On Wednesday (March 29), President Trump took a step farther away from presidential behaviour when he posted a four tweet thread about how his daily White House briefings about the COVID-19 crisis are TV ratings hits. In the middle of a pandemic, the President is worried about his TV ratings.
Here are his tweets:
The thing is, he totally doesn’t get it.
Many years ago I recall that there was some issue with a science-fiction convention and J. Michael Straczynski told a little story highlighting how the convention owner wasn’t popular for the reasons he thought. Straczynski drew a mental picture of the circus arriving in town back in the day. All the trucks with all the circus folks driving down main street waving at the residents and their waving back. Then the mayor appears, waving to the crowd, riding an elephant. The crowd waves and cheers him on.
But really, who are the cheers for? Are the crowds cheering the mayor because they recognize him as their mayor, or are they cheering him because he’s on an elephant? Of course it’s the latter. Crowds don’t form around him as he walks down the street. He may get a wave, but no one cheers. It’s that he’s on an elephant that draws the cheers. Indeed, all of the children don’t even care about him at all, for them it’s only the elephant.
Similarly, Trump is sadly mistaken if he thinks he is a ratings success. People want information about COVID-19 and what their government is doing about it. He just happens to be the one delivering the information.
How does he not see this? Perhaps the non-narcissists are the only ones who don’t understand how he can’t see it.
This is where I was planning on ending this post for today. I made the point I wanted to make. But before I started writing, I thought I might go look at the article that Trump was citing, but to see if managed to misquote it to his pwn advantage. I found the article, and to my great surprise, Trump’s quote were entirely accurate. Except they’re the definition of ‘out of context.’
The article is about whether networks should be covering daily White House briefings live because Trump talked about many things unrelated, and adds in plenty of his own inaccuracies.
Leave it to Trump to make it all about his success when the article is about his failure.
For your edification, the New York Times article is reproduced in its entirely below, with the parts that Trump tweeted in italics. You can see how he carved around the inconvenient parts to change the message.