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Former President Barack Obama appeared on the inaugural episode of David Letterman's Netflix show, My Next Guest Needs No Introduction, in his first talk show appearance since leaving office. Among the topics they discussed were challenges to American democracy—particularly, Russia meddling in the 2016 election, and the role social media plays in politics.
In 2016, the U.S. government announced it firmly believed Russia was interfering with the presidential vote by hacking into the Democratic National Committee and other Democrat political organizations. Interestingly/disappointingly, during the Letterman interview, Obama never once mentioned President Donald Trump by name.
"One of the biggest challenges we have to our democracy is the degree to which we don’t share a common baseline of facts," Obama told Letterman. "What the Russians exploited, but it was already here, is we are operating in completely different information universes. If you watch Fox News, you are living on a different planet than you are if you listen to NPR."
He added, "I think what we missed was the degree to which people who are in power ... can in fact manipulate that and propagandize."
There is truth to what Obama says, that we live in our own internet bubbles. But if we're pointing fingers at people who've benefited from manipulation and propaganda on social media—specifically Twitter—and have furthered our political polarization, we don't have to look very far.