuned the man out. He’s on the TV waaaaaaay too much. Nothing new to say, either.)

      I think his real issue is with various blogs and conservative radio programs that occasionally force the mainstream media to pick up the story, as well, to keep from looking like they are totally out of the loop.

      Honestly…., that quoted bit that Sumocat highlighted gave me the chills because it reminds me of the attitude of the various dictators and control freaks towards free speech. It’s one thing to tell the kids to exercise discernment in what they read and watch. It’s another thing to insinuate that all dissenters are liars and distractions.

      From my reading of the Constitution, I seem to understand “natural born citizen” as being a person who inherited their citizenship by birth from American parent(s), as opposed to a person who was simply born on this soil. However, that definition was expanded by the 14th Amendment to include those who were born on American soil to non-citizen parents. But, in my studies, that does not exclude children who inherited their citizenship from their parents but happened to be born on the soil of another country from the definition of being a natural born citizen.
      I could be wrong; but that seems to be what I get from reading the Constitution.

      • Sumocat

        05/11/2010 at 9:21 am

        Sorry. Tagging this comment as irony before anyone takes the bait.

        • CLC

          05/11/2010 at 9:49 am

          LOL. That’s the point. (Guess I should have been more specific.) It is ironic that people focus on whether Obama was born on US soil or not when I don’t see where in the Constitution it says that you have to be, only that you be born with your citizenship, rather than have obtained it later in life.

          I say we move on from that topic.

        • Mike

          05/11/2010 at 3:44 pm


  4. GoodThings2Life

    05/10/2010 at 4:53 pm

    PS— LOL @ the cat!

  5. Sumocat

    05/11/2010 at 5:43 am

  6. ricktheprick

    05/11/2010 at 11:11 am

    Come on, you must know he’s right. Goofing around with an iPad is always a distraction, is never productive in any way, and most of the time the stuff being consumed is total crap.

    Don’t get me wrong. I waste time on the internet, too. I’m just not afraid to call it what it is.

  7. acerbic

    05/11/2010 at 12:28 pm

    Obama has a point. The iFad is made for Idiocracy and beyond. It already has “Ow My Balls” The Game and the preferred input methods are poking, gesturing and fingerpainting. The next iteration will let you take The Violence Channel with you everywhere, has Grunt Recognition and automatically converts all incomprehensible historical (pre-2011) English text into the mixture of Hillbilly and Valley Girl.

  8. Snapdragon

    05/11/2010 at 1:35 pm

    The prez just don’t want us all to know what they are up to. So get rid of media so they can hide in darkness. Like not reading the bills that they pass and the drunk sailor spending. But they will protect us from everything. Who’s gonna protect us from the government? Wake up America. Their protection erodes our freedom.

  9. Chris Hickie

    05/11/2010 at 6:11 pm

    If he can’t use an iPad, how does he manage his Blackberry, or is that all just spin, too.

    This President is one massive distraction, when you get down to it.

  10. Chris Hickie

    05/11/2010 at 6:13 pm

    I guess he wouldn’t want us to readily have access to information that might contradict what his press folk put out, now would he?

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