Obama Calls for ‘Truthiness Tests’ for Media Companies

AP/Carolyn Kaster

President Barack Obama floated the notion of a test for media organizations, griping about the wide-spread existence of alternative media available in America.

He was critical of the current Wild West online environment where people could say anything on social media or on news websites.

“We are going to have to rebuild within this wild-wild-west-of-information flow some sort of curating function that people agree to,” he said.

Throughout his presidency, Obama has repeatedly complained about the existence of Fox News and Rush Limbaugh, causing division amongst Americans and making his job difficult, but he rarely offers a solution.

This time, Obama floated the notion of a media test during at a speech at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh on Thursday.

“There has to be, I think, some sort of way in which we can sort through information that passes some basic truthiness tests and those that we have to discard because they just don’t have any basis in anything that’s actually happening in the world,” he said.

He quickly clarified that he was not referring to censorship, but hinted that there should be a safe place online for news and information.

“It’s creating places where people can say, ‘This is reliable and I’m still able to argue about — safely — about facts and what we should do about it while still… not just making stuff up,” he said.

Obama’s interest in regulating the internet is not new, however.

During a press conference in China, Obama called for an international agreement to regulate the internet to avoid starting a cyberspace arms race.

“What we cannot do is have a situation in which suddenly this becomes the Wild, Wild West,” he explained in September.


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