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Do Liberals Put Their Pants on One Leg at a Time?
10/01/2003

As much as I'd like to foster blogosphere harmony here in Southern New England, I just can't let this pass. Linking to a New York Times editorial reacting to Brit Hume's interview with President Bush, in which Bush admits that he just scans the headlines of the daily newspapers, James from Aces Full of Links writes:

The question is, is this just a silly statement (prevarication, lie, whatever) intended as a dig against the media, or is it true that our president likes to engineer his own ignorance of current events, restricting himself to the filter of his advisors? In the case of the former, is lying is so comfortable for Bush that he doesn't mind tossing off a little falsehood or two in an interview, just for fun? In the case of the latter, this is the image that helped sink Bush senior, except this time it's for real.

Here's a key paragraph from the Times:

But it is worrisome when one of the most incurious men ever to occupy the White House takes pains to insist that he gets his information on what the world is saying only in predigested bits from his appointees.

Well, I remembered reading the interview, and I distinctly did not get a "takes pains" feeling about this admission. Here's the exchange:

HUME: How do you get your news?

BUSH: I get briefed by Andy Card and Condi in the morning. They come in and tell me. In all due respect, you've got a beautiful face and everything.

I glance at the headlines just to kind of a flavor for what's moving. I rarely read the stories, and get briefed by people who are probably read the news themselves. But like Condoleezza, in her case, the national security adviser is getting her news directly from the participants on the world stage.

HUME: Has that been your practice since day one, or is that a practice that you've...

BUSH: Practice since day one.

HUME: Really?

BUSH: Yes. You know, look, I have great respect for the media. I mean, our society is a good, solid democracy because of a good, solid media. But I also understand that a lot of times there's opinions mixed in with news. And I...

HUME: I won't disagree with that, sir.

BUSH: I appreciate people's opinions, but I'm more interested in news. And the best way to get the news is from objective sources. And the most objective sources I have are people on my staff who tell me what's happening in the world.

However much the President's admission may sting the big heads at the Times, their objection is either contrived or else naive. Say what you will about his performance, but the President — any President — is a busy man. Most busy people I know do exactly that: they scan the headlines, maybe read a lead or two, perhaps delve into a particular article. And those everyday citizens don't have people whose job it is to personally collect news, yes, from "participants on the world stage."

That this is taken to be an indicator of a President in a bubble... well, it's just silliness offered up to give Bush haters an excuse to use hoity-toity words like "dolt" and "sod."

Posted by Justin Katz @ 10:55 PM EST