image In a commencement address given at Hampton University in Virginia over the weekend, President Barack Obama was preparing students about the dangers of the new media.

Meanwhile, 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 rank all that high on the truth meter. With iPods and iPads; Xboxes and PlayStations; information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment. All of this is not only putting new pressures on you; it is putting new pressures on our country and on our democracy…

…With so many voices clamoring for attention on blogs, on cable, on talk radio, it can be difficult, at times, to sift through it all; to know what to believe; to figure out who’s telling the truth and who’s not. Let’s face it, even some of the craziest claims can quickly gain traction. I’ve had some experience with that myself.

I find it amazing with most of the mainstream media in bed with him salivating over his every speech, with Chris Matthews getting thrills up his legs, and David Brooks being impressed with the crease in his pants; that he would be happy overall with the media coverage.  But no.  Beware of blogs (I’m sure HuffPo is fine with him), cable (read Fox News), talk radio (read Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Mark Levin).

Don’t worry about the newspapers and the Big Three networks – they’ll steer you through this morass of information that will shake the core of our democracy!  It is pretty galling that the President who has been challenged the least by the mainstream media is the one who whines the most.

His rhetoric about the flow of information is disconcerting, the type of language that I would expect to hear from certain southern neighbors.

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