Well, Obama, the former president whose incompetence as an executive is outweighed only by Biden’s, is back, as we saw when he drew all the attention at an event where both he and Biden appeared. What does he want now that he’s back? To control online speech, apparently.
He said as much in a recent event with Atlantic editor Jeffrey Goldberg, saying that the government needs to “grapple” with the crazy people on the internet. Perhaps he needs to “grapple” with the First Amendment.
If you for some reason choose to watch the above interview, you’ll hear him say at one point that “I do think that there is a demand for crazy on the internet that we have to grapple with.”
He also, at one point, claims that there is “a systematic effort to either promote false information, to suppress true information, for the purpose of political gain, financial gain, enhancing power, suppressing others, targeting those you don’t like.” One might counter that it’s Big Tech that’s doing all that, not the “crazy” people he’s likely referring do.
The Hill, reporting on what else he said during the event, notes that:
The former president said that once the smartphone came into play starting in 2010, there was “an erosion of accountability norms and standards in political life.”
[…]Obama said we need “a combination of regulatory measures and industry norms” to push social media companies to deal with misinformation.
In other words, because there are people with whom he disagrees on the internet, he thinks that the government needs to step in and regulate it to shut them up. Of course he does.
The main example he stuck to was people not thinking that Biden won the election. Speaking on that and the vaccine issue, Breitbart reports:
“Roughly 40 percent of the country appears convinced that the current president was elected fraudulently and that the election was rigged” he claimed, with about 30-35 percent rejecting vaccines for coronavirus which he called a “medical miracle” that had been clinically tested by a billion people.
This was hardly the first time that Obama has freaked out about speech on the internet. He also did so back in November of 2020, that time also with The Atlantic‘s Goldberg. At that time he claimed that it was the biggest threat to democracy.
He started that by saying “Now you have a situation in which large swaths of the country genuinely believe that the Democratic Party is a front for a pedophile ring…I was talking to a volunteer who was going door-to-door in Philadelphia in low-income African American communities, and was getting questions about QAnon conspiracy theories.”
Then, when asked by Goldberg “Is this new malevolent information architecture bending the moral arc away from justice?“, he replied by saying “I think it is the single biggest threat to our democracy.”
There is no “our democracy” because America is a republic, not a democracy. Regardless, even if there were, the real threat to it would be those who seek to attack our sacred rights, particularly the First Amendment. I wonder who might be doing that…