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Obama: "I Rarely Read Blogs"

BY Nancy Scola | Monday, March 9 2009

In an interview on Air Force One, President Obama said that he "rarely" reads blogs. It's not altogether surprising that he's not spending time reading much of anything beyond the morning papers and the policy briefing books his staff gives him. He does, after all, have more than a few things on his plate. But in his answer, there may be some insight into why the professorial Obama has long had a testy relationship with the blogosphere: he finds blogs simplistic. Transcript, wherein he paints the blogging medium with a pretty broad brush:

Q: Sir, we’re landing here, but what are you reading these days? What kind of newspapers do you read, do you read the clips, do you read actual papers, do you watch television?

A: Other than The New York Times?

Q: Other than The New York Times. Do you read Web sites? What Web sites do you look at?

A: I read most of the big national papers.

Q. Do you read them in clips or do you read them in the paper?

A. No, I read the paper. I like the feel of a newspaper. I read most of the weekly newsmagazines. I may not read them from cover to cover but I’ll thumb through them. You know, I spend most of my time these days reading a lot of briefings.

...

Q: And Web sites?

Q: No blogs?

A: I rarely read blogs.

...

Q: Has anybody said to you, No, sir, you can’t do that? Has there been a moment in these last six weeks where you tried to do something and somebody said, Sorry, sir, it doesn’t work that way?

A: Well, I mean, I think what we were talking about earlier in terms of Guantanamo. People didn’t have to tell me, No you can’t do that. It was simply, Well, sir, here are the challenges that we face in terms of making a decision about that. In the entire banking sector – we spend every day, myself, Rahm Emanuel, Tim Geithner, Larry Summers, Christina Romer, every single day, we will spend at least an hour of my time just talking through how we are approaching the financial markets.

And part of the reason we don’t spend a lot of time looking at blogs is because if you haven’t looked at it very carefully then you may be under the impression that somehow there’s a clean answer one way or another – well, you just nationalize all the banks, or you just leave them alone and they’ll be fine, or this or that or the other. The truth is this is a very complex set of problems and bad decisions can result in huge taxpayer expenditures and poor results.

What, not even Orszblog?