Blogs Are Misleading and Simplistic?

(11 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

Web-savvy Obama ‘rarely’ reads blogs, says they’re misleading

Jeremy Gantz, RawStory, Sunday March 8, 2009

Although he owes his current job in part to the Internet’s unique networking and communications tools – and his campaign’s unprecedented ability to raise money online – President Obama “rarely” reads blogs because he considers some of them misleading and simplistic.

The comment, made during a wide-ranging New York Times interview aboard Air Force One, may surprise those who follow’s own blog or those who followed his transition team’s blog.

Asked about his news consumption habits at the end of the interview, during which he acknowledged that the United States is not winning the war in Afghanistan, Obama said he “rarely reads blogs,” but reads newspapers – in their paper form – and weekly news magazines.

“[P]art of the reason we don’t spend a lot of time looking at blogs is because if you haven’t looked at it very carefully then you may be under the impression that somehow there’s a clean answer one way or another – well, you just nationalize all the banks, or you just leave them alone and they’ll be fine, or this or that or the other,” Obama said. “The truth is this is a very complex set of problems and bad decisions can result in huge taxpayer expenditures and poor results.”

Although bloggers at prominent progressive websites such as Daily Kos and Talking Points Memo are likely annoyed by his remarks, Obama may have a good excuse as to why he isn’t keeping tabs on their posts: He’s busy reading government briefings.

A full transcript of the interview can be found here.

Despite the Obama campaign’s web-savvy skills, – which also has its own YouTube channel – has run into a few snags since January’s inauguration. The website “has been overwhelmed by challenges that staffers did not foresee and technological problems they have yet to solve,” the Washington Post reported Monday. Obama would like to send out mass updates via email and text messages, but the White House does not have the technology in place to do so, according to the newspaper.

Since his election in November, it’s become a near cliche to note that Obama has harnessed the Internet to speak directly to Americans just as Franklin D. Roosevelt used radio and John F. Kennedy utilized television. Clearly, Obama – famously addicted to his web-enabled BlackBerry – has used and will continue to use the Internet to reach an increasingly wired nation.

What’s less clear, however, is how the Internet is influencing Obama’s governing decisions. If his lack of respect for blogs is any indication, the president’s use of the Internet would appear to be more about transmitting his own messages than receiving others’. He may have been the first president to ask an online reporter a question when he called on the Huffington Post’s Sam Stein in early February, but that doesn’t mean he’s visiting the web-only news and opinion site to read what Stein wrote.


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    • Edger on March 9, 2009 at 12:08 am

    that “government briefings” are chock full of daily pressuring to investigate and prosecute previous government war criminals, and not CYA and self interest oriented, I suppose. And they are probably much more interesting than what the citizens of the country want. :-/

    • Alma on March 9, 2009 at 12:29 am

    I can understand that they can be misleading.  If you don’t know how to check out things for yourself, but simplistic?  Give me a break.  We can give him a whole breakdown of how to do things.

  1. And so are the titles of some blog posts.  Like Gantz’s for example.

    When he leaves out the word “some”, and states that Obama rarely reads blogs because “they’re misleading”, it conveys that Obama considers all blogs misleading.  That’s not what Obama said, he said SOME blogs are misleading and simplistic.

    Gantz’s own title on Raw Story makes Obama’s point, it’s misleading and simplistic.      


    • Diane G on March 9, 2009 at 11:19 am

    of noise to signal on blogs… (and I can think of more than a few who fit that bill of irrelevant babble. DD is not one of those, it is one of the best)

    But there is a cornucopia of information and analysis too.

    I would presume the POTUS can’t come out and say he is letting bloggers be his guide, just for the wrath and discrediting effect it would have on the centrists he needs to enact anything.

    But I sure as hell hope that his staffers do follow many, and update him with the mood of the people.

  2. Starting to be a clearer picture all the time:

        state secrets-following bush lead

        habeas corpus-following bush lead

        fisa bill-following bush lead

        larger army-following bush lead

        surge in Afghanistan-following bush lead

        Iraqi pull out-following bush lead

        taxing the richies-following bush lead

        torture-following bush lead

        rendition-following bush lead

        sucking up to the elite-following bush lead

    So far he,      Sucks. Big. Time.

    Lots of flowery words, No action to support the words.

    Politics will not supply the answer we have all been looking for. We should question the direction of our questioning.

    • rb137 on March 9, 2009 at 4:39 pm

    It’s unfortunate that he called blogs simplistic. What I suspect that he means is that it’s hard to correct for bias in the blogosphere — unlike places like the NYTimes or Newsweek, which have a fairly consistent bias. Blog posts are short, and as a result contain bias (given by what the writer chose to include and omit to keep down the length), and the bias drifts from week to week.

  3. … Obama reads the blogs, there’s no question he will have to answer to the citizens of this country.

    The blogs are directed more to inform and educate each other than to curry favor with the powers that be.

    If we can help achieve an informed and active citizenry, then Obama, as well as our other reps, will have to deal with that whether they wish to acknowledge the blogs’ influence or not.  Frankly, I don’t care if they do.  I don’t blog for their approval.

  4. Afghanistan’s quagmire, without a definite exit plan.  It’s also probably why he’s expecting the same criminally incompetent people that didn’t see the economic crisis coming, and/or who actually caused the economic crisis to now help solve it.  Because he’s only listening to their input and the world view via cable “news”.

    Time to keep holding his feet to the fire about these huge errors in judgment and lack of insight. Sigh…  

  5. He gets top secret shit every single day so why he needs “news” from the what is it now 2 corporations whose sole purpose is to shill for corporatizing corporate assholianism even farther?

    The very concept that we could possibly have any influence at all?  That is why “communication” is always one way.

    Obama’s corporate masters have told him what to do and left him to the the marketing agent.

    What to they say in the veils large numbers of unelightened people.

  6. that are and as far as I can see always have been the front men for power both private and political, read the blogs.  They need to know what lies in wait from the rabble rousing  end of the political spectrum. He did not call on Sam Stein by accident. HuffPo is pretty mainstream, even tabloid in someways.  

    If the blogs get to the point of being insider megaphones like the corporate media were finished. Web-only news does not exist yet. We are still reactionary to the corporate news. Playing down the blogs from the corporate media is the norm.  However that looks to be changing as the ‘news’ traditional is going broke and the TV has no cred.  

    I knew that the Obama campaign read the blogs as my precinct captain would ask each day how the candidate wars were going. She also asked that I not quote her on-line as that was a no, no.  They all use it to get their messages out and raise money and organize support. The mistake is to think we own them, they are owned by the political and corporate apparatus in place. Howard Dean is right when he says sometimes you can be more effective outside the political system.    


  7. Didn’t he get a ridiculous reception when he posted something at Daily Kos?  I can’t find a link, but remember hearing something about it, the worst of blog type of behaviour, etc.  

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