NY Times: Trump Doesn’t Read ‘A Word,’ Pro-Trump Books Belong in ‘Conspiracy’ Section

December 2nd, 2018 3:53 PM

Saturday’s New York Times featured unhidden, extraneous hostility toward the president’s reading habits, in a snarky story more fitting to Sunday Styles or the opinion section then the news section. In “Books Trump Can Praise Without Reading a Word,” Katie Rogers quickly termed pro-Trump books from the likes of Jeanine Pirro and Gregg Jarrett to be “conspiracy theory.”

That’s a term the Times would never apply to conspiratorial liberal journalists like Jane Mayer, who spread unsubstantiated stories about Brett Kavanaugh, or anti-conservative conspiracy theory books like Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America by Nancy MacLean. In fact, McLean’s book got gushing approval in a Times' review.

Rogers specializes in non-journalistic fan notes to prominent Democrats like Hillary and Chelsea Clinton, certainly not ALL CAPS-using dummies like Trump:

President Trump, a leader who is not exactly a man of letters -- at least not beyond those on his CAPS LOCK keyboard -- has been using his Twitter account to promote a slew of books that he regards as “incredible,” “terrific” and “great originals.”

At least six books, presumably in the running to line the conspiracy theory section of the future Trump presidential library, have titles like “Spygate: The Attempted Sabotage of Donald J. Trump” and “The Russia Hoax.” The authors are supporters like Jeanine Pirro, a longtime friend whose book “Liars, Leakers, and Liberals: The Case Against the Anti-Trump Conspiracy,” has, according to the president, aptly explained “the phony Witch Hunt.”

Most of the titles given an Oprah’s-book-club-like stamp by the president have authors who mirror his view that there are forces within the government intent on bringing him down. And some contain their share of Trump-friendly declarations that do not necessarily track with the truth: “The Russia collusion investigation is over,” Ms. Pirro wrote in her book. (It’s not.)


Yet the question remains: Has Mr. Trump read any of the titles he has asked Americans to read? He has been upfront about the lack of time and attention he can give to reading, and he has gone back and forth between publicly declaring his love of reading but also telling the world he does not read much.

Rogers reliably found liberal writers to state as a fact the idea that Trump doesn’t read.

People who have observed him over the years are skeptical of his interests in the literary realm.

“He doesn’t read at all. I’m not overstating things here,” said Timothy L. O’Brien, who wrote “TrumpNation: The Art of Being the Donald.” “He lacks the patience, curiosity and self-awareness to be a good reader, and that’s why aides and advisers know the best way to communicate complex thoughts to him is with pictures and charts, or simply verbally.”

Mr. Trump’s habit of critiquing books but not reading them is just another way he differs from many of his predecessors, several of whom were also authors, and who espoused a love for reading.

Barack Obama still shares his regular reading lists, and he interviewed at least one author during the course of his presidency. He also said that he read books that offered viewpoints that countered his own.

It marks a 180 degree tilt from how the paper regularly praised President Barack Obama for... reading. Here’s the paper’s former chief book critic Michiko Kakutani as Obama departed office in January 2017:

During his eight years in the White House -- in a noisy era of information overload, extreme partisanship and knee-jerk reactions -- books were a sustaining source of ideas and inspiration, and gave him a renewed appreciation for the complexities and ambiguities of the human condition.