Obama bemoans information onslaught on US democracy

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Hampton (Virgina, US), May 12 (ANI): US President Barack Obama has used a commencement speech over the weekend at the University of Virginia to bemoan the onslaught of information in the digital age and has suggested that the gusher of news out there may not be much of a good thing.

Speaking at Hampton University in Virginia, Fox News quoted Obama as saying that "information becomes a distraction, a diversion" that is putting "pressure on our country and on our democracy."

He suggested less is more when it comes to absorbing news content and urged graduates to take a skeptical eye toward news from blogs, cable television and radio as well as modern gadgets like iPods and PlayStations.

The class of 2010 is "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," Obama said, while earning an honorary doctorate of laws degree during the ceremony.

"And with iPods and iPads; and Xboxes and PlayStations-none of which I know how to work -- (laughter) -- 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," he added.

Experts, however, said they were surprised by Obama's comments, especially when it is a well-known fact that the commander-in-chief is very fond of technology and possesses the skill to use it to his political advantage.

"Nobody (has) used the media more masterfully. Now, he turns against certain elements of it because he doesn't need them anymore, he thinks," said Brent Bozell, president of the conservative Media Research Center.

Obama has endured some nasty rumors at the hands of the Internet. Blogs and comment pages continue to allege that the president has not been honest about his place of birth-Hawaii -- or about his religion-Christianity.

The White House has assiduously rebutted and marginalized those whisper campaigns.

Targeting cable, radio and blogs has become somewhat of a political sport of the Obama administration.

The president in February singled out CNN, Fox News, MSNBC and blogs for giving a less than creditable view of his landmark health care bill.

Last September, the president also used a string of major network and cable interviews to scold the media for playing up "outrageous" political comments.

Another odd moment came in March, when an e-mail sent to Senate staffers warned them not to visit The Drudge Report out of concern for a virus. (ANI)

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