European Media Saying What American Media Won’t

In April of this year, I stumbled upon a publication called Euronews, and read the following lede from one of its “viewpoint” articles:

There has only been one headline worth printing since Donald Trump was elected president. That headline is “Donald Trump suffers from a dangerous incurable narcissistic disorder which makes him incapable of empathy and reason. He is a grave danger to the US and the world.”

Instead of stating this disturbing fact, the evidence for which is voluminous, the mainstream media have over the last three years led America down the rabbit holes of normalising him and trying to understand him as you would a psychologically healthy human being. But Donald Trump is not a psychologically healthy human being and reporting on him as if he were, empowers him and disempowers people of reason. Acknowledging his pathology is fundamental to reversing this imbalance.

The article made the point that an understanding of Trump’s “dangerously disordered mind” requires “joining the dots” between what the article identified as his narcissism, his paranoia and his incapacity to accept reality. The author went on to detail the symptoms of  each of those disorders and the elements of Trump’s behavior that “fit” the diagnoses.

In all fairness, there has been significant media emphasis in the U.S. on Trump’s malignant narcissism–but I will admit there has been less attention paid to the diagnosis of paranoia. And when we do start to connect–or “join”–the dots, it’s a pretty convincing one, and especially relevant to his horrendous approach to international relations.

Acute paranoia is characterised by a worldview in which other people are not only inherently untrustworthy, but also “out to get” the paranoid individual. Connecting those dots explains some otherwise confounding foreign policy behaviors:

Trump’s major foreign policy stances are consistent with such extreme paranoia. Trump’s attacks on membership organisations, such as NATO and the European Union, reflect a paranoid conviction that such alliances cannot be trusted and will serve only to rip off the United States, a view he has expressed repeatedly. Trump’s affinity for violent authoritarian leaders is also consistent with the interpretation that they are more in tune with Trump’s own narcissistic and paranoid worldview, than the “weak” leaders of America’s major democratic allies.

According to this analysis, Trump’s psychopathology simply doesn’t allow intelligence information incompatible with his worldview to be processed. Lacking the ability to fact-check the intelligence provided to him–or for that matter, to recognize or fact-check the reality within which he resides– he fills that space with “fact-free conspiracies that fit with his emotional needs.”

The author’s conclusion is depressing–and undoubtedly quite accurate:

For those looking to November’s election as the safety stop that will secure all our futures, Irish journalist and author Fintan O’Tooles has issued a prescient warning: “As the cost of [Trump’s] terrible failures of public duty and common decency becomes ever more starkly evident, he will revert in his re-election campaign to an explanation of the [COVID-19] disaster, not as a consequence of his own incompetence and contempt but as a punishment inflicted on the United States for its failure to build his wall, keep out foreigners, and crush the enemy within. Like a medieval quack making a profit in times of plague, he will offer a stricken people an ever-higher dose of a toxic cure.”

It is long past time to acknowledge the truth that has been staring us in the face all along – Donald Trump is clearly mentally disordered and poses a grave danger to us all.

The interval between now and January 21st will be incredibly dangerous. And in the absence of any discernible Republican integrity, I have no idea what we can do about it.

 

34 thoughts on “European Media Saying What American Media Won’t

  1. But he seems to trust Putin, which makes it even worse. Either the viability of the Republican Party is at risk or our liberal democracy. Nothing will change until Republicans acknowledge this fact.

  2. I wouldn’t be so hard on the “mainstream” media. They are not clinicians. Yes, connecting the dots is something we all do. This blog is filled with that, some of which comes from me. The media does not have a psychoanalyst duty. They just report what they see. THAT is normal. Their business is to report news, ideally, and Trump knows that, needs that and weaponizes that imperative.

    Why just last night he held a “press conference” at his own country club and preached to the members as if he were Moses coming down from the mountain. Nothing could be more arrogant, nihilistic or narcissistic… and disgusting. He even had “Hail to the Chief” played for his captive audience which cheered. Our tax dollars hard at work…

    Trump cheats at golf. Everybody at Bedminster knows that. Yet they cheer. For anyone who played a lot of golf, cheating is anathema, but it is part of Trump’s persona: He cheats at everything he touches. It is the nature of a psychopath. Everyone on this blog knows that. Are we “normalizing” Trump too?

