Trump Gets His Marching Orders From the Idiot Box

The president has a 'fanatical preoccupation' with TV news
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 27, 2017 3:30 PM CST

(Newser) – Maybe we should call him Don Teavee? Lloyd Grove at the Daily Beast has a piece chronicling President Trump's "unprecedented"—as one political science professor calls it—obsession with the idiot box and cable news. So far, Trump's MO as president appears to be watching TV then acting on what he sees. Fourteen minutes after a Fox News segment that labeled Chelsea Manning an "ungrateful traitor" and reported on her calling out Obama as a "weak leader," Trump tweeted: "Ungrateful TRAITOR Chelsea Manning...is now calling President Obama a weak leader." He also tweeted about sending in the "feds" over Chicago's gun violence immediately after an O'Reilly Factor segment on it, and actually called a Democratic representative who asked him to do so during an MSNBC segment.

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Grove writes that Trump has a "fanatical preoccupation with whatever is emanating into his ears and eyeballs from" news shows. His presidential schedule includes waking up before 6am to watch cable news and ending his day with more of the same. Political scientist Larry Sabato says Trump "has been trained to live and die by what is said about him on TV," obsessing about it because of insecurity and a need for "constant approval and over-the-top flattery." Trump's only rival among presidents in terms of TV watching is Lyndon Johnson, but at least Johnson only had three news channels available. Read the full piece, which features veteran newsman Dan Rather's thoughts on Trump and Johnson, here. (Read more Donald Trump stories.)

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