Obama 2009: "There Are Times I Wish Information Didn't Flow So Freely Then I Wouldn't Have to Listen to People Criticizing Me All the Time"
Obama for America has launched a new website, AttackWatch.com, with a mission to combat online 'smears' where people have the ability to report 'attacks' directed at President Obama's policies. The website contains rebuttals to criticisms directed at the president to help his supporters 'fight back'.
In 2009 while speaking in Shanghai, China, Obama said ideas on the internet should "flow freely' and stated he's a big supporter of "non-censorship", but went on to say he wishes ideas didn't flow so freely because he'd have to listen to people criticize him.
"I'm a big believer in technology and I am a big believer in openness when it comes to the flow of information. I think that the more freely information flows, the stronger the society becomes, because then citizens of countries around the world can hold their own governments accountable. They can begin to think for themselves- that generates new ideas. It encourages creativity and so I've always been a strong supporter of open internet use, I'm a big supporter of non-censorship- this is a big part of the tradition of the United States that I've discussed before, and I recognize that different countries have different traditions. I can tell you that in the United States the fact that we have free internet."
Obama went on to say that he "had to admit' as President of the United States, he wished information didn't flow so freely because of criticism directed towards him.
"Now, I should tell you, I should be honest. As President of the United States there are times where I wish information didn't flow so freely then I wouldn't have to listen to people criticizing me all the time." He went on to say he thinks the openness to criticize makes our democracy stronger and makes him "a better leader" because it forces him to hear opinions he doesn't want to hear.