On Donald Trump’s newfound inner strength to avoid certain TV coverage

REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
President Donald Trump: "OK. The one thing I've learned to do that I never thought I had the ability to do. I don't watch CNN anymore."

Being president has changed Donald Trump, for the better, or at least he thinks so. He has developed the inner strength to do something that he never thought he could do, or at least he says so.

And what is that thing? That thing is to watch TV news about himself on channels or shows that say mean things about him.

The revelation of this amazing new strength that the president has developed – and I mean really surprising and amazing – provides the climactic ending of a long interview that Trump granted recently to Julie Pace of the Associated Press.

If you think I’m being snotty about it, well, maybe I am, but I am not exaggerating even slightly how big of a deal the president made about it, and how surprising he found it that has developed this new strength to not listen to criticism or, at least, to not watch TV when he is being criticized. I’ll attach that portion, the climactic ending, of the long interview.

The AP published a transcript of the whole interview. You can read it here. I encourage you to do so, although there isn’t much in it that I would call “news.” You might be taken aback at how staggeringly inarticulate, bordering on incoherent, and how self-obsessed Trump can be and how fragile his ego seems, if you actually read this many paragraphs in a row of him talking.

But perhaps you have grown used to it. He, himself, says he is doing great so far, but that doesn’t surprise him. What surprises is the ability I mentioned above. Here’s that portion, which is how the interview ends:

TRUMP: OK. The one thing I’ve learned to do that I never thought I had the ability to do. I don’t watch CNN anymore.

AP: You just said you did.

TRUMP: No. No, I, if I’m passing it, what did I just say (inaudible)?

AP: You just said —

TRUMP: Where? Where?

AP: Two minutes ago.

TRUMP: No, they treat me so badly. No, I just said that. No, I, what’d I say, I stopped watching them. But I don’t watch CNN anymore. I don’t watch MSNBC. I don’t watch it. Now I heard yesterday that MSNBC, you know, they tell me what’s going on.

AP: Right.

TRUMP: In fact, they also did. I never thought I had the ability to not watch. Like, people think I watch (MSNBC’s) “Morning Joe.” I don’t watch “Morning Joe.” I never thought I had the ability to, and who used to treat me great by the way, when I played the game. I never thought I had the ability to not watch what is unpleasant, if it’s about me. Or pleasant. But when I see it’s such false reporting and such bad reporting and false reporting that I’ve developed an ability that I never thought I had. I don’t watch things that are unpleasant. I just don’t watch them.

AP: And do you feel like that’s, that’s because of the office that you now occupy —

TRUMP: No.

AP: That you’ve made that change?

TRUMP: I don’t know why it is, but I’ve developed that ability, and it’s happened over the last, over the last year.

AP: That’s interesting.

TRUMP: And I don’t watch things that I know are going to be unpleasant. CNN has covered me unfairly and incorrectly and I don’t watch them anymore. A lot of people don’t watch them anymore; they’re now in third place. But I’ve created something where people are watching … but I don’t watch CNN anymore. I don’t watch MSNBC anymore. I don’t watch things, and I never thought I had that ability. I always thought I’d watch.

AP: Sure.

TRUMP: I just don’t. And that’s taken place over the last year. And you know what that is, that’s a great, it’s a great thing because you leave, you leave for work in the morning you know, you’re, you don’t watch this total negativity. I never thought I’d be able to do that and for me, it’s so easy to do now. Just don’t watch.

AP: That’s interesting.

TRUMP: Maybe it’s because I’m here. I don’t know.

Comments (19)

  1. Submitted by Mike Chrun on 04/25/2017 - 09:09 am.

    Try Not to Think

    that this guy has the power to attack other countries, and there is a guy in North Korea we fear because he’s thought of as egotistical, cruel, power hungry, belligerent and just plain crazy. As another “accomplishment” in Trump’s first 100 days he’s engaged in a series of threats and one up-manship with Kim. What could possible go wrong?

    North Korea has to be dealt with , but this babbling doesn’t exactly fill me with confidence. Hopefully, there are enough adults in the room to distract Trump.

  2. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 04/25/2017 - 09:38 am.

    He’s built a bubble

    around his bubble.
    And he’s proud of it.
    Sad.

  3. Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/25/2017 - 09:57 am.

    Paradox

    The man is obsessed with winning, and being a winner. Why, then, does he seem to go out of his way to look pathetic?

  4. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 04/25/2017 - 10:12 am.

    Hmmm, an already blinkered world-view, narrowed even further.

    Whatever could go wrong ?

    And what the heck does the oft-repeated statement “I don’t watch things, and I never thought I had that ability.” mean ? He’s learning to turn off the box when he doesn’t like the show ?

    Life is so complicated–whocooda known ??

  5. Submitted by Ray J Wallin on 04/25/2017 - 10:13 am.

    Lessons unlearned

    Trump continues to use his marketing skills to put down the “left-media.” He does it here again. His message in the interview is that CNN is “unfair” and “incorrect,” ie, fake news. Then he notes the “false reporting” of MSNBC. From the Republican point of view, Trump is doing his job, discrediting the opposition.

    The AP interview may seem a jumbled mess to those who don’t pick up on it, but it is a continual barrage on the left. Read George Lakoff before reading the AP interview, and the interview will read differently.

    Lakoff: https://georgelakoff.com/blog/
    Scroll two pages down, to “Trump’s Twitter Distraction.”

    In fact, Trump is far less fragile, inarticulate, and incoherent than he is brilliant and on task. Yes, even if you oppose him, are disgusted by him… Trump is brilliant. He says he watches CNN and he never watches CNN in the same interview. Who else can do that? He keeps the press so off-balance, they are both running in circles, and reprinting that CNN/MSNBC is unfair and false.

