The PJ Tatler

The President's phony Twitter Town Hall

Is there anything more inherently phony than a Twitter Town Hall like the one Obama is giving currently? Talk about thought control. The whole concept is built for manufacturing “softballs.” Perhaps inadvertently, the NYT’s “Media Coder” gives the game away:

Steven Norton, 21, editor of The Daily Tar Heel at the University of North Carolina, said he has been focused on trying to get questions from people living in the South and from college students who are wondering about job prospects after graduation.

“The questions that I hope will reach the president will be a lot about job trends, what jobs will be available for seniors coming out of college and what initiatives are being taken to provide job opportunities,” he said.

In other words, line ’em up and let the Commander-in-Chief bat ’em out of the park – or whack them with his two wood, which is probably more appropriate. At least in a real press conference there’s a chance for some contention. This is a stunt, designed to promote two things – the president and Twitter.

It’s important to remember that Twitter is just one of many means of communication, fraught with uses and misuses. When the demonstrators took to the streets of Iran, it was a revelation. (Interestingly, Obama paid little attention to that.) For genuine press conferences, it’s little more than a propaganda medium.