This is not exactly a surprise: According to Vice News, President Trump has a folder presented to him twice a day containing “screenshots of positive cable news chyrons (those lower-third headlines and crawls), admiring tweets, transcripts of fawning TV interviews, praise-filled news stories, and sometimes just pictures of Trump on TV looking powerful.” The folder is known, apparently, as “the propaganda document.”
Trump’s narcissism has been documented for decades: as William Buckley wrote in 2000:
Look for the narcissist. The most obvious target in today’s lineup is, of course, Donald Trump. When he looks at a glass, he is mesmerized by its reflection. If Donald Trump were shaped a little differently, he would compete for Miss America.
Vice details the process by which the folders are allegedly created:
The process of assembling the folder begins at the Republican National Committee’s “war room,” which has expanded from 4 to 10 people since the GOP won the White House. A war room — both parties have one regardless of who’s in the White House — is often tasked with monitoring local and national news, cable television, social media, digital media, and print media to see how the party, its candidates or their opponents are being perceived.
Beginning at 6 a.m. every weekday — the early start is a longtime war room tradition — three staffers arrive at the RNC to begin monitoring the morning shows on CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News as they scour the internet and newspapers. Every 30 minutes or so, the staffers send the White House Communications Office an email with chyron screenshots, tweets, news stories, and interview transcripts.
White House staffers then cull the information, send out clips to other officials, and push favorable headlines to a list of journalists. But they also pick out the most positive bits to give to the president. On days when there aren’t enough positive chyrons, communications staffers will ask the RNC staffers for flattering photos of the president.
Although former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer emailed Vice News, “While I won’t comment on materials we share with the president, this is not accurate on several levels,” he had no response when queried what in Vice’s story was inaccurate.
One White House official said that the folder was the idea of Spicer and former chief of staff Reince Priebus. He added,“Priebus and Spicer weren’t in a good position, and they wanted to show they could provide positive coverage. It was self-preservation.” In June, Priebus had declared in a meeting with Trump and his cabinet, “On behalf of the entire senior staff around you, Mr. President, we thank you for the opportunity and the blessing that you’ve given us to serve your agenda and the American people.”
The real question is not whether Trump is a narcissist, but what he gets done while he’s looking in the mirror. If it’s good, who cares?