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Trump Is Actually Desperate for Praise for the 'Fake News Media' — Here's How You Can Tell

August 17, 2018 in Blogs

By The Conversation

Start with his own White House newsletter.

Mainstream press coverage of President Trump has been unfavorable. Thomas Patterson found that 80 percent of stories in the first 100 days of the administration were negative in tone.

The president has attacked the media as “fake news” and journalists as “the enemy of the American people.”

The president’s anti-press assaults are so frequent and potent that newspapers across the United States banded together August 16 to publish simultaneous editorials defending the press’s important watchdog role in democracy.

But for all the president’s complaints, he also craves validation from the media. Trump has given exclusive interviews to The New York Times and, in addition to loving Fox News, reportedly watches CNN and MSNBC every morning.

Trump’s quest for good press is particularly evident in the White House newsletters, a daily email update sent to anyone who cares to subscribe online.

White House spam

As a scholar of media and politics, I have followed the White House newsletters since the Obama administration began sending them in 2009.

The White House Communications Office produced more than 2,000 newsletters during President Obama’s eight years in office. They announced his daily schedule, made official policy statements and provided a regular diet of sleek presidential photos. At times, the Obama newsletter offered behind-the-scenes stories about life inside the White House.

The Trump administration has continued the practice. Its daily email is called 1600 Daily or West Wing Reads, depending on the content and the day. Occasionally, a newsletter entitled Resolute Reads appears.

I’ve never met anyone else who pays the White House newsletter much attention. But I read and analyze every email.

Trump's need for good press

The White House newsletter is a useful window into the Trump administration – just not necessarily in the way its editors may intend.

Early in Trump’s term, when the president cycled through four communications directors in six months, the newsletters mirrored the chaos in the White House.

They looked amateurish. Links didn’t work. The layout was cluttered and busy, and included unconnected, disparate events. Mimicking Trump’s voice, they referred to everything related to …read more


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