  3. I was glad to see Jonathan Swan throw a few “bull shit” flags when Trump was lying to him in a recent interview. What I want to see is stopping it as it happens
    Sp.when Trump says “Many generals (or whatever) are saying…..”
    follow up with “Please name two or three”
    Nobody ever does that.
    Quit sitting there like morons when he is lying his ass off.
    I sure wish they would call him on it in real time, like Jonathan did

  4. I discontinued my subscription to Psychology Today long ago, but there was a feature article published in 2014: “Eight Ways to Handle a Narcissist” I am sure is staple reading for required orientation of associates at The White House by the Chief of Staff.

    Here is an excerpt:

    People high in both narcissism and Machiavellianism, Egan and team point out, are the ones who really get under your skin. Their antagonism makes them particularly hard to live with, and they’ll almost always get in the way of your accomplishing your goals. Machiavellian narcissists have mastered the art of one-upmanship as they try to show their superiority while steamrolling over everyone else’s feelings and opinions.

  5. We are just starting to see our media do what it needs to do. 45’s interviews with both Mike Wallace and Jonathan Swan, in which each man fact checked the orange menace throughout the interview, brought a modicum of joy to my soul. I will also note that his recent briefings are not being carried live on the cable news channels. It’s unlikely he’ll get the billions of dollars of uncritical free air time that he got in 2016. Now we just need to get the New york Times to see the light.

  6. Patrick @ 8:09. I agree with U. The press at The Trumpet’s “news conferences” needs to challenge him. Of course The Trumpet will continue to lie, change the subject or say that is a nasty question. The point is he needs to challenged in real time.

    The Trumpet has his own reality in his mind – A Legend in His Own Mind, where He is always Right. His rabid followers – The Trumpet’s, can change reality also to fit whatever the The Trumpet says.

  7. This was all known well before the election. If Trump has done anything, it’s to point out the uselessness of the Electoral College … inasmuch as It was supposed to prevent a man such as Trump becoming President and it failed, spectacularly.

  8. i read and enjoy what we dont get from any media outlet,,DW.com euros BBC like news,except,it will slam us on issues. todays, Macron in Beruit,oil tanker aground ruptured in Mauritlus, and nordstream 2 pipeline gets a U.S.threat again, from sen cruz,cotton,johnson. about a crushing sanctions,becaue Germany doesnt want our natl gas shipped from the u.s. or the pollution from shipping it added to the worlds climate chang,,and the russians get the spoils..best part is the covid ,and how to properly make the people first,how to run a pandemic,nationalized medicine. and now they are just coming up now with bailouts for the buisnesses effected,and its only 850 billion for the eu states..not a wall street dump and run in the trillions,while we still balk at the people suffering and while people die,now, here in America in the thousands,compared to most every other country,where its been stabilized down to a few to hunfreds deaths per day. but theres the truth about the U.S. and trump. glad they dont cower to a punk like trump.” please stop calling him a thug,putins a thug,trump couldnt hold a wet fish with a sock around it compared to genuine russian thugs.” they dont even hesitate to mention trump as unstable and a threat to world safety,along with those who are like him,and support him. genuine respect however is still mentioned to America as a whole,in most stories,and how,they hope we get our head out of our asses and make a past tense of this shame we have bestowed upon ourselves and the world…. trumps fan club expresses his greatness sham,and they seek to reelect this bagoshit.. see todays story/stories on trumps pick to head the postal service,and his crackdown on the mail and its employees.
    like i said,the republicans have had 40 years to piece together their end game,i still say the whole country is given to wall street and as money maker for the rich while we just watch it happen..economic slavery,is not a democracy..evict covid45

  9. Thanks, Norris. I’ll give this a try and pass it onto my grand-kids who are already doing stuff like this.

  10. Patrick writes, “Quit sitting there like morons when he is lying his ass off.”

    As a journalist, I can tell you what will happen to Jonathon — he won’t be able to line up any interviews with the political class. They’ll ignore his requests.

