How Will the Press Cover A President That Is Mentally Unstable?
“Trust me,” Trump said, “I’m, like, a smart person.”
The unspoken and emerging realization is that President Donald Trump suffers from mental stability, specifically a “Narcissistic Personality Disorder.”
While making any psychiatric diagnosis without actually having frequent meetings with a person is based on educated conjecture, it is not without precedent. Historians, intelligence agencies and academics have tried to diagnose the mental state and stability of world leaders and public figures before. This list includes Hitler, Ho Chi Minh, Nikita Khrushchev, Fidel Castro, Menachem Begin, Anwar Sadat, Moammar Qaddafi, Saddam Hussein, Leonardo Da Vinci, and Jean-Bertrand Aristide to name a few, who agents and academics offered a diagnosis without ever having met them. So despite the caveats about offering a diagnosis without ever having examined these individuals, this is an acceptable form of analysis because they were world leaders who had an impact on world events.
And today, Donald Trump is no exception.
In numerous articles, including this excellent essay in The Atlantic and this important article in the Huffington Post, numerous psychiatrists and psychologists believe Donald Trump has some personality characteristics that clearly put him in a narcissistic category and these do not bode well in a leadership capacity. And more people publicly are coming to this same conclusion.
“‘While only in office since Friday, President Donald Trump is already proving to be emotionally unstable, even to members of his own party. After boasting about his inauguration crowd size at the CIA headquarters, Trump doubled down on debunked voter fraud theories; still believing that ‘three million’ Californians voted illegally,’ according to Carl Bernstein of Watergate fame, Trump’s behavior is both unprecedented and highly disconcerting,” according to a story in AlterNet (Jan. 26, 2017.)
According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), there are nine criteria for “Narcissistic Personality Disorder” (NPD). If an individual has five out of the nine “they have a confirmed diagnosis of this illness. Many individuals have ‘traits’ of narcissism, but only about 1% of the population has clinical NPD.”
Even worse, NPD is incurable and progressive, the doctors state in this article, “Is Donald Trump Mentally Ill? 3 Professors Of Psychiatry Ask President Obama To Conduct ‘A Full Medical And Neuropsychiatric Evaluation.’”
In the words of a psychiatrist Judith Herman, M.D., of the Harvard Medical School, while “professional standards do not permit us to venture a diagnosis for a public figure that we have not evaluated personally. Nevertheless, his widely reported symptoms of mental instability — including grandiosity, impulsivity, hypersensitivity to slights or criticism, and an apparent inability to distinguish between fantasy and reality — lead us to question his fitness for the immense responsibilities of the office.”
For the press, this mental disorder poses a real challenge since they have never covered a president with a clinical mental illness like this.
The request the psychiatrists made to outgoing President Obama was never honored, but this interesting article lists all of the criteria for this disorder and they will help explain Trump’s past and future behavior. It also explains his everyday obsessions, such as why Trump persistently insists that the crowd at his inauguration was not as big as officials stated or that millions of illegal voters cost him the popular vote. Both of these Trump assertions were widely repudiated.
This article then goes on to show the specific traits of NPD. Readers are free to agree with how these clinical traits match against what they see in the public displays of Trump’s behavior. You can then make your own decision, even if you are not a psychiatrist.
Can the Press Cover a President With NPD?
For the press, serious allegations about this mental disorder poses a real challenge. This is because the press have never covered a president with a clinical mental illness. But due to the press’ professionalism and respect for the office, it seems the press will not publicly address Trump’s problems, but will focus on his erratic, unpredictable and vindictive behavior as if it is a “normal” behavior for this president, without mentioning his NPD.
Unfortunately for many of us, this evasive coverage will allow the 24-hour news machine to guess, editorialize and engage in endless conjecture about Trump’s irrational behavior in an attempt to make it seem rational or “normal,” when in fact it is not. But for the people who have access to Trump, his NPD leaves Trump open to manipulation by clever advisors who can play his illness to their own benefit.
In the past, major newspapers have not published news that they considered important to “national security interests” and the missed opportunities to publish self-imposed embargoed news ended in national disasters. Think the Bay of Pigs, the fake Tonkin Gulf attack that led to U.S. involvement in Viet Nam, and more recently, the story that Russian hackers had penetrated the Democratic National Committee or that investigations were underway between the Trump campaign and Russians weeks before the election. Had the media (specifically the New York Times or Washington Post) published these stories, we would have avoided the Cuban fiasco, and possibly saved John Kennedy’s life, the prolonged war in Viet Nam or even the Trump presidential victory.
Of course, this is all historical conjecture, but it is legitimate for journalists to re-examine their own profession to see if covering Trump’s term should be done without ever mentioning or considering that he has a serious case of NPD that may affect the entire nation.
But for citizens who are not bound by these self-imposed journalistic constraints, this important article should be mandatory reading since it provides a possible reason why this administration and the people it attracts will be dangerous for the country’s long-term positive growth.
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