The other day, Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly tweeted this observation about the political press: "Is the press really free and objective? Or is it associated with a political party? If so, that's a violation of what the Founders intended." In other words, collusion between a party and the news media is a bad thing, according to the most popular screecher on the most popular cable news network. Perhaps O'Reilly needs to take a harder look at his own network.
Nevertheless, three days later, Politico published a surprising-yet-not-surprising report on the allegedly successful methods used by aides to President Trump to control the then-candidate's erratic, obnoxious tweeting habits.
The key to keeping Trump’s Twitter habit under control, according to six former campaign officials, is to ensure that his personal media consumption includes a steady stream of praise. And when no such praise was to be found, staff would turn to friendly outlets to drum some up — and make sure it made its way to Trump’s desk.
In other words, the most reliable means of blocking Trump from his routine bouts of outrage diarrhea is to feed him positive news while manipulating the news content of friendly press outlets in order to trick Trump into believing everything's just great. So, the president has to be handled like an easily triggered rage addict who's only fed positive news, otherwise he lashes out with all-caps non-sequiturs.
No wonder his version of "reality" is vastly different than the rest of the world.
Former communications director Sam Nunberg told Politico's Tara Palmieri, "If candidate Trump was upset about unfair coverage, it was productive to show him that he was getting fair coverage from outlets that were persuadable." Politico added:
The in-person touch is also important to keeping Trump from running too hot. One Trump associate said it’s important to show Trump deference and offer him praise and respect, as that will lead him to more often listen. And If Trump becomes obsessed with a grudge, aides need to try and change the subject, friends say. Leaving him alone for several hours can prove damaging, because he consumes too much television and gripes to people outside the White House.
The President of the United States "consumes too much television and gripes" about it.
Can you feel it? Can your feel the greatest washing over the countryside like a cool wave of awesomeness?
It sounds like they're dealing with someone in the throes of borderline personality disorder, constantly walking on eggshells... or else BOOM! The article also describes how Trump campaign workers "would also go to media amplifiers like Fox News hosts and conservative columnists to encourage them to tweet out [positive stories] so that they could print out and show a two-page list of tweets that show that they were steering the message."
It's impossible to know for sure what's going on in Trump's head, though I'm sure being in his skull would be not dissimilar to traveling naked through a medieval carwash that sprays blood and semen instead of soapy water. But what's more than obvious is that Trump is so undisciplined and so thin-skinned that the people around him need to lasso and corral him using techniques we'd normally expect in a mental illness scenario -- or when desperately attempting to control a petulant recess bully who suffers from attention deficit issues.
Or, um, just like these kids:
Incidentally, the fact that I posted videos of unhinged kids screaming in Russian and German, respectively, is only partly intentional.
But this is the commander-in-chief of the largest military force ever assembled. Donald Trump's mood and behavior appears to be mostly linked to his television viewing habits and whether or not his staffers have successfully manipulated both the conservative media and Trump's own surroundings. The White House is a play pen and POTUS has a full diaper.
For the record: this is not normal.