Was President Obama in Chicago on Saturday? Dunno, Don’t Think So

There was some fun made by Michael Miner (a complete hero of mine) about a thread of thought that I initiated at the Chicago Future of Media Conference on Saturday. Here's the basics:

  • I noted that two Facebook friends of mine had noted within minutes of each other that there were military helicopters flying over their houses on Saturday morning (the day of the conference)
  • Each of these friends posted separately and both surmised that perhaps the President of the United States was in town. They're both really smart, observant, trusted people
  • That was news to me– the idea that military helicopters were flying overhead (I hadn't heard them, despite proximity) and that the President might be here
  • I also noted in the conference that "this might be bullcrap"– that he might not be in town at all
  • The real deal was that I found something out– military helicopters on the North Side of Chicago and the President might be here– that I did not know before. I was changed

The guffaw-inducing idea that I get my news from Facebook entrails is funnier than the truth, which is more complex and more unsettling to traditional journalists working deadlines.

The truth is that raw, eye-witness accounts of reality have exploded, and will only continue to. And that wizened dismissiveness of quality facts is a really bad idea. And that we desperately need good journalists to help figure out the truth.

So these two Facebook status messages, and Rich Gordon's chime-in on a blockade, and mainstream news reports about the AMA speech, and my own fantasies of meeting the President all come together in a meaningful way for me. They help me form opinions and beliefs, and some of them are erroneous for now, until I get some more McLuhan messages, and this is all new to me, all news to me, and I'm OK with it. All this can be scary, especially if your daily bread is opposed to this stew. So I understand the snark, but it has a shelf life.

Picture 4 As far as I can tell (based on reviewing news accounts from real reporters, including an appreciated Lynn Sweet copy/paste) the President was not, in fact, in Chicago on Saturday. He was in the White House on Friday afternoon and he awoke in the White House on Monday morning before flying here.

So why were military helicopters buzzing houses on Saturday morning? Dunno. Probably just advance planning for the AMA trip. Or maybe they were practicing the forced takeover of Chicago city government after the next indictment. Now *that* would be news 🙂 …

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