President Obama has declared war on Twitter fights and hot takes
On Monday night, President Obama was keynote speaker at Syracuse University's Toner Prize for Excellence in Political Reporting.
He began, quite reasonably, by attacking the media for the easy ride that, until recently, they gave to Donald Trump, all in the name of ratings.
According to CNN's trascript of the remarks, he said:
When our elected officials and our political campaigns become entirely untethered from reason and facts and analysis, when it doesn't matter what's true and what's not, that makes it all but impossible for us to make good decisions on behalf of future generations... It threatens the values of respect and tolerance that we teach our children and that are the source of America's strength. It frays the habits of the heart that underpin any civilized society... A job well done is about more than just handing someone a microphone. It's to probe and question and to dig deeper and to demand more... The electorate would be better served if that happened.
Of course CNN couldn't resist a jab of its own:
Obama -- whose own administration has stood accused of hampering journalists' work through secrecy -- said that tough questions and investigative reporting remained an essential element to the U.S. political process, which said was now too grim now to even be described as a "carnival."
The President saved some of his sternest rebukes for the damage done to discourse by the Internet and "hot take" blogging:
"There is enormous pressure on journalists to fill the void and feed the beast with instant commentary, and Twitter rumors, and celebrity gossip and softer stories."
Or, in the case of your humble correspondent, who for a variety of comical reasons suddenly finds himself with a hole to fill on the front page of Pando today, fast turnaround pieces about the President bitching to a roomful of journalists.
Let's hand Obama the microphone, shall we...