Former President Barack Obama has recently revealed that the divided media is the thing that keeps him up at night. In an interview with “CBS Mornings” co-host Nate Burleson, Obama discussed the splintered media and how it translates to a divided America.
“The thing that I’m most worried about is the degree to which we now have a divided conversation, in part because we have a divided media, a splintered media,” Obama said.
CBS's Nate Burleson: "Post-presidency, what...keeps you up at night?"
Barack Obama: "The thing...I'm most worried about is...a divided conversation in part b/c we have a divided media...When I was growing up, you had three TV stations...We almost occupy different realities." pic.twitter.com/KrNWHjSgap
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) May 16, 2023
Obama went on to criticize the 24-hour news cycle, saying that it has caused people to no longer agree on a common set of facts. He lamented that people now “occupy different realities” and can easily disagree on a given situation.
“Now people will say, ‘Well, that didn’t happen,’ or, ‘I don’t believe that,’ or, ‘I don’t care about the science,’ or, ‘I’m not concerned about these experts, you know, cause they’re just all liberals’ or, you know, ‘That’s just conservative propaganda,'” he said.
Obama then said that one of his goals with the Obama Foundation was to explore ways to bring the conversation back to where people could at least agree on a common set of facts as a jumping-off point.
The former president also addressed the topics of gun violence and mass shootings — and he argued that the gun control argument had become more political than necessary. He said that the issue had become a “proxy for arguments about our culture wars” and that it had become more about identity and emotion than about keeping children safe.
This is not the first time that the former president has spoken out about the media. In an interview with the BBC in 2018, he criticized the rise of “hyper-partisan” media outlets and said that they were “not healthy for our democracy.” He also said that the media should be more responsible in how they present information.
While Obama has a point about the splintered media and the lack of agreement on what facts are, it is also important to remember that the media is a reflection of the public. If the public is divided, then it stands to reason that the media will be divided as well. It is up to the public to come together and work towards a common understanding of the facts.