President Obama Goes In on Ipods & Ipads-Says Don’t Let Them Get You Caught Up

President Obama said something very interesting this weekend when speaking at Hampton University. Yes he told the graduates that the world they are entering is gonna be rough. I mean he didn’t just come out and say it, but he was pretty much saying ‘Good luck on getting a job folks..

That in itself is worth noting, especially since he has those Goldman Sachs people around him who pretty much ripped us off and pushed us in the direction of economic enslavement.

But the thing that caught me was this quote

“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. 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.

That quote is rich and is something I think we need to pay attention to… Working in commercial radio there’ a few tricks I’ve seen pulled program directors who wished to move an audience in a particular direction. They would simply burn you out on a song a genre. The burn out would come by over exposing something or by playing something which was obviously below the standards desired by the audience..

When I read President Obama‘s quote I kept thinking about how I’m starting to hear people say they are burnt out over all the information they can get.. They complain about Information overload. This is compounded by the fact that we now have several generations of people who only want 30 second soundbites. We’re a headline news society that has allowed us to become ‘instant experts’ on topics which we are unwilling to follow-up on..The information is disposable. Tiger Woods having multiple affairs holds the same value as a natural disaster

If you don’t believe me, ask how many of us have followed up on the situation in Haiti? Do any of us even care about what’s going on? Would your interest be peaked if we started to hear new reports on the country? My guess is many would not be interested. I recall hearing folks complaining that all this information on Haiti was too much. People were looking for escapes. The news coming out of it was cheapened by network news outlets who tried to find ways to neatly package it.

They wanted a villain, a hero, some controversy and nice ending which in reality has yet to come for the millions still sleeping in tents and barely surviving.  But as far as the average person here.. We had a villain-Mother nature..and later  so-called looters’. Our  hero was Wyclef and all the celebrities who raised money.. later they tried to make Bill Clinton and George Bush heroes. The nice ending was we raised money and now its time to go on to the next.

The gadgets we have allow us that luxury and at a day and time where critical thinking is not be taught especially in the areas of media, after we tire of a story we push a button to distract and entertain ourselves even with the most horrific news.

Another case in point, many of us were fascinated with the size of the tornados in Mississippi the other week than we were concerned about the people killed by them. Between heated debates on immigration, the gulf coast oil spill, attempted bomb plots in Times Square and drama around financial reform, many of us have no more room to take in and react to the news about the devastating floods in Nashville. We’ve had too much information. We were so full on the neat little news packages we come to consume, by the time we surfed around to get info on the floods, it was only to be entertained. The devastation had not moved us to action or to even think critically and connect the dots to larger issues be it global warming, poverty or faulty infrastructure..

In any case I think Obama was on point with his remarks..I took from it he was saying do something with that information other then ‘be right in an on line debate’ or  treat it like a perverse form of entertainment. I also took from it not to get so caught up we stop actually engaging folks and tackling important issues at hand. In short don’t let iphones and ipads become the new television and rendering us to be new age couch potatoes

Something to ponder.. And just so you know today in Haiti they are having a protest in Port Au Prince around who gets to run the government.

Here’s the link to an article I read that has a nice take on Obama’s remarks

Return to Davey D’s Hip Hop Corner


20 comments on “President Obama Goes In on Ipods & Ipads-Says Don’t Let Them Get You Caught Up

  1. More pure hypocrisy. His entire campaign and current strategy, as openly expressed recently by Rahm Emanuel, is to make obama ubiquitous via popular media. remember, he was awarded “brand of the year” in 2008. their point, again – openly expressed -, is to have him appear in so many places all the time that his critics cannot keep up. obama is himself the distraction he now tells us not to fall prey to. wow, they are really good. but it is still fraudulent.

  2. All that may be true Jared.. but its up to us to take from that quote which I believe is accurate and run with it in a way which I think is pro-active.. Much of what was said and what I wrote has been said over and over and over again.. That’s not being heard by the masses when you, myself or others not as high profile say.. The President says it.. Its a big deal-millions listen to why muddy the issue by leaving one with the impression that we shouldn’t follow that advice? Your last comment is It is Still Fraudulent.. You leave me with the impression that I need to go back to tweeting and face-booking all day and not engaging folks face to face which is what I think you and others who advocate for us to have a movement would suggest..Obama told us not to fall prey..We should be taking that to the bank..

