Flash! President Bush Says He Reads Papers

That's the actual NY Times headline. (reg. req.)

How sad is it that this would be considered a printable news item? I know that the conventional wisdom during the elections was that Bush was the kind of guy you'd want to have a beer with (which to my mind is the lamest standard to have for the highest office in the land, but I digress). Does that necessarily translate into wanting someone as Commander in Chief that you'd be surprised to learn reads the news? Sorry, but that's really taking anti-intellectualism to a whole new low. (h/t JR)

Is there hope for newspapers after all? Readers may be abandoning the printed versions, but over the last couple of years, at least one person seems to have started reading them, at least sometimes. He lives in the White House.

President Bush declared in 2003 that he did not read newspapers, but at his final news conference of the year last week, he casually mentioned that he had seen something in the paper that very day.

Asked for his reaction to word that Vice President Cheney would be called to testify in the C.I.A. leak case, the president allowed: "I read it in the newspaper today, and it's an interesting piece of news."

That was a marked contrast with his position in 2003, when he told Brit Hume on Fox News that he glanced at the headlines, but "I rarely read the stories," because, he said, they mix opinion with fact. He said he preferred to get his news from "objective sources" - like "people on my staff who tell me what's happening in the world."

Critics howled that his statement showed he was out of touch with both the world and average Americans. Last year, in an interview with Brian Williams, he softened his stand. "I see a lot of the news," Mr. Bush told Mr. Williams. "I - every morning I look at the newspaper. I'm not - I can't say I've read every single article in the newspaper, but I definitely know what's in the news."


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