    The job description for a political journalist in the USA is to develop a network of local politicians to interview. This means kissing their ass and making them look good. As the editors will reiterate, the press industry is now a business, so it must be treated like one. The media wants storytellers — not constitutional press agents who hold the powerful people accountable.

    We have to “connect the dots” ourselves because the media is owned and operated by the entertainment industry who wants to tell us stories about the way things are today.

    Just imagine if they all did their constitutional jobs of holding the powerful accountable. They would all be on the same page, and the propaganda would slowly evaporate. They would communicate to the people how our country has morphed into an Oligarchy whose economic system favors capital over productive workers.

    When the last quarter’s GDP crashed 33%, and Wall Street maintains record highs, you know there are two different realities in this country that are gulfs apart. The NYSE used to be an economic indicator, but with easy money from the FED, it’s become detached from our reality.

    Also, when the media industry has lobbyists pushing for Citizens United while rebelling against reforms to the same policy, all we can do is “connect the dots.” The Oligarchs spend billions in political ads going directly into the media industry.

    Because the news industry is a business and part of Wall Street, it is not an objective viewer or a detached sector looking independently upon our political and economic oligarchs. They are not truth seekers. They are propaganda manufacturers catering to target markets of specific consumers.

  11. Peggy,
    the few who are left to interview trump,that can and wiill take him to task, are now the few left we respect,and how they got there..moreover,id like to not hear his voice when news channels on the air,mention something he said,deny the voice,and keep it caged,disregard any video view,of his bulk and face,make the story as irrelevent to his person over the content of the story..

    in fun though,id like to see George Carlin interview him,and Robin Williams do a stage representation of him in the oval office. im sure that would get some votes..but the best have left us for better waters..

  12. Norris,
    thanks, heres some tips alos,have a diffrent mail box,it will explode with junk,second,stay on the ad,and surf..make it look like your adding something and it will follow you. make sure you dump,da cookies when your done!!!! then start afreash.. but dump da cookies every time…otherwise,well cool now ya get to see who following you around if ya dont…

  13. Todd
    just caughht your opinion,er fact.. thanks glad i read outside the mainstreamand connect dots.the last 40 years have made a spiderweb of connected pieces and opinions that have run a course i still say is the end game.my opinion,but with facts be told by those who are still standing,we are near a endgame of magnitude beyond imagination of our countries future. unless the journaists come together as one in the next election and stand firm,we may just see our democracy crumble,and then get to read about it..

    i havent heard from Marv lately, any reason why?,,,thanks all..

  14. My apologies to the dainty among you, but I cannot resist this comment on the best news report of the week. That bit of breaking news was the story and picture of Jerry Falwell caught with his pants down. Literally.

  15. In defense of reporters not doing follow-up questions, the problem quite often is that Trump just takes questions from groups of reporters, such as at “press conferences.” All those reporters are desperately trying to get a chance to ask their question. So reporters often don’t get a chance to ask follow-up questions. It’s when Trump sits down with professional reporters like Chris Wallace and Jonathan Swan, that Trump is easily taken apart because he’s subject to follow-up questions that expose his BS. That’s why Trump will probably steer clear of those in the future…leaving press conferences and friendly Fox News personalities, like Sean Hannity and the people on Fox and Friends, to interview him, knowing they won’t ask tough follow-up questions

  16. I have been wondering about Marv, too, Jack. Donde? I had an exhange with a follower from Austin, Texas, last evening. She is multi-lingual and told me she had just had a conversation with an old friend, a German living in New Zealand, and that he told her that everyone outside the U.S. just cannot believe we have Trump for a president. Well, he is the president, albeit elected by a minority raw vote. As I often preach, we are where we are and it is time now to bear down like never before in ridding ourselves of this cancer on our democracy, and while in a narrow sense we might even feel sorry for this demented soul we cannot allow our country and its democratic values paid for in blood to go down the drain because our leader is ill and we are too yellow to apply #25.

