POTUS’ Media Diet Claims are Dubious

President Obama‘s persistent claims that he doesn’t watch what is said about him on cable news may be as shady as first lady Michelle Obama‘s claims that she prefers those annoying garden vegetables as opposed to say, greasy crinkle-cut french fries from Shake Shack. While Obama has long held disdain for the 24-hour news cycle and cable news programs that encompass it, he complains about them as though he watches.

So could it be that the newspapers he avows not to read are the very ones he reads?

In Obama’s press conference today, The Hill‘s White House Correspondent Sam Youngman posed a question about the budget debate and his intention to change the tone in Washington. Obama’s reply involved a crack on cable news and another that he doesn’t read what is said about him in The Hill. But maybe that claim is a bit flimsy, especially considering copies of the publication sit right outside his office.

Youngman had a little fun with POTUS. He joked, “I was a little surprised because he always seems so well-informed. But I took it to mean he doesn’t read us all the time. Only when we publish.”

QUESTION: Good morning, Mr. President. I’d like to go back to something Chuck asked, his first question, about the tone of this debate. I faintly remember your campaign and I’m guessing that while it hasn’t been ugly as you say, it — it’s not what you had in mind when you said you wanted to change the tone in Washington. When you have Senator McConnell making comments that he views these negotiations through the prism of 2012, how much does that poison the well? And going forward, if — big if — you can get a deal on this, can you get anything done with Congress for the next year and a half?

OBAMA: Well, let me — let me say this. The — and I’m not trying to poke at you guys — I generally don’t watch what is said about me on cable. I generally don’t read what’s said about me — even in The Hill. And so, you know, part of this job is having a thick skin and understanding a lot of this stuff’s not personal. You know, that’s not going to be an impediment to — you know, whatever Senator McConnell says about me on the floor of the Senate is not going to be an impediment to us getting a deal done. You know, the question is going to be whether at any given moment we’re willing to set politics aside, at least briefly, in order to get something done.