Former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and ex-Press Secretary Sean Spicer got President Trump to stop watching CNN and MSNBC in the morning – basically as a matter of survival since it was forcing them to spend the day dealing with his reactions, according to the New Yorker.
“Early on, usually we could count on the president watching Morning Joe first thing, at 6 a.m.,” one White House official told me. “He’d watch an hour of that. Then he’d move on to New Day for a segment or two. Then he’d move on to Fox.”
Senior staffers worried about this pattern of behavior: By the time his day was formally under way with the daily intelligence briefing in the Oval Office — scheduled as late as 11 a.m. — the whole world was often thrown off course, wondering whether there were “tapes” of his conversations with a fired FBI director (May 12, 2017, 8:26 a.m.) or if a TV host had been “bleeding badly from a face-lift” at Mar-a-Lago (June 29, 2017, 8:58 a.m.).
With the hope of calming him down, then–chief of staff Reince Priebus and then–press secretary Sean Spicer began a subtle campaign. “It got to the point that they were just like, ‘We need to get him off these channels and onto Fox & Friends or else we’re going to be chasing down this crazy-train bullshit from MSNBC and CNN all day,’ ” one former White House official said.
Like all other ideas, this had the highest chance of implementation if Trump believed he’d thought of it on his own. Priebus and Spicer worked talking points about the network’s high ratings and importance to his base of supporters into conversation until, eventually, it stuck, so that the president’s television consumption is today what the current White House official called “mainly a complete dosage of Fox.” The former official added, “Trump’s someone who loves praise more than he likes hate-watching Morning Joe.”
Look, everyone mocks President Trump for tuning into Fox all the time. But think about it. How could anyone survive psychologically hearing wall-to-wall negative commentary about oneself?
Sure, Trump can be volatile and reacts strongly to things, but nobody could live like this. The mainstream media spends almost no time on Trump’s accomplishments – not even looking for ones that aren’t obvious – and constantly focuses on bad news about him. Often, what’s written – especially that labeled as “news analysis” – is op-ed stuff by journalists who simply won’t even try anymore to check their opinions at the door.
I’m glad to hear he has at last stopped watching Morning Joe, which has been on an anti-Trump Jihad for more than a year and has simply become unwatchable because it is obviously just a personal tool for the agenda of its hosts, Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough. And I’m glad he’s instead on the couch at Fox and Friends, lest he end up on the couch of a medical professional.