    I knew all along that we were making a mistake in normalizing his conduct out of some mistaken notion that we could separate a president from the presidency. That turns out to be a copout and the presidency as an institution may take years to recover. Our task is to change personnel and to come up with sensible policies out of the chaos and save our democracy from this fruitcake and his enablers (read down ticket) – and we will.

  17. Theresa, what really got Falwell, Jr. in trouble was that a day or two after the boat picture, he was a guest on a radio program. He was trying to explain the circumstances behind the picture. But he was obviously inebriated, badly slurring his words. He announced he was stepping down the next day.

    Hmm, could it be that Falwell, Jr. is not the conservative leader some of us on the right thought he was? Well, at least we conservatives still have Wayne Lapierre left. He is certainly a man of virtue, committed to the cause, and would never abuse his position.

  18. Paul … your sarcasm and channeling the far right tongue is breath taking and well received. 😊

  19. Trump’s, or anyone’s , Malignant Narcissism is inclusive of several personality disorders, including Paranoid PD, Sociopathy, and more. The term was devised by psychoanalyst Eric Fromm, to describe Hitler, whose concentration camps Fromm survived.
    If the man has any sort of talent, it is to manipulate, as noted elsewhere.
    Todd’s points about interviewing cut to the chase, sadly. As a result thereof, people do not ask follow-up questions, one of which, years ago, might have saved us from the presidency of G.W.B., and the wars he took us into.

  20. Anyone who has followed Donald Trump, I from his bankruptcy days of the Atlantic City casinos, and most everyone from his “birther” days realized he was a scoundrel, liar and unfit to be president. When the media deal directly with Trump they assume everyone who is rational is on board knowing the con-man cannot be trusted about anything. Those who fail to grasp the total dishonesty of Trump will never learn no matter how often the media points out his lying.

  21. These days here and now should be another ongoing lesson in democracy of the risks of extremism and idolatry and modern marketing prowess.

  22. There you go again:
    Someone said “beyond imagination”. Maybe you should say “beyond my imagination”, or “beyond most people’s imagination”, or “beyond common ordinary everyday imagination”.

    It, whatever it is, certainly is not beyond my imagination. Nor the imagination of the creative class of the world: artists, poets, novelists, playwrites, etc. –minus musicians, I have to say.

    What we need is for the masses to respect the creative class more, listen to it more, take it more seriously, and elect it to office more often: more artists; less businessmen and engineers, like say, Trump and Hoover.

    Here’s a little story about the taboo of imagination. In early 2001, I had a novel ready for publishing. It began with terrorists crashing a plane into a skyscraper. I had an agent and a publisher looking at the book when actual planes hit the World Trade Center. At that moment, the book was a no-no. I was asked to change the beginning, not because such a thing as terrorists flying planes into buildings was a literary none starter but because the book would hit shelves AFTER the 9-11 tragedy and every critic would ridicule my lack of imagination and condemn my using the tragedy for profit.

    The point is I easily imagined and committed to paper that tragedy, BEFORE it happened, gory details of it, a tragedy which everyone following the event said, with piled on authority of ignorant assumption, was impossible to imagine. Even leaders in the Bush administration screamed their claim of non-responsibility because “no one could have imagined such a thing”.

    Whoever you are, do not presume everyone is as imagination-challenged as you feel yourself to be; maybe you are more capable than you think. For certain, you would be more capable if you gave your imagination permission to work.

    I used to give “Larry Talks” to groups of parents of artistic children. My goal was to encourage young artists. But almost without exception their parents wanted me to kill the imagination virus in their children. The parents were afraid–fear raises its trembling head again–that imagination and artistic talent would ruin their child’s chances of financial success and respect among peers. Now, if you want to cling to something that is beyond imagination, that parental attitude comes close to filling the bill. It does though explain where our fear of imagination comes from.

    It’s a wonder to me that our country produces the breakthroughs that it does. In my study of that phenomenom, it seems to me that most of our great imaginative/creative people were motivated in their youth more by revolt against parental and societal restrictions than by encouragement to follow their imaginations. Sad.

