Quantcast
Connect with us

Yale psychiatrist traces Trump’s Fox feud back to a simplistic way of thinking that most people grow out of in childhood

Published

on

This article was paid for by Raw Story subscribers. Not a subscriber? Try us and go ad-free for $1. Prefer to give a one-time tip? Click here.

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump berated Fox News on Twitter.

In response, Fox News host Neil Cavuto informed the president that the network is not his personal propaganda channel. He had especially harsh words for Trump supporters who demand complete fealty to the president from Fox News hosts.

“All right, well, I think the president watches Fox,” Cavuto said. “I also think he is getting sick of Fox, which is weird because I think he gets pretty fair coverage at Fox,” he added.

ADVERTISEMENT

“But the president making clear to fact-check him is to be all but dead to him and his legion of supporters, who let me know in no uncertain terms I am either with him totally, or I am a never-Trumper fully.”

He denounced the lack of nuance in the discourse.

“There are no grays, no middle ground,” he said. “You’re either all-in or you’re just out; loyal on everything or not to be trusted on anything.”

Raw Story spoke with Dr. Bandy X. Lee, a forensic psychiatrist and violence expert at Yale School of Medicine, about the president’s feud with Fox. She was one of a handful of psychiatrists to consult with the World Health Organization on its launch of a public health approach to global violence prevention and is author of the textbook, “Violence.” At the onset of the current presidency, she held an ethics conference on the importance of mental health professionals to speak up and compiled the public-service book, “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump.” She also convened a panel to assess the president’s mental capacity based on the Mueller report as well as a working group on an expert panel for performing independent fitness-for-duty tests. Now, she is authoring a “profile of the nation” that can serve as a primer for addressing mental disorder at societal scale (more information at: dangerouscase.org).

ADVERTISEMENT

Raw Story: Trump seems to be in an escalating war with Fox News. First of all, can you delve in this idea that the president would even think the network works for his administration?

Bandy X. Lee: As you know, we have been predicting the president’s course for a long time, based on probability, and he has followed exactly the course we foresaw along the exact timeline we estimated. None of this is surprising to us. Totalitarian governments are nothing other than psychologically disordered individuals seizing power, and the people letting them do it. People may have laughed at Donald Trump’s comical self-aggrandizement, or calculated that they could use his mental weaknesses to advance another agenda, such as judges and tax cuts. Both are gross underestimations.

What I realize, from the way the media, politicians, and the public have been struggling, is that people simply have a hard time appreciating—not just understanding—the profound dangers that mental pathology brings. Also, they respond almost in the opposite direction of proper management. Why do we have such a hard time calling out unprecedented falsification of truths as lies? Why can we not call him a racist when he is no less than the greatest instigator of white supremacist terrorism? Why do we not dare broach the subject of impeachment when he apparently has met about a dozen offenses?

ADVERTISEMENT

It is because pathology is of a magnitude people are unfamiliar with, and they become overwhelmed when what is needed is severe limit setting and containment. Rather, they look away or give into the tirades and intimidation, hoping he will calm down or reduce his demands. But the opposite is true—with time, there can only be grotesque worsening of symptoms with the granting of more power. He is now “the King of Israel,” “the Chosen One,” one who can simply order companies to return to the United States, and now someone who can pardon people who break the law. It is only consistent that he expect a media network to serve his every whim.

Raw Story: In response, Neil Cavuto blasted the president, saying that the network doesn’t work for the Trump administration. What do you make of this feud?

Lee: I do not know specifically about Mr. Cavuto, but both Mr. Trump and his followers are generally of a “primitive” psychology that responds in a binary way. The usual cycle, then, is that there is an “idealization” period when either side believes the other is a savior who can rescue them from all problems. As no such fulfillment exists in reality, inevitable disappointment turns into “devaluation,” where nothing is redeemable in the other person. Most people grow out of this simplistic way of relating in childhood, but we have seen Mr. Trump repeat numerous cycles of this, from Jeff Sessions to Michael Cohen. Eventually, all relationships are exhausted until the person is alone.

ADVERTISEMENT

Raw Story: Perhaps the most disturbing part is Cavuto’s that Trump supporters have contacted him to say “I am either with him totally, or I am a Never Trumper fully.”

