Reporter's Note: All indications are that President Obama was a decent student in his undergraduate years, and better than decent in law school. I was a pretty good student too, but not “going to be President one day” good. More like “going to write lots of meaningless letters to the president one day” good. But maybe that’s good enough.
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Tom Foreman | BIO
Dear Mr. President,
I had a really interesting conversation with some college students the other day. Graduate students at Georgetown. I was teaching a class for a friend who had to be away, so I stepped up to play pretend professor, and I’m awfully glad I did. I mean, I would have been happy enough for the chance to wear my tweed jacket with patches on the elbows, but I wound up with a real bonus.
We ended up having a very pleasant conversation about the state of media and politics these days. And in the midst of it, one of them said something that I found intriguing. I asked where they get their news these days, and as you might expect, most said “from the Internet.” Then I said, which websites? A couple of them immediately named a well-known, liberal-leaning site. Then a woman and I had this exchange, (and sorry, I’m paraphrasing very roughly…perhaps the students would give you a different interpretation of what was said, but if they want to, let them write their own letters!)
“Why do you like that site?” I asked.
“Because I agree with it. It tells me I am right.”
“Are you always right?”
“Then why would you want someone to tell you that you are?”
In a nutshell, that’s what concerns me most about the shift from old mainstream media to new media sources like blogs. Sure, those of us in the MSM have made mistakes over the years, we’re not always the most innovative in our thinking, and I’m sure some folks could give you’re a list of grievances against us that would stretch down to the Potomac.
But the alternative that some people choose, I think, is much worse. They are opting to crawl into comfortable little media caves packed only with others who share the same beliefs. They willingly isolate themselves from ideas that might contradict their concepts of the world, and this is being done by liberals, conservatives, and even middle-of-the-roaders to an extent. And in the process, they are cutting themselves off from a whole world of other thoughts which might prove useful to them, if only they would open their minds to them.
Anyway, I have plenty of respect for the folks I was talking with because they were honest and open about their views and their choices. But I did give them some advice which I also offer to you, just in case it might be helpful: While it is fine to share time and company with people who also share your views, it is a good thing to seek out those with whom you disagree as well. After all, the person who simply tells you that you are right does nothing to strengthen your views. But the person who challenges you, and forces you to defend your position? That person makes you find logic in your views, or he makes you reconsider them. Either way, that’s learning…and we can all use more of that no matter our age.
Call if you can. On the road a bit this weekend, but always happy to hear from you. Or, I guess I will be if you ever call.
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