  23. Interesting…
    Pete: You said, “Keep your eye on the prize and we shall overcome” immediately following Theresa’s graphic mention of Falwell with his pants down. Now, that’s a laugh.

  24. The POTUS may be crazy, he may be narcissistic and a sociopathic psychopath, but, since he’s always been that way, he knows how to manipulate it. It’s just on a grander scale now. Why stop covert 19? Sure it’s killing some of his own, but it’s ravaging the black and Latino communities even worse. If he can put enough fear into those communities where they will not come out, or the voting age population has been depleted from this pandemic, he’s boosted his chances.

    And, he could declare a national emergency, thereby proclaiming martial law, suspend habeas corpus, run the courts as military tribunals, and hope the military doesn’t interfere and him delaying or abating the election. Like I said before, there will be blood! But also, as I said before, if it’s time, it’s time!

    Either way, it’s not going to be a picnic for anyone. But, there has to be some retribution for those who are taking information from the Russians and using it in their committees for an October surprise, there is no redemption in that sort of behavior. I mean, you would have to say, it’s treason! And, those individuals should be forced to register as foreign agents, and if they won’t do it voluntarily, there should be a law passed (If) Biden’s successful, and list them as foreign agents. Foreign agents should not be allowed to serve in government or law enforcement. The NRA would fit that bill also.

  25. “i still say the whole country is given to wall street and as money maker for the rich while we just watch it happen..economic slavery,is not a democracy…”- Jack Smith

    Yes, Jack, this is THE CORE DISEASE of America that many folks on this blog seem to either dismiss or water down. Why?

    Until there is Real Democracy among blue collar, poverty wage, “economic slave(ry)” workers who actually make/sell the largely plastic crap the Capitalist make their billions on, there will NEVER be a stable economy and, hence, a stable society. PERIOD.

    Some here think that putting lipstick social programs ala FDR would “fix” or make tolerable this inherently pig shitty Capitalistic System. It will not. Why?

    Because as we see, those same 1% pigs will STILL buy off our government at all levels. Yes, Virginia, money is indeed power in America. Our politicians of BOTH parties have so many corporate “sponsors” that it makes a Formula One race car driver both envious and pathetic.

    As I have stated before, the media (and some on this blog) seem to be fixated with Trump’s obvious character flaws, sociopath behaviors and speech, etc, etc, etc. I don’t think there is anything new here. He was a nut 20 years ago and a nut now. Dangerous? Of course. Move on.

    The REAL question, in my opinion, is what are the ROOT conditions within our political and economic system (again, in America, they are hand and glove) that not only allowed a despot like Trump to come along to hold the most powerful office in the world, but more important, CREATED that possibility, that pathway, to begin with?

    The ONLY thing needed for despots to thrive is to create the conditions where the population is open (if not eager) to want and desire that “strongman” to “fix” things.

    It seems very obvious to me that our political/economic system did/has created “the conditions” necessary for Trump “the tough guy” to be elected, much less even noticed.

    To me, THE most powerful condition this non-binary system of politics and economy in America created was/is a massive population (arguably the Majority of people) desperately living, LITERALLY, paycheck to paycheck of survival with no safety nets, no savings, little to no retirement, no back up plan or plan B, little to no benefits, little to no health care (affordable…whatever that means), which all equals NO HOPE for a better future for themselves or their children and grandchildren.

    This condition, alone, is all that’s necessary for Despots to arrive on the scene to “make us great again.”

    In fact, this condition is so pervasive and long running (40 + years) that one of the LARGEST blocks of voters in America HAVE GIVEN UP VOTING AT ALL. This fact alone should have been ringing bells among the intelligentsia who claim to care in this country. In ALL of the voting Democracies in the world, we are nearly dead last in voting participation. This has been true LONG BEFORE “voter suppression,” “redistricting” and all the other (legit) reasons became cool to talk about more recently.

    Well….I will still wait to hear from the good folk on here to address these facts of “conditions created” that has brought us to this crazy and insane state we live in today….. cheers.

