Obama Scolds the Press: You Should Care More About Deep Reporting Than Retweets


President Obama last night delivered a major address on the state of journalism in the United States, expressing certain frustrations with the way the 2016 campaign has been covered.

He started out by lamenting how apparently “facts don’t matter” in the campaign now as well as the “hostility” that certain candidates have pushed into the race. (No, he didn’t mention Donald Trump by name.)

Obama, in full media critic mode, said 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.”

He argued that more news organizations need to give more attention to issues of substance as opposed to just what’s “flashy” in the moment:

“10, 20, 50 years from now, no one seeking to understand our age is going to be searching the Tweets that got the most retweets, or the post that got the most likes. They’ll look for the kind of reporting, the smartest investigative journalism that told our story and lifted up the contradictions in our societies, and asked the hard questions and forced people to see the truth even when it was uncomfortable.”

There is another section here particularly worth highlighting:

“You are supposed to push those in power for more evidence and more access. You’re supposed to challenge our assumptions. Sometimes I will find this frustrating. Sometimes I may not be able to share with you all of the context of decisions that I make.”

That last sentence is an understatement, as according to a report earlier this month, the Obama administration set a record for unfulfilled FOIA requests in 2015.

You can watch the president’s full speech above.

[image via screengrab]

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Josh Feldman is a Senior Editor at Mediaite. Email him here: josh@mediaite.com Follow him on Twitter: @feldmaniac