One around 9:30 a.m., one around 4:30 p.m.
Twice a day, White House staff members prepare folders full of flattering, positive news for President Donald Trump, reports Alex Thompson for Vice News.
The “folders are filled with screenshots of positive cable news chyrons (those lower-third headlines and crawls), admiring tweets, transcripts of fawning TV interviews, praise-filled news stories, and sometimes just pictures of Trump on TV looking powerful,” Thompson reported on Tuesday.
Three former and current White House officials described the routine to Vice.
Former press secretary Sean Spicer disputed the nature of the folder’s contents. A current White House official told Vice that Spicer and former chief of staff Reince Priebus came up with the idea to show the president they could create positive coverage for him.
In a tweet on Tuesday, Spicer referred to Thompson’s account as “click bait.” (He mistakenly attributed the story to Vox.)
Vice reported that the folders have not appeared as frequently since Spicer and Priebus left their positions, now mostly used after public events such as Trump’s speech last month to the National Boy Scouts Jamboree.
“While I won’t comment on materials we share with the president, this is not accurate on several levels,” Spicer told Vice in an email, though he did not specify what was inaccurate.
White House officials who spoke to CNN Money also disputed the characterization of the packets but verified that Trump receives a collection of TV news screenshots and chyrons after various events. They said the information is not restricted to only positive coverage.
“How is it odd that the president receives daily news clips? It would be odd if he didn’t,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told CNNMoney in an email.
“Also this is a modern President that understands the impact of social media, cable news, etc.”
One White House official, who was not named, said some staffers call it the “the propaganda packet.”
Trump is known to pay close attention to how he is portrayed in the media.
He watches morning news shows and has responded to them on Twitter, sometimes in real time as he did in June when he tweeted insults at the hosts of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” after they discussed his tweeting habits.
Newsweek referred to the good-news folders as “an attempt to soothe a man notorious for flying off the handle on social media in reaction to news coverage that displeases him.”
Every White House monitors its media coverage, Vice pointed out. The Obama administration had three people watching social media, the Internet, print media and cable news; references deemed relevant were shared with White House aides, according to Vice.
However, “it is safe to say that President Obama was never given and never requested a packet of clips about chyrons of any kind,” Jen Psaki, a former Obama White House communications director and now CNN contributor, told CNN Money.
Vice reported that Trump’s packets are prepared with help from staffers in the Republican National Committee’s “war room.” Some days, when good news came up short, White House communications staff members have asked RNC staff to find flattering photos of Trump, the website reported.
“The RNC is always going to work to defend the White House, the administration, and its members of Congress, and our war room’s efforts help capture and drive how our team can echo that defense,” RNC spokeswoman Lindsay Jancek told Vice.