  26. Brad,
    those numbers on wall street,thats the living wage the working class gives the investors..via the elected and the bought and paid for,, simple math, who wants to give the people who do the work any living wage,when theres still attitude to have the right to kick someone when theor down..ugly,but fact

  27. Very true, like you say, simple subtraction from Labour cost to addition for Investor/CEO/Board. Not rocket science. As I have said before, nothing has changed since the end of the Revolutionary War except how far those profits travel. Instead to the Crown King George across the pond, they now go to the local banks (or shell accounts) and investment firms of their Wall Street cronies. Labour has been shit on since the first capitalist decided to grow seed outside his cave on land he declared his and got others to do the planting, watering, weeding, nurturing, protecting (the duel role of foot soldier and field worker!) and the harvesting. Ugly indeed. I would add obscene, violent and death dealing to the masses, then and now.

  28. The question is — “What is the role of the journalist?”
    Is it to make money for their corporations?
    Is ti to ingratiate themselves to the powerful in order to obtain greater access?
    Is it to read press releases?
    Is it to report the facts, the true facts as best that they can determine?

    “Pundits” have failed by trying to analyze the “brilliant” strategy of Glorious Leader.
    Journalists have failed by reporting every utterance of Glorious Leader as “he said/she said”.
    Journalists should have referred to the “press conferences” as “campaign speeches”, because most were just that.
    Journalists have for years been so fearful as being labeled “biased” and “liberal” that they bend over backwards to avoid ugly truths.
    I am reminded of when Saturday Night Live was attacked for “liberal bias” and responded by having some truly stupid skits, like where they spent the time with a mocking newscast where they targeted properly pronouncing words and names of Spanish origin, strongly emphasizing “Junta” and “Jorge” like this was humor. Of course the “politically incorrect” writers of that script knew that mispronunciation, like anti-intellectualism, is the true godly, American way.

    Maybe that is why we need good political blogs.

    Paul – love the sarcasm

  29. Yes, Trump is a malignant narcissist and probably a sociopath, according to his niece, Dr. Mary Trump, but what worries me are the things we haven’t even thought of as he continues losing in the polls and becomes more and more desperate to stop the drubbing that is coming his way in November. His fragile ego cannot handle rejection, and because he is a sociopath and therefore incapable of experiencing empathy, and because he is a narcissist and must “win” at all costs, we are in for a bumpy ride. He’s going to go after Biden and his entire family with a meat hook, hoping that some of the blows and outrageous lies will nevertheless pay off. He’ll try again to get other countries to come up with dirt on Biden and his family. He’s already accused Biden of being against God. Before you laugh out loud at the hypocrisy of this, don’t forget that some 30% or so of Americans fall for this manure. Then you have the Trumpsters who think they are sophisticated, and that Trump’s endless lying is all just a “hoax” by mainstream media, that coronavirus is nothing but a version of seasonal flu, that children are immune, and that hydroxychloroquine is an effective treatment (because Democrats got the FDA to lie about studies, and that “demon sperm” doctor said it was a cure).

    As others have pointed out, the really dangerous period will be between November and January after he loses because his embarrassment will turn to vengeance. We’ve seen how vengeful he can be: just as Sally Yates, Lt. Col Vindman and even Dr. Fauci.

    How far might he go in repaying Putin, and how deeply indebted is he to Russians? If he loses and Russians went to the DOJ and turned over documents, Trump could well end up in prison. Where, besides Germany, might he remove troops, what documents and secrets might he give to Putin to set up Joe Biden for failure or what other actions might he take to get even? This is why the U.S. cannot allow a dangerous narcissist who is also a sociopath access to the nuclear codes and state secrets. Mary Trump points out in her book that Donald is indeed dangerous, and that no one has ever really loved him, so he has nothing to lose. America needs Republicans to stand against Trump and the media that enables him. Our future depends on it. I remain skeptical because even with 5 million + coronavirus cases, no coordinated federal guidance on opening schools, and his flouting of the sole power of Congress to lay and forgive taxes, they do nothing. They refuse to respond to the Democrats’ offer to lower the amount to be appropriated, with no response by Republicans, who are insisting on liability protection. Maybe this was by design–to give Trump an opportunity to appear magnanimous and to dump on Democrats.

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