Ed Driscoll

No Wonder Obama Doesn't Connect With The Rest Of The Country

In 2003, Helen Thomas wrote, “No wonder Bush doesn’t connect with the rest of the country:”

President Bush recently gave an hour-long exclusive interview to Fox TV anchor Brit Hume, who tossed him a series of softball questions.Among them, Bush was asked how he gets his news. Answer: He relies on briefings by chief of staff Andrew Card and national security affairs adviser Condoleezza Rice.

He walks into the Oval Office in the morning, Bush said, and asks Card: “What’s in the newspapers worth worrying about? I glance at the headlines just to kind of (get) a flavor of what’s moving,” Bush said. “I rarely read the stories,” he said.

Instead, the president continued, he gets “briefed by people who have probably read the news themselves.” Rice, on the other hand, is getting the news “directly from the participants on the world stage.”

Bush said this had long been his practice.

“I have great respect for the media,” he said. “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.”

To which Hume told Bush: “I won’t disagree with that, sir.”

Bush continued: “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.”

What struck me and a lot of other folks about the interview was Bush’s revelation that he does not read newspapers.

Anyone who wants to stay in touch with national, international and local events looks forward to reading the newspaper every day. The variety and breadth of newspaper stories make Americans the best-informed people in the world.

Flashforward to 2010: “Obama Tells Dems: Turn off CNN, Turn off Fox:”

At today’s question and answer session between President Obama and his former Democratic colleagues in the Senate, members got a bit of unexpected TV-viewing advice from the Commander in Chief: stop watching politics on TV.

Perhaps he’d prefer they tune into WhiteHouse.gov?

The president’s advice came in answer to a question from Sen. Mike Bennet, D-CO, who is facing a difficult re-election fight back home and wanted to know what Democrats and Republicans can do “to fix this institution so that our democracy can actually withstand the test that we’re facing right now.”

“You know what I think would actually make a difference, Michael? I think if everybody here — excuse all the members of the press who are here — if everybody here turned off your CNN, your Fox, your blogs,” Obama said, before being interrupted by Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-CA, who piped up, “And MSNBC!”

As Ann Althouse writes, “Ha. We’re bothering the President of the United States.”

No wonder Obama doesn’t connect with the rest of the country.