    • Submitted by Henk Tobias on 04/25/2017 - 06:18 pm.

      Accidental Brilliance

      Beyond his ability to self promote, any other brilliance associated with Donald Trump is purely accidental.
      He does know how to play the media, but they were programmed for his style of BS in advance. They like shiny new objects and that’s what Trump is. Just Donald being Donald gives them that everyday. He is incoherent, he is ignorant, he is woefully unprepared for the Job and every thing he does or says proves that. (Who could have known health care was so hard? Who knew China couldn’t just tell North Korea what to do? Everyone but Donald Trump, that’s who) And that all makes him a shiny object for the Media.

      Yesterday Obama made his first public speech since leaving office and what was the headline? He made his speech without ever mentioning the Press’s Shiny New Object.

      Trump’s use of the media is not Brilliant at all, its accidental. At another time and another place it wouldn’t work.

  6. Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 04/25/2017 - 11:38 am.

    OK ,Ray. You can claim that this incredible jibberished interview is just Trump keeping the media off balance. That in the jibberish there’s Trump Being Brilliantly On Message.

    Most people, faced with such confused and contradictory stuff, think that Trump himself sounds, uh, unbalanced. And the messsge clearly is that he’s unfit to be in the office he holds.

  7. Submitted by edward sheehy on 04/25/2017 - 12:14 pm.

    Made my hair hurt…

    I read through most of the AP interview, but gave up towards the end, too many incoherent sentences, incomplete thoughts, and non sequiturs. Stupefying.

  8. Submitted by Bill Willy on 04/25/2017 - 12:36 pm.

    Being Here

    Matt Taibbi reporting on the Republican primaries in August, 2015:

    “It will go down someday as the greatest reality show ever conceived. The concept is ingenious. Take a combustible mix of the most depraved and filterless half-wits, scam artists and asylum Napoleons America has to offer, give them all piles of money and tell them to run for president. Add Donald Trump. And to give the whole thing a perverse gravitas, make the presidency really at stake.

    “It’s Western civilization’s very own car wreck. Even if you don’t want to watch it, you will. It’s that awesome of a spectacle.”

    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/inside-the-gop-clown-car-20150812?page=10

    And here we are, watching . . .

    “I don’t watch things, and I never thought I had that ability. I always thought I’d watch. Never thought I’d be able to do that and for me, it’s so easy to do now. Just don’t watch. Maybe it’s because I’m here. I don’t know.”

    It reminded me of one of Peter Seller’s (“Doctor Strangelove”) best roles and films:

    “The classic test of Artificial Intelligence has been: Can a computer be programmed to conduct a conversation that seems human to another human? ‘Being There’ is a film about a man whose mind works like a rudimentary A.I. program.

    “His mind has been supplied with a fund of simplistic generalizations about the world, phrased in terms of the garden where he has worked all his adult life. But because he presents himself as a man of good breeding (he walks and talks like the wealthy older man whose house he lived in, and wears the man’s tailored suits) his simplicity is mistaken for profundity, and soon he is advising presidents and befriending millionaires.”

    http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/great-movie-being-there-1979

    That’s from a review by Roger Ebert that explains why “Being There” is well worth watching.

    The reason the president’s explanation of his watching situtation reminded me of it is the film’s main character, Chauncey Gardener’s, famous line: “I like to watch.”

    While coming at the question of watching from a different angle, it’s little eerie how similar (yet opposite) the fictional and real life characters seem.

    Here’s a link to the trailer:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bow1ZJTV4L4

    If you wind up watching the film it will remind you of this article, no doubt. And it will probably make you wish Chauncey Gardener could have stepped off the screen in early 2016 to bumble his way to the White House instead of the clown who did.

  9. Submitted by beryl john-knudson on 04/25/2017 - 12:42 pm.

    Dear Donald

    You are looking at the wrong channel/screen…try the one in the bathroom instead…no,no, the mirror after shaving?

    Look deep into the eye of the guy in the mirror, okay? As Bush did once to Putin and claimed what, he saw his soul?

    It’s the old mirror-mirror-on-the-wall trick and try again? Good luck whatever you see and tell the people, oh yes indeed…

  10. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 04/25/2017 - 01:22 pm.

    Hold the presses–Ivanka clears up the misunderstanding…she said that her father “curates ideas and he likes to hear from people with divergent viewpoints.”

  11. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 04/25/2017 - 02:42 pm.

    Ha ha ha ha ha

    “…‘she said that her father ‘curates ideas and he likes to hear from people with divergent viewpoints.’” Thanks for that, Neal. Everything I’ve seen and read, including Eric’s piece, suggests rather strongly that Ivanka’s father is not the only one who’s delusional…

  12. Submitted by Mary Pattock on 04/25/2017 - 06:08 pm.

    Getting ready

    Could it be that he’s looking ahead and preparing his insanity defense?

  13. Submitted by Joe Musich on 04/25/2017 - 09:22 pm.

    I am even more …

    Incredulous if that is even possible. Tip of the hat to the “Being There” reference. And the reason people still back this guy literally reminds me of the cult behavior that crops up in seemingly only this country on occasion. The are indications that there is something in our national psyche that leaves us open to gullibility to less then rational behavior. We dig our heels in on some of the most stupid things leaving us with feet of clay and letting reflection be damned. Ultimately it is the insensitivity that destroys compassion as we are now witnessing.

  14. Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 04/26/2017 - 10:26 pm.

    Words vs. actions

    Trump may be “staggeringly inarticulate, bordering on incoherent” in his interview as long as his acts are “coherent” and he does what he promised…

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