AJR  Drop Cap
From AJR,   July/August 2000

Ignorance Is Bliss   

By Craig Gilbert
Craig Gilbert is the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Washington bureau chief.     

G EORGE W. BUSH HAS a foolproof system for getting along with reporters: Don't read what they write.
"I don't really spend a lot of time analyzing the coverage I get," the Republican presidential candidate told a handful of journalists invited to the Texas Governor's Mansion in May.
"It's much easier for me, by the way, to really ignore most of the stories, so I can deal with people in an objective way."
Especially the boys and girls on the plane: "I go back there. I can see some reporter wondering what I think of their story. And more than likely I haven't read it, and therefore am able to deal on an even keel with people."
This may be one explanation for Bush's press outreach since the early primaries. Compared with former GOP rival John McCain, he was a hermit. But compared with Democrat Al Gore, he's a ham. Bush holds regular press conferences; Gore hardly any. The campaign described the mansion sit-down as the first in a series of get-togethers with journalists from regional newspapers in electorally important states.
Did Bush think he could benefit from giving reporters more access than they're getting from Gore? "I'm pacing myself, just in terms of the whole campaign," says Bush. "I, for example, don't go back and spend the entire three-hour flight to New York in the back of the plane with the press corps. But I go back and chat, visit. I like people, for starters. I'm interested in people. I've got a pretty objective view about how the press corps works, and what my job is and what their job is, and I respect that. I'm just as interested in many of them as I hope they are in me."