A new tell-all by an ex-White House staffer hits the shelves at the end of the month promising juicy details from inside President Donald Trump’s administration.
One of those is his reported fixation on cable news chyrons, the all-caps banners that blare from the bottom of TV screens.
The account of the president’s obsession is told in Team of Vipers by Cliff Sims, a former communications employee and Trump ally.
According to Axios, which previewed the book, Trump allegedly had staffers assemble printed pages of the chyrons for review after his televised speeches.
An excerpt made public by the outlet characterized the practice as routine.
When the President would deliver a speech somewhere outside of D.C., the research team would take screenshots of all the chyrons that aired while he was speaking. Then, adding those images to headlines and tweets from influential reporters and pundits, they would race to print out a packet before Trump made it back to the White House.
The reason behind Trump’s chyron captivation, Sims writes, comes down to viewers who watch the news on mute.
The former insider recalls being told by the president that “it’s those words, those sometimes beautiful, sometimes nasty words that matter.”
But the hangups apparently don’t end there. Sims also describes Trump as having “consumed TV like the late Roger Ebert must have watched movies,” looking at graphics, sets, outfit choices, lighting and other aesthetic elements.
In one set of critiques, Sims writes the president even bashed Fox News for its visuals, despite the fact that the network is a known favorite of Trump’s.
“The graphics on Fox are the absolute worst — are you looking at this?” he said at one point. “CNN and MSNBC are both so much better. I hate to say it — honestly, I really hate to say it — but MSNBC has the best graphics. Fox is the best — they have the best talent. I mean, look at the rest of these people. They can’t believe what’s happening right now. But Fox’s graphics are terrible. They’ve got to do something about it.”
On Sunday, The New York Times reported that some administration officials are worried about the book’s release, as they’ve been with others, and have questioned the credibility of certain of Sims’ anecdotes.
Still, the Times pointed out that real-time reporting has supported the book’s overall portrayal of Trump.