President Trump faces immense challenges: North Korea, tax reform, healthcare.
Still, in the course of any given day, he finds time to tweet his thoughts, to watch cable news and to tweet his thoughts about cable news. He also finds time to review a packet prepared by his staff showing how he is being covered by those same cable networks.
In the wake of almost every event he holds, whether it be a rally, a bilateral press conference or a White House ceremony, Trump is presented with a packet of screen-shots showing how the television networks covered the event, two senior administration officials told CNNMoney. This enables him to see the chyrons — the headlines and captions on the lower third of the screen — that were being broadcast during the event.
This packet is separate from another folder Trump receives containing a summary of the day’s headlines and news coverage, which has long been standard practice for presidents and lawmakers. It highlights how Trump, a media obsessive, has formalized his longstanding preoccupation with the media’s coverage of him.
On Tuesday, Vice News reported that Trump received twice-daily packets including “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 White House officials who spoke to the mediay disputed Vice’s characterization of the packets, but acknowledged that Trump did receive a collection of television news screen-shots and chyrons in the wake of various events. They stressed that the collection was not limited to positive coverage.
Nevertheless, the practice of reviewing television news screen shots is as unique to this president as is his habit of tweeting about what he sees on Fox News or CNN.
“It is safe to say that President Obama was never given and never requested a packet of clips about chyrons of any kind,” said Jen Psaki, a former Obama White House communications director. “If he had we would have assumed it was some sort of April Fools’ Day stunt.”
Asked about Vice’s story, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told the media in an email, “How is it odd that the president receives daily news clips? It would be odd If he didn’t. Also this is a modern President that understands the impact of social media, cable news, etc.”