Trump’s Health: Reading the Social Media Walls

 

President TrumpDipping into social media and even official government information sources this weekend calls to mind Cold War Kremlinology. Back in the Cold War, there was a pseudoscience of Kremlinology and of “reading the walls” in China. Both involved reading into or interpreting what was said or written and not said or not written. Who appeared, where, when, with whom? Who was absent this year at event X? What was mentioned on the public walls, and what had disappeared? With the president’s health status entirely politicized, what might the truth be?

I suggest three sources for analysis: the White House YouTube channel, the White House news page, and President Trump’s Twitter account. You can access all of these without special applications or accounts. Look for two things: volume and what is or is not said.

The White House YouTube channel has only posted two videos since Thursday. It was silent Friday. Saturday and Sunday both feature one video, the short press briefings by white lab coat clad doctors, with Dr. Sean Conley (a Navy medical officer). So, no one is driving the usual high volume of new content. Indeed, the President is using Twitter, with its short video function, instead of both platforms.

The Saturday press briefing took just over 12 minutes:

The Sunday press briefing ran just under ten minutes:

The White House news page is slightly busier. It shows President Trump is still doing routine work, signing proclamations. No one is converting President Trump’s Twitter video remarks into transcripts. Nor are they turning Dr. Sean Conley’s words into transcripts. Here is what the website looks like over the course of President Trump’s COVID-19 infection, confirmed late evening October 1:

October 2: 

October 3:

This was the content of the White House news webpage as of 7pm East Coast Time on Sunday, October 4. The volume was typical, with the exception of the flurry of memos from a field grade officer physician being buffetted and responding with a stream of memos on October 2, when perhaps he should have passed the very first one by the medical center commander, as a second set of eyes with a lot of experience dealing with public statements.

For a direct view of President Trump, you need to go to his Twitter account. After his October 1 evening announcement that he and First Lady Melania Trump tested positive for COVID-19, October 2 was strikingly quiet, with only two tweets. The first was the short video of him announcing he tested postive. This was in the White House and in the trademark suit and tie. He then wrote “Doing welI, I think! Thank you to all. LOVE!!!”

On Saturday, October 3, we saw another video, this one with the president in an office in the medical center. He was not wearing a tie. It did not have the same production value as the White House video, looking more like a homemade smartphone video. He also fired off two other tweets:

Doctors, Nurses and ALL at the GREAT Walter Reed Medical Center, and others from likewise incredible institutions who have joined them, are AMAZING!!!Tremendous progress has been made over the last 6 months in fighting this PLAGUE. With their help, I am feeling well!

OUR GREAT USA WANTS & NEEDS STIMULUS. WORK TOGETHER AND GET IT DONE. Thank you!

On Sunday, October 4, President Trump unleased nine tweets, a mix of retweets with comment and original tweets. He highlighted the Arizona race, promoting Martha McSally. He thanked all his supporters who had shown up outside the hospital:

I really appreciate all of the fans and supporters outside of the hospital. The fact is, they really love our Country and are seeing how we are MAKING IT GREATER THAN EVER BEFORE!

You may read into all of this what you will. Others certainly are doing so. I think the president looks better today than yesterday, although not as good as Friday. That, in part, is a matter of professional lighting on Friday, so we really have two days of visual and three days of audio for comparison.

 

 

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  1. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    You are an astounding journalist, CAB!

    • #1
  2. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    Absolutely LOVED his little trip to thank the supporters. Looking forward to the even more powerful President Trump after his recovery!

    • #2
  3. DonG (skeptic) Coolidge
    DonG (skeptic)
    @DonG

    Rodin (View Comment):

    Absolutely LOVED his little trip to thank the supporters. Looking forward to the even more powerful President Trump after his recovery!

    Hopefully this episode will help with all the misinformation.  Americans think tens of millions of fellow Americans have died from Rona.  The Media has created a massive amount of ignorance and fear.  That is the opposite of what journalists should do.

     

    • #3
  4. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    We’ve become such a completely dysfunctional family in this country. It’s very frustrating to watch. 

    When a couple gets divorced and the mother or father constantly disparages the other parent, they rob the kids of their parents because the kids don’t know whom to believe, or worse, the kids take sides and end up never getting to know one of the parents at all. So even when there is something good and important to be learned from the parent they’ve been taught to reject, they miss it.

    I feel as though I’m looking at the same thing. Here is the president giving Americans a lot of hope and usable and concrete knowledge about where we stand with available treatments for the pandemic virus. People have not had anyone update them and inform them on what’s available in the way the Walter Reed Hospital doctors are doing. They are describing state-of-the-art treatment options and protocols. We should be hanging on every word. These guys are the experts in this field. 

    The country should feel optimistic and excited about the future and certainly less afraid of the virus. And they would be learning a lot. Instead, they turn away because the Democratic Party leaders have so thoroughly discredited the Republican president.

    When families fall apart in this way, there are so many victims. I think that’s what’s happened here in the United States. It has been gradual, just as divorce is usually the end of the story, but just as insidious and destructive. There are a few laws on the books in some states against “alienation of affection” that refer to one parent discrediting the other parent to the children. It’s interesting that legislators in some states realized at some point in their history how damaging it was to the kids to do that. 

    • #4
  5. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    MarciN (View Comment):
    There are a few laws on the books in some states against “alienation of affection” that refer to one parent discrediting the other parent to the children.

    Interesting. I had never heard of that term used for parent-child relationships. I thought it referred to a situation when  you interfered with the affection between your neighbor and his wife.

    • #5
  6. Jon1979 Lincoln
    Jon1979
    @Jon1979

    DonG (skeptic) (View Comment):

    Rodin (View Comment):

    Absolutely LOVED his little trip to thank the supporters. Looking forward to the even more powerful President Trump after his recovery!

    Hopefully this episode will help with all the misinformation. Americans think tens of millions of fellow Americans have died from Rona. The Media has created a massive amount of ignorance and fear. That is the opposite of what journalists should do.

     

    I’m assuming if Trump is allowed to return to the White House on Monday or Tuesday to finish his recovery there, following his spin outside Walter Reed today, that will push the angry woke types more towards the “Trump never had coronavirus, and just did it to win sympathy after losing the debate” talking points by mid-week, and away from the “Trump risked himself and others by not wearing a mask and taking all precautions“, which won out as the progressive types’ default position on Saturday, after both memes were in play following the initial announcement early Friday morning.

    They most certainly aren’t going to allow a fast recovery by Trump to lower the narrative that a COVID diagnosis is at least one-third of the way to a death sentence (at least not until Nov. 4), so any quick turnaround will likely be explained as not actually being a turnaround, because Trump was never infected (which would then force them to also memory hole the Amy Coney Barrett super-spreader event meme, but after spending all summer massively memory-holing riots by Antifa and BLM, flipping preferred talking points on Trump here would be a piece of cake).

     

    • #6
  7. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    He’s still working for his country:

    • #7
  8. DrewInWisconsin, Man of Constant Sorrow Member
    DrewInWisconsin, Man of Constant Sorrow
    @DrewInWisconsin

    I thought the subject said “Reading the social media wails,” . . .

    • #8
  9. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    From my personal blog:

    https://rushbabe49.com/2020/10/03/rushbabe49-wishes-president-trump-and-first-lady-speedy-recovery-from-wuhan-coronavirus/

     

     

    • #9
  10. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    DrewInWisconsin, Man of Consta… (View Comment):

    I thought the subject said “Reading the social media wails,” . . .

    Not inaccurate.

    • #10