Clinton's Ban On Social Network Reporting Regressive
There is something all too ironic about former president Bill Clinton’s announcement this week. According to the LA Times, he has called for a ban on live reporting during his keynote speech at a tech conference next month. That means absolutely no Twitter, Facebook, or Blogging updates.
Considering that Clinton ran our country during a time when the commercial Internet exponentially grew, you would think the former president would be more receptive of social media. He was in office at a time when America exploded with technological innovation.
Against all logic though, Clinton has chosen to keep the web away from his speech. A public relations firm for the San Francisco Dreamforce Cloud Computing conference has issued the following mandate:
"PLEASE NOTE: President Clinton's representatives have mandated that there be absolutely no reporting during his session. That includes live blogging, Tweeting, Facebook posting or use of any other social media. We understand the inconvenience this may present, but greatly appreciate your compliance. Thank you."
There are too many things wrong with such a demand. The most obvious being that we live in a society in which social media is taking over and has fundamentally changed the way we interact with each other. No matter what criticism one might have with the impersonal, artificial quality of a tweet or a Facebook status, the reality is such platforms for discussion not only exist but also are widely accessed in the modern day.
The first amendment of our constitution gives citizens the right to speak their mind. It is disheartening to see that a modern president would deny his audience the freedom of press.
Aside from the fact that this “ban” on live updates violates what is at the heart of our democracy, this whole scenario is odd. Clinton just filmed a cameo in The Hangover 2. Just like Sarah Palin, who is starring in her new TLC television show, recent events make it seem as though Clinton knows what it means to keep up with the times and make himself applicable to younger audiences. If he adheres to popular culture when it comes to the film industry, wouldn’t you think he would understand the value of something so decidedly modern as online networking?
What’s even more strange is that the very speech he won’t let people report on deals with technical issues. According to the annual conference’s website, Dreamforce’s mission is to bring together “all the leaders in cloud computing to collaborate, connect, and inspire…[with] the people, tools, and knowledge” to position companies for greater success. That said, the former president’s keynote address will likely be related in some way or another to technological innovation.
But there’s nothing innovative about Clinton's decision. In fact—if anything—it’s regressive. It’s hard to imagine a request more out of touch with what is happening in the world today.
I think Clinton will have a difficult time inspiring a crowd of innovators at the conference if he himself cannot embrace contemporary technology and reporting. Even more, this whole ban on live reporting of his speech does so much as to put his integrity into question. Is he just opposed to transparency with the public on the Internet or does he perhaps have something to hide?
Reach Reporter Jenna Kovalsky here.