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At a news conference in Berlin today, CBS’s Margaret Brennan asked Pres. Obama if he would send a message to those protesting Donald Trump‘s election, as well as the “worrisome trends” about his staff picks. “I wouldn’t advise them to be silent,” he said, adding, “What I would advise is …do not take for granted our systems of government and our way of life.”
Then, in what amounted to a 7-minute answer (which he acknowledged was “long”) Obama took on the hot button issue of fake news: “If we are not serious about facts and what’s true and what’s not. And particularly in an age of social media where so many people are getting their information in sound bites and snippets off their phones, if we can’t discriminate between serious arguments and propaganda, then we have problems. Then democracy will break down.”
“In an age where there’s so much active misinformation,” Obama continued, “And it’s packaged very well and it looks the same when you see it on a Facebook page or you turn on your television, where some overzealousness on the part of a U.S. official is equated with constant and severe repression elsewhere, if everything seems to be the same and no distinctions are made, then we won’t know what to protect. We won’t know what to fight for.”