Monday, December 11, 2017

What did Donald Trump do today?

He denied a "fake news" report that he watches hours of TV every day.

On Saturday, the New York Times ran a lengthy article sourced to sixty "advisers, associates, and members of Congress" detailing Trump's mood swings and media consumption, and the efforts of his staff to keep him on task. It included reports that he watches 4-8 hours of cable news per day, and that he uses it in an attempt to control his own moods--or fire them up. This is in line with exhaustive previous reporting of Trump's long-standing TV obsession.

That detail was relatively innocuous compared to the overall picture it painted of Trump as an overconfident yet needy and emotionally unstable man whose staff had mostly settled on a strategy of manipulating rather than educating him. Nevertheless, Trump focused on the TV-watching claim in his Twitter rebuttal

It would be easier to take Trump at his word over the NYT's sixty sources if Trump didn't so often react in real time on Twitter to things he'd just heard on cable news. One of his favorite targets for that, the morning show Fox and Friends, made a joke of it: they asked Trump to blink the Oval Office lights if he was watching, and then cut to a "live" shot of the White House lights flickering. Trump's habits are so widely known and so predictable that organizations and political groups looking to influence him have bought TV ads specifically targeted at him.

Why does this matter?

  • The presidency is a full-time job.