    In addition Obama’s foes on the right also have a critique which they simplified to be he’s wrong to tell folks that too much information is a distraction..Obviously they want people to stay locked into what their feeding..

    Really Jared article is about media distraction and not Obama.. He’s the tool to make a larger commentary..Same way he uses media justice angles to make himself ‘brand of the year’..There’s lots of time and opportunity to criticize him.. Hell I just sent an article about his court pick.. I think you missed an opportunity to add to this commentary and bring your expertise as to how information overload is a strategy to keep us consuming and distracted..

  3. hahaha… thats the point davey, even i cant keep up with everything out there or everything you post, nor can you be expected to keep up with everything i post or put out there which often does offer the critiques of obama you say i could have added to your previous post.

    and my comment was also about distraction, not obama. he is the distraction and uses the distraction he tells us not to be distracted by to further distract us from information we need and work we need to do.

    actually, my argument would be that we all need more time offline, less posts, less traffic and more personal political organizing. im not doing enough of anything but that would be my position. i just quickly caught this post and the ridiculousness of obama’s fraudulence.. but its part of his running theme, that when talking to black people he chastises and blames. so he is at least consistent.

  4. I hear ya.. getting off line will be a very very very hard habit to break for folks..A few years ago Dick Parsons told us at Time Warner to reinforce learned behavior.. learned behavior was keep us logging in on to AOL.. They like other media outlets had serious money invested in pyschological profiles.. Now with all the sophistication..getting unplug is next to impossible for many..Considering the audience I think it was sound advice.. what I find interesting is that this story is quickly sun setting.. might’ve been too close to the truth

  5. Yeah, this topic is something that was brought up during my info-sci degree program. These gizmos can easily be used as useful tools instead of useless toys…

  6. “In any case I think Obama was on point with his remarks..I took from it he was saying do something with that information other then ‘be right in an on line debate’ or treat it like a perverse form of entertainment”

    Of course you do, Mr. Davey D. No surprise there. :o)

    However, you conveniently ignore the fact that the message from Obama came to you by way of what?….The Media….unless of course Obama gave you the message personally, probably by emailing it so that you can read it on an IPAD.

    And seeing that most of us don’t know Obama personally, isn’t it safe to assume that EVERYTHING that we know about him has come by way of the MEDIA (probably through IPAD, IPHONE, and IPOD)??? So is he telling us to disregard the very tool that he uses to sell you his message?

    And if I remember correctly, didn’t Obama raise most have his campaign money over the internet? I guess that it’s only good when it works in your best interest, which brings to mind your Obama-fascination, but I digress.

    And, wouldn’t you consider your website – – a media outlet that some of your readers probably visit by IPAD or IPHONE? I mean, couldn’t your comments be considered a “perverse form of entertainment”?

    Personally – and despite the fact that I am not a fan of Big Media – I thought that Obama’s message was short-sighted, especially considering that he was using Big Media to deliver it.

    I’m jus’ sayin’…….


  7. You missed the point my what I wrote.. The fact that u came away with that sort of take may actually underscore what he said .. stop letting these things be distractions.. he didn’t say ‘Throw everything away.. He said Use this as a tool.. did you not read that?

  8. I think he is going to try to come down and “regulate” information… decide what is “useful” and what is “entertainment”…

  9. Pingback: President Obama Goes In on Ipods & Ipads-Says Don’t Let Them Get You Caught « The Hip Hop Cosign

  10. hmm, interesting comments. it seems like this is a glimpse of the man behind the curtain, and that occasionally, a hint of truth still emanates from Obama’s lips. This quote sounds much more in line with the man who was seeking the presidency than the man who became president.

    just for perspective’s sake, i cant remember Bush ever saying anything as poignant or real.

    and actually, obama wasn’t using Big Media to deliver his message. he was speaking, face-to-face, with college graduates, not in a press conference or white house address. the address happened to be available on big media, but this is an example of a moment of clarity in a smokescreen of illusion. as dave pointed out, the key words here are “empowerment” and “emancipation.” i think we should all think about what that means in this tech-savvy age, and figure out what tools we will use to help us get there.

