President Obama Does Reddit AMA; Gives Weak Politician's Answer About Internet Freedom

from the that's-not-how-you-do-it dept

The ritualistic “Reddit AMA” has become an important right of passage for lots of interesting people (both famous and not-so-famous). But, there’s a pretty clear set of guidelines for how to do one right — and the first step is to sound like you’re a human. That’s often difficult for the rich and famous — and it’s doubly true of politicians. Rep. Jared Polis, for example, did a great Reddit AMA. Today, of course, the big news is that President Obama is doing a Reddit AMA — obviously, the first time that a sitting President (or any US President, I would imagine) has done one. The site has had trouble staying up, but one of the first questions that President Obama chose to answer was about internet freedom, asking “Is Internet Freedom an issue you’d push to add to the Democratic Party’s 2012 platform?” The President’s answer was quite… political.

Internet freedom is something I know you all care passionately about; I do too. We will fight hard to make sure that the internet remains the open forum for everybody – from those who are expressing an idea to those to want to start a business. And although there will be occasional disagreements on the details of various legislative proposals, I won’t stray from that principle – and it will be reflected in the platform.

And while there was originally a there/their typo in the comment (which has since been fixed), the problem with this statement is that it doesn’t seem “human.” It’s a politician’s answer, rather than any real commitment. This isn’t a surprise, it’s just a disappointment. This was a chance to show a real commitment to internet freedom, but instead the answer comes across as wishy-washy. Seems like a missed opportunity.

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Comments on “President Obama Does Reddit AMA; Gives Weak Politician's Answer About Internet Freedom”

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Jeff (profile) says:


…will say anything to get elected. They pander to whomever will give them the most votes – and in this highly polarized environment, they don’t cant risk offending anybody (their big donors); therefore to be as inoffensive as possible, they give inoffensive statements and avoid taking a stand on anything. They have no spine, no mind, and no soul (they sold it to get elected). Maybe I’m a little pissed, but I hold *all* politicians in extreme contempt.

Beech says:

So far, all I’ve seen is the same political speak. There’s only one or two statements I’ve seen that seem like an actual answer.

At least he acknowledged that all the money going into politics is non-ideal. Too bad it seems like he doesn’t want to go anywhere near far enough (probably because he wants all those contribution checks, as do all his buds in congress)

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Almost as bad as Woody Harrelson’s.

Well I answered 10 questions, now everyone wants to know why I won’t decriminalize/legalize weed, want clarifications on why the NSA is being allowed to spy on people/ why I don’t do an executive order and legalize gay marriage, I’m Out. Thanks for you time – NOT BAD!

Wally (profile) says:

So now we have two main “choices” for president:

1. Elect Obamma and continue the bullshit and wishiwashiness of his administration we know now as not caring one micron about Internet freedom and net nuetrality.

2. Elect Romney and we have the same exact thing with the added “bonus” of “pornography” filters forced to be put on all new computers.

ld says:

Re: Re:

Except that there is zero chance of getting “pornography filters” or any other such narrowly focused attempts at violating freedom of speech through Congress, let alone past the Supreme Court. Congress only passes hugely vague and sweeping legislation, they might censor the whole web through some lame and vague national security legislation but they’re not going to target single things with clear cut rules that they can’t dodge at election time. Why do you think Obama had to guilt, belittle, and corner them publicly into doing even the lame health care legislation they did? They knew it would cost them votes or election cash or both, and it clearly did.

Wally (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Both campaigns are backed by the very people trying to repress net nuetrality and our Internet freedoms….think about it for a moment.

Now maybe you haven’t figured it out but unused the quotation marks in my punctuation for a reason. I meant ” ‘Pornography’ filters” because I know from personal experience what the default settings were. They filter out medical diagrams where one wouldn’t even know how they could think a teenager could masterbate too…unless they were just that desperate.

The point I have is we’re doomed no matter whom we vote for.

You’re just mad because I called out Obama.

quawonk says:

Re: Re: Re:

“Except that there is zero chance of getting “pornography filters” or any other such narrowly focused attempts at violating freedom of speech through Congress, let alone past the Supreme Court.”

1. You have too much faith in the system.

2. They would probably just get computer companies, Microsoft, Apple, Gateway, Dell, etc. (not sure if it’s hardware or software based) to install the filters. That way the government isn’t doing the censoring, it’s someone else and so the government isn’t doing anything wrong…

It’s the way they weaseled around the First Amendment by appointing the FCC to censor TV and radio. They don’t like the constitution one bit and so they come up with creative ways to get around it.

If they respected it, they wouldn’t appoint or allow anyone to censor and would tell these busybodies to change the channel or turn off the TV, or the porno site, etc.

Let’s not kid ourselves. The moral majority (mostly old people) would be in favor of banning porn. They’ve always been in favor of censorship.

letherial (profile) says:

one party wants to open it up so the *aa can look and make sure those terrorist pirates are not downloading the latest stupid Hollywood movie or forced down your throat song; the other wants to open it up for corporate control minus the porn, errr and anything else unchristian.

