Obama: iPads Make Information a Distraction

09 May

Although before his inauguration U.S. President Barack Obama was rarely seen without his BlackBerry, he has criticized the current crop of popular consumer gadgets for helping make information a “distraction.”

The context of his comments is important; Obama was talking about the importance of education and Thomas Jefferson’s realization that citizens must stay informed to make a democracy work. If quoted out of context, though, his comments might not be too popular with freedom of speech advocates — or gadget lovers, for that matter.

“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,” the AFP reports Obama saying during a talk at Hampton University in Virginia.

“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, arguably the most social media savvy of all U.S. presidents, went on to suggest that the traction gained by the “craziest claims” from blogs and talk radio outlets is “putting new pressures on our country and on our democracy.”

What do you think? Is Obama right to highlight how hard it can be to differentiate disreputable sources from the responsible ones (unless you’re really media savvy)? Are iPads, iPods, Xbox 360s and PlayStation 3s making the problem worse, or is he finding causation where none exists? Have your say in the comments section below.

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Tags: barack obama, ipad, iphone, media, playstation 3, politics, Xbox 360