  11. @Jared – “branding” isn’t evil per se and it has absolutely nothing to do with either Obama’s point or Davey’s point.

    @Tungz- technology isn’t evil per se and even if you believe it is, that has absolutely nothing to do with Obama’s point or Davey’s point.

    A lot of people are missing the point…guess that’s why it’s easier to just be mad than be right. 🙂

    And guess what? I’m not going to explain it to you, because none of you want to listen anyway.

    If you want to go offline and reject technology, then go right ahead. But don’t blame other people for the fact you are lost.

  12. You can get more truth from an ipod than a colorblind emperor. By the way:

    Haiti needs food.
    Haiti needs direct democracy.
    Haiti needs reparations!

  13. “my argument would be that we all need more time offline, less posts, less traffic and more personal political organizing”

    “political organizing” is mostly a mass of chaotic contradictions and diversion away from self actualization and self development at this point.

    The most you can do is tip toe away from the horde of blather mouths and encourage others with an ounce of creative awareness to do so as well. Below is an example of somebody who is democratizing education and has done more online than most politicians, “social activists” and college students do with their entire fucking lives.

  14. Allow me to make it just a little more clear for you, Mr. Davey D.

    If the President is telling you that the media is “a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment”, but yet, he depends primarily on THE MEDIA to deliver his message, then what does that say about his message? Is it a distraction? Is it a diversiion?? Is it a form of entertainment???

    Or is he saying – as it relates to media – that the only messages that “rank high on the truth meter” are the ones that he delivers? Something tells me that you would agree with the latter.

    I’m sure that you see the contradiction in this statement which is probably the reason you felt a need to add the disclaimer “I took from it he was saying….” in order to make sense of the short-sightedness….in your mind at least.

    I mean, do you not see the irony in the fact that you listed several subjects that are inundating the media as we speak (i.e. oil spill, Arizona profiling law, Goldman Sachs issue, Time Square bomb plots, tornados, etc.), calling them distractions as opposed to somene else [Obama] who occupies the media just as much (if not more). Maybe I’m wrong, but doesn’t everything that you know about Obama come from THE MEDIA???

    So, I guess the real question is, how exactly are you picking and choosing your distractions?

    You would think that a president who has been successful at passing legislation that the former president (aka Village Idiot) was hellbent on achieving (i.e. Preventative Detention, FISA bill, bailouts for the rich, offshore drilling, sending additonal troops to the Middle East, etc.) would welcome such distractions.

    But then again, realizing the power of perception as delivered by way of the media that has swooned many into believing that this leader is beyond criticism, your response serves only as a reflection of the media that you are attempting to denounce.

    Love & Gratitude,


  15. Tungz the president was saying..that we are on information overload, so much so that we treat media as a form of entertainment and these devices void of substance will allow us to be caught up in the activity of ‘getting the news’ versus acting upon it.. He could’ve said it better by comparing it to TV and warning us against become couch potatoes..I laid that out in the article..

    second as Jared pointed out Obama can be just as much of a distraction, but that has very little to do what I wrote and what he said..
    He said don’t let him and media be a distraction.. he said act upon the information you get.. It was a call to be active and to think more critically…I for one do not want what I do to be a distraction to you.. I spend lots of time putting information out.. some of it is a call to action after you get the information.. I’m often pushing for change, even in the way we consume media..I am not happy if you are simply soaking things up and not adding to the convo..My bosses from corporate media are not interested in any sort of dialogue.. They have consumer based agenda that they are pushing..

    This means are content was often in alignment with our advertising…Thats the case for most corporate media.. I dodn’t expect Obama to say all that.. Its mine and other journalist jobs to lay that out..

    Bottom line information is a tool…its only as good as the people who use it..

  16. Yo D, I think this type of comentary is very insightful if not ironic. I feel like you really bring up some good points about our information age. It requires us to critacally look at ways to compleletley overhaul our society as a whole. From the things we value to the things we teach our children to how we distribute wealth and power. Everything. I feel as though, like the president said news has become a tool of opression via capitalization, we can still use these outlets for good. We need more trusted names in news such as yourself, and a peoples media.


Let us know what u think..

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s