Neither choice is very good, but i suppose the lesser of two evils is obama, i can always VPN my way around recording industry, wont be able to do much once my ISP decides i dont pay enough to have access to 90% of the internet.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

I’m voting for Romney, if only so that future presidents won’t think they can sell out the country to special interests, throw anyone they dislike in jail without a warrant or trial (or just have them assassinated by a drone), and then get reelected despite all they’ve done.

We’re all doomed either way, might as well lash out at the guy who screwed us over.

LDoBe (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

might as well lash out at the guy who screwed us over.

Then you probably should be lashing out at George W. Bush….
During his presidency we got:
-The “war on terror” (how do you win a shooting war on a concept?)
-National Security Letters
-The Patriot Act
-Set up Guantanamo
-Deregulated the financial industry, leading to the worst recession ever. A recession so bad that Obama can’t do anything about it with the limited power of the presidency.

abc gum says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“won’t think they can sell out the country to special interests, throw anyone they dislike in jail without a warrant or trial (or just have them assassinated by a drone), and then get reelected despite all they’ve done.”

I’m absolutely positive your chosen representative will adopt the above as a mandate simply because of your vote. This will obviously result in the elimination of these transgressions in the future regardless of candidate.

Anonymous Coward says:

funny, pirate mike claims to support internet freedom, but allows people to “report” and hide comments from others who don’t like what the person said

grow a pair mike, live up to what you claim, remove the report function,let all comments be seen

I got it, I can “unhide” the comment, but if you actually valued the internet freedom drum you bang, you wouldnt let others hide comments they didnt agree with, you would let all view points be shown

but of course you won’t remove it, you don’t like to take your own medicine, you just like to shove it down other peoples throats

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

It’s effectively censoring.

Masnick has been making the “view this comment” text lighter and lighter over the past few months to where it’s basically invisible.

He’s a blatant hypocrite that has lost whatever small influence he once had. His only purpose now is to preach to the freetard choir.

It must suck for him to know his moment has passed.

JTP says:

Re: Re: Re:

“Masnick has been making the “view this comment” text lighter and lighter over the past few months to where it’s basically invisible.”

Looks the same to me as when I started reading in Nov/Dec, and inspecting the element gives the color label “pink” (the color of text in the body, by comparison, is “#333”).
And “censoring”? It’s practically a highlighter for retarded posts. Hell, everyone here can see it gives you the attention you so desperately crave. I don’t know what kind of prescription they gave you, but I suggest changing eye doctors ASAP.

mewofforcena says:

Redditards still haven’t grasped the fact that Reddit AMAs are no better than press releases, interviews, and the sort. Just because it’s another medium doesn’t make it a beacon of freedom and democracy.
Just one small PR stunt was enough to cause the world to get its collective panties in a twist and flock to a website to watch a politician do an online interview. How many of you were that hyped when Obama was talking on TV or on a newspaper?

lucidrenegade (profile) says:


I like Obama, in that buddy I’d have a beer with kinda way. As a President, not so much. As with pretty much all politicians, he’s “owned” by too many special interests. He’s also fallen for the scare tactics of departments like the NSA and Homeland Security.

I believe Dubya’s problem was similar. He put too much stock in what Cheney was telling him, instead of thinking for himself. IMO, Cheney is one of the most evil people to ever walk this earth. He was just better at hiding in the shadows.

Wally (profile) says:

Re: Obama

Biden is worse and you have to admit that aside from shooting a court justice in the ass with a shotgun, Cenney had a brain.

So my question is to you (and I mean no offense), would you rather spend time with Obama, who in person and in press is a huge asshole (We can’t just go in there and say like they want “DRILL BABAY DRILL BABY DRILL BABY DRILL!!!!!”) ?

Or would you rather hang out with a calm, collective, nice person who would be completely upset if congress tried to pull a fast one on him and is humble in the eyes of the press?

You can tell how a president is in real life by how he gives or writes a speech. I would rather hang out with Bush Jr. because he doesn’t try to be your pal. Obama seems to be the guy who tries so hard to gain your friendship he’d do anything you told him.

That’s just me though 🙂

Anonymous Coward says:

Sorry for being off topic, but one way the mainstream media can favor one candidate over another is by asking favored candidates questions within their area of expertise and asking unfavored candidates questions outside of their area of expertise. For instance, if a favored candidate is a law graduate ask them very difficult law questions and that candidate will look smart because s/he knows a lot about law. Avoid asking questions about the economy.

If an unfavored candidate is an economics graduate ask them about something completely unrelated, like foreign war policy or something. The economics candidate very well might be a better candidate than the law candidate, being more well rounded and knowledgeable about relevant topics, but because they were specifically and intentionally asked about things they know least about the media can easily make them look much more foolish.

As voters, this is something we need to be aware of. No candidate knows nearly everything and it’s very easy for the media to use this fact against those they don’t like.

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