Obama to Prince Harry: Leaders must use care on social media

LONDON — Former President Barack Obama told Prince Harry in an interview broadcast Wednesday that people in leadership roles must be careful in their use of social media and warned against spending too much time immersed in the internet at the expense of the world outside.

Obama did not, however, directly mention his successor, President Donald Trump, who has made the use of Twitter a centerpiece of his presidency.

"All of us in leadership have to find ways to recreate a common space on the internet," he said. "One of the dangers of the internet is people can have entirely different realities. They can be just cocooned in information that reinforces their current biases."

He spoke with Harry in the prince's capacity as guest editor of the BBC Radio 4 news program. Both men said the interview, recorded in Canada in September, was Obama's first since leaving the presidency in January.

Obama said he felt serene the day he left the White House at the end of his second four-year term despite the vast amount of work that remained unfinished. He said it was "hugely liberating" to be able to set his own agenda in the morning to have the time to talk with his wife, Michelle, now that he is no longer president.

"I miss the work itself because it was fascinating," Obama said of his eight years in the Oval Office, citing his health care reforms as one of his proudest achievements.

In a brief live segment at the end of the show, Harry said he did not know if Obama would be on the guest list for his wedding in May to American actress Meghan Markle.

"I don't know about that, we haven't even put the invite or the guest list together, who knows if he's going to be invited or not," Harry said. "I wouldn't want to ruin that surprise."

The Sun newspaper, a popular tabloid, has suggested that the British government is concerned that Harry and Markle may invite the Obamas but not Trump, possibly straining ties between the two governments.

Harry did say his fiancee enjoyed her first Christmas with the royal family.

"The family loved having her there," Harry said.

The prince used his position to ask Obama a "lightning round" of questions of the type normally asked of entertainers, not politicians.

The former president declined to say whether he wears boxers or briefs, preserving a bit of post-presidential dignity, but was willing to say he prefers Aretha Franklin to Tina Turner — "Aretha is the best," he said of the Queen of Soul — and favors retired basketball star Michael Jordan over current phenom LeBron James.

Obama rejected gloomy prognostications about the state of the world, saying that in many ways the world is healthier and wealthier than it has ever been, making it perhaps the best time in human history to be born.

He cited improved treatment of African-Americans and greatly expanded opportunities for young women as achievements of the past few generations that give him hope for the future.

Harry also interviewed his father, Prince Charles, who offered a more downbeat assessment. He said the root causes of climate change are not being addressed even as it caused "untold horrors" in different parts of the world.

Related News

Fans mourn pop's George Michael as charities...

Dec 26, 2016

Fans are mourning the death of pop star George Michael as British charities praise his generosity

George Michael mourned by boyfriend, ex-boyfriend...

Dec 27, 2016

George Michael's former partner and his current boyfriend have both spoken of their sadness at his...

Knighthoods for Murray and Farah in New Year's...

Dec 30, 2016

Andy Murray received a knighthood in Queen Elizabeth II's New Year's Honors list on Friday,...

A Kink, former Spice Girl and Vogue editor to get...

Dec 31, 2016

Queen Elizabeth II's New Year honors list focuses on sports stars, some luminaries of fashion and...

Queen Elizabeth II misses church due to 'heavy...

Jan 1, 2017

Buckingham Palace says Queen Elizabeth II was not well enough to attend a New Year church service...

Harry 'constantly in trouble,' Princess Diana...

Jan 5, 2017

Letters sent by Britain's late Princess Diana _ including one in which she described a young Prince...

Must Read

A Kink, former Spice Girl and Vogue editor to get...

Dec 31, 2016

Queen Elizabeth II's New Year honors list focuses on sports stars, some luminaries of fashion and...

Jamie Oliver to shut 6 UK restaurants in tough...

Jan 6, 2017

Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver is shutting six of his 42 Jamie's Italian restaurants in Britain amid...

London air pollution 'very high'; heavy fog...

Jan 23, 2017

Cold, still weather in London prompted the mayor to issue a "very high" air pollution alert for the...

AP Interview: Depression hits when soccer career...

Feb 6, 2017

On the training pitches at Arsenal is where Jason Brown feels at peace

AP Exclusive: Unusual Magritte could hit $17.5M...

Feb 6, 2017

One of the largest and most unusual paintings by Surrealist master Rene Magritte is going up for...

Sign up now!