Former White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer was the guest this morning at Buzzfeed HQ, for a "Buzzfeed Breakfast" round of Q&A. Among the topics discussed, according to Capital New York's Jeremy Barr, were the media consumption habits of President Barack Obama.
As Barr reports, Pfeiffer told those assembled that Obama "reads the daily news ... both print and online," and also indulges in a healthy amount of long-form journalism. One source of news, however, is not on the menu:
However, Pfeiffer said: "Where he does not consume a lot of media is on television."
The president does not watch cable news, with its horse-race political coverage, or the morning news shows.
Frankly, I think that this is where the rest of the country is heading, slowly and inevitably. I'd wager that within a generation, most of America will be tuning out today's version of cable news and the Sunday morning shows, as the aging viewers of such media surrender to the grip of mortality and younger generations settle into the 21st-century news environment.
I've said this before, but I feel confident in these predictions. What we know as "cable news" will, of course, adapt, and even be superb. The future for that platform will most likely be a home to programming like high-impact documentary news features (like the acclaimed "Blackfish") and longer reported features focused on public affairs (like HBO's "Last Week Tonight"). The faces you see on cable news -- which currently, and too often, are just a cruddy mélange of interchangeable pundits, "thought leaders" and "insiders" -- will give way to journalists of an altogether different ethos.
You'll think I'm crazy to say this (unless you're fortunate enough to have read this), but the guy who really embodies that ethos right now is Anthony Bourdain, who recently told Fast Company, "I'm not a Middle East expert. I'm not an Africa expert. I'm not a foreign-policy wonk. But I see aspects of these countries that regular journalists don't. If we have a role, it's to put a face on people who you might not otherwise have seen or cared about" (emphasis mine).
Once cable news completes this necessary evolution, viewers will flock to watch televised news that really focuses on and impacts the lives of normal human Americans.
In this regard, Obama is an early adopter, whether he knows it or not. I'm an even earlier adopter of this manner of news consumption and, I can tell you, life has never been better. I recommend it!
[Would you like to follow me on Twitter? Because why not?]