By the time a reporter gets a leaked copy of a congressional report, it’s probably safe to assume at least one of the president’s top advisers has seen it, too. If his cabinet members are squabbling for influence, it seems the president would know about that, too. So there’s no further need for him to read about all this in the papers.
In fact, about all the president misses by tuning out the news is the scandal update.
Consider the recent tempest over Ambassador Joseph Wilson. His wife, a CIA agent, was outed by columnist Robert Novak back in July. Novak said he got his information from a pair of “senior administration officials.” This may yet erupt into a full-fledged scandal, complete with an independent counsel and criminal charges. Or it may amount to nothing.
Journalists have pounded out thousands of words and spent countless man-hours trying to find out who Novak’s sources were. They’re free to do so, but they shouldn’t be surprised that President Bush doesn’t care to spend his time slogging through these “whodunit” and “what does it all mean” stories.
By tuning out the media, Bush isn’t showing his ignorance -- he’s showing confidence in his staff.
The best sources for a Washington-based reporter seem to be various presidential advisors, even though these sources often want to remain anonymous. So it stands to reason that those same people are the best possible sources for the president himself.