Lee: Much of this problem has actually originated with Fox News. In fact, in the early days of Fox News when I was fresh out of training, I developed extreme concerns about the effects of calling such distortions of facts as “news” on the collective mental health of the country. Lo and behold, when Mr. Trump was first elected, I recognized it as the culmination of this thought reform.

I recently appeared on a right-wing radio talk show, as I always try to accept invitations onto “conservative” media, no matter how small, in order to reach a different audience. During the interview, I hardly had a chance to get a word in edgewise, but unexpectedly it became a valuable first-hand experiment on how a host might operate. I will not say names, but that he allows the audience to call him “the Great One” should be very telling. He employed an interrogation style that made clear he was framing me, and the setup I actually recognized from Dr. Robert Jay Lifton’s documentation of Chinese Communist brainwashing sessions. The subjects of brainwashing were the audience, not me, but he was demonstrating to the audience what to think and not think. Anyhow, there is too much for me to get into for the time we have, but I will be putting this research into a “profile of the nation” I am writing.

ADVERTISEMENT

Raw Story: Wow, that’s incredible. What is the dynamic between the president and his followers?

Lee: It is a dynamic that did not start with this presidency—although it acutely exacerbates it—but with the brainwashing of the country over decades. People speak of technology and social media, but the first problem I can identify is the psychological effect of allowing Fox News to be called “news,” and then filling the informational milieu with thought-controlling radio shows. Have you noticed how Mr. Trump’s supporters—at least the visible ones—are very conformist, eager to look and behave alike? Their wearing the same hat, chanting the same phrases, and responding back with seemingly pre-set talking points (for me it is usually, “What about Hillary, did you evaluate her?”)—these characteristics are what one would expect from brainwashing at massive scale.

One of the reasons I am writing my profile of the nation is because we have very few tools for diagnosing and treating society when a society falls ill and conforms into unhealthy patterns.

Raw Story: It seems like we have moment after moment where one could arguably apply the 25th amendment–and then the next crazy thing happens and everyone forgets. Do you have any thoughts about the dynamic of this news cycle?

ADVERTISEMENT

Lee: The media, frankly, is ill-equipped to cover the issue appropriately. What we need is to bring in the emergency team—and to continue not to consult mental health experts would be absurd.

This article was paid for by Raw Story subscribers. Not a subscriber? Try us and go ad-free for $1. Prefer to give a one-time tip? Click here.


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Trump flip-flops on meeting with Iran with ‘no preconditions’– then blames it on the media

Published

on

President Donald Trump went off on the "fake news media" yet again, after his own appointees announced he was willing to meet with Iran.

"The Fake News is saying that I am willing to meet with Iran, 'No Conditions.' That is an incorrect statement (as usual!)," Trump tweeted.

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1173371482812162048

In an odd twist, Trump announced just three months ago he'd be willing to meet with no preconditions.

“Not as far as I’m concerned – no preconditions,” the president said in a Meet the Press interview. At another point in the interview, he also said: “I think they want to make a deal. And my deal is nuclear.”

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Internet fears Trump’s ‘locked and loaded’ tweet about oil field bomb means he’s gearing up for war with Iran

Published

on

the largest U.S. oil producer can be brought to its knees with a drone carrying a bomb. President Donald Trump responded to intelligence that the drone didn't originate in Yemen, but rather from Iraq or Iran, by saying he was "locked and loaded."

"Saudi Arabia oil supply was attacked. There is reason to believe that we know the culprit, are locked and loaded depending on verification, but are waiting to hear from the Kingdom as to who they believe was the cause of this attack, and under what terms we would proceed!" Trump tweeted Sunday.

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1173368423381962752

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

3 out of 9 companies in one state have filed for bankruptcy since Trump promised to ‘bring back coal’

Published

on

Donald Trump in coal hard hat thumbs up

President Donald Trump's promises to coal miners have fallen along with his other broken campaign promises. Another state is facing the harsh reality that Trump is not riding in on a white horse to save them.

According to Axios, three out of the nine coal companies in the Powder River Basin in northeastern Wyoming have filed for bankruptcy and another two companies are consolidating. Kentucky coal miners have been protesting Blackjewl, which filed for bankruptcy in July, withdrawing payroll dollars from miners' accounts. Little has been heard about the Wyoming workers as those companies crumble, however.

Continue Reading
 
 
Help Raw Story Uncover Injustice. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1. Go ad-free.
close-image