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Former President Barack Obama angered conservatives with his speech against the dangers of “disinformation” at Stanford University on Thursday.
The 44th president, who recently announced that his Obama Foundation would be “working to empower and equip emerging leaders to tackle issues like the spread of disinformation,” spoke on the subject at the prestigious university, blasting social and traditional media for spreading fake news.
Prominent conservatives couldn’t stand the irony and clapped back at the former world leader, accusing him of promoting the “Russia-Trump collusion hoax,” and reminding him that he won Politifact’s “Lie of the Year” in 2013.
During the speech, Obama declared, “All we see is a constant feed of content where useful factual information and happy diversions, and cat videos flow alongside lies, conspiracy theories, junk science, quackery, White supremacist, racist tracts, misogynist screeds.”
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He also slammed disinformation spread by former President Donald Trump even put Russian President Vladmir Putin and former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon together as people trying to attack democracy.
“People like Putin and Steve Bannon, for that matter, understand it’s not necessary for people to believe this information in order to weaken democratic institutions,” Obama said, adding, “You just have to flood a country’s public square with enough raw sewage. You just have to raise enough questions, spread enough dirt, plant enough conspiracy theorizing that citizens no longer know what to believe.”
National Review senior writer Michael Brendan Dougherty wrote a scathing piece about the speech for his outlet and said, “Like so many other progressives, what Obama seeks to restore is the near-monopoly liberals once had on the information space.”
Daily Wire reporter Ryan Saavedra torched Obama’s speech, tweeting out a screenshot of the Politifact article that awarded the former president with the “Lie of The Year” and noting, “Obama is quite the expert in ‘disinformation.’”
Conservative author Max Abrahms responded to the news about Obama’s Stanford speech, tweeting, “Someone should tell Obama that if you promoted the Russia-Trump collusion hoax and all the component parts that have been revealed as empirically baseless then you’re not actually opposed to disinformation.”
The Federalist editor-in-chief Mollie Hemingway replied to Obama announcing the speech by asking, “Would you be apologizing for your role in the biggest disinformation campaign the country has ever seen? The Russia collusion hoax that you helped perpetrate?”
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RealClearInvestigations deputy editor Benjamin Weingarten slammed Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s comments on fighting “disinformation,” tweeting, “When Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton et al. are talking about combatting ‘disinformation,’ you can bet a new onslaught on the First Amendment is coming.”
Conservative author Jay Cost responded to an article about the speech headlined “Obama points finger at tech companies for disinformation in major speech,” tweeting, “Remember when he was president? He pointed lots and lots of fingers. Lots and lots. I regret we were such disappointments to him.”
Conservative commentator and Podcast host Noam Blum tweeted about the same article, “I mean he’s the godfather of blaming websites for his own international screwups so sure, why not?”
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And Newsbusters executive editor Tim Graham pointed out an extra bit of irony found underlying Obama’s speech, tweeting, “Anyone notice that Obama was introduced to speak on disinformation at Stanford by Michael McFaul — the guy who just stepped in it by saying Hitler didn’t kill ‘ethnic Germans’ on MSNBC?”