Barack Obama commemorated World Press Freedom Day, which is apparently a thing, by releasing a short video on social media that got absolutely destroyed in the comments section for duplicitousness.
“This World Press Freedom Day, take a look at @BarackObama’s remarks at the @ColumbiaJourn Faultlines: Democracy conference, and why the free press is vital for democracy to survive and thrive,” the Obama Foundation tweeted with a short video. Shortly after, the former president quote-tweeted the post with a comment of his own.
“Journalists have always been on the front lines of the struggle for democracy. That’s why we need to keep standing up for the rights of journalists around the world. Grateful that we have @ColumbiaJourn and people like Jelani Cobb taking on this important work,” he said.
If there is no such thing as a coincidence in politics, it’s probably worth pointing out that the same Columbia University referenced by Obama is where his former Secretary of State and failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was recently hired as a professor.
Journalists have always been on the front lines of the struggle for democracy. That’s why we need to keep standing up for the rights of journalists around the world. Grateful that we have @ColumbiaJourn and people like Jelani Cobb taking on this important work. https://t.co/XEPoe17DCG
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) May 3, 2023
As expected, the two-term president got annihilated in the comments section for his clear disdain for truth and transparency.
“Remember when you set the record for denying the most FOIA requests? Or when you tried banning FNC from the press pool? Or when you conducted surveillance on @JamesRosenTV, the NYT’s James Risen, & 20 AP reporters for the crime of reporting accurate information?” wrote Tom Elliott.
“I agree with standing up for free-speech. However, it seems like journalists (those not on Twitter at least) are not held liable, for when they are the perpetuators of things like misinformation and inciting violence with their reporting. There needs to be something in place (obviously they don’t have a community notes there at CNN,FOX,CNBC, etc…….,where they have to answer for that,” wrote another.
At this point, even Elon Musk weighed in, adding “Absolutely” below that comment.
“But this ends at Tucker, right? He’s different, right?” asked another Twitter user. Btw, how’s your ocean front property? I mean, after convincing Americans, the sea-level is rising, and to make it stop, they need to pay more taxes, or else,” they added.
“Julian Assange is a Hero and Patriot,” commented yet another person.
“I think the word you meant to use was propagandists,” wrote someone else.
Watching the video, or reading a partial transcription below, makes it obvious why so many reasonable voices blasted the short speech.
“But increasingly, it feels like we’re at an inflection point, with rising inequality, deepening polarization, and widespread disinformation. At the same time, we’re also trying to adapt to advancements in technology like AI that could profoundly change our world. If we want to preserve our democratic ideals, we need to face these trends head on, and we need all of you to help us do it. Journalists have always been on the front lines of the struggle for democracy. And some of you have the scars to prove it,” Obama says at one point in the video.
“And that’s why it’s so important to find creative ways to reinvigorate quality journalism. It’s why we need to keep standing up for the rights of journalists around the world, many who are facing increasing threats and challenges just trying to do their jobs,” he adds.
“So what does all this mean for us, as a private citizen, although one that can still get a fair amount of attention, I plan to keep shining a light on the biggest challenges that democracy faces. That includes revitalizing our political institutions, coming up with more inclusive and sustainable models of capitalism and creating a stronger democratic culture. But it also means creating an information environment that reinforces rather than erodes our democracy. One in which truth matters, one in which we are able to distinguish between fact and opinion, one in which we’re able to tell a common story, and not just a bunch of separate stories that reinforce our biases, and our prejudices.”
“I want to challenge all of you to think about how you can make a difference both individually and collectively to the cause, not of any particular politics or political party, but to the cause of facts, and accuracy, and truth, and credibility.”
“There are going to be moments in which it feels like the only way to get attention is to try to engage in the sort of opinion journalism that gets people angry and riled up and resentful, or just creates controversy and gets attention and hot takes and clickbait.”
“The problem is, if if that’s all we’re doing, then it’s going to be harder and harder for us to determine and distinguish between truth and fiction. It’s going to be harder for us to be able to have reasonable debates in the marketplace of ideas. It’s going to be a lot easier for those who want to polarize us and break us apart. And it’s going to be more difficult for us to self govern,” he continues.
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