If there's a theme to Olivia Nuzzi's "Donald Trump and Sean Hannity Like to Talk Before Bedtime," in New York Magazine, it's that both men can function only in their own little world. The real one is too threatening, too dissonant, too confusing.
Among Trump's "cleared callers" at the White House (other than family members), are the likeminded from his own socioeconomic class: billionaire Stephen Schwarzman, billionaire Rupert Murdoch, billionaire Tom Barrack, billionaire Robert Kraft. And then there's "starfucker" Hannity, who lives like a billionaire and thinks like Trump, which means relentless self-reinforcement not of ideology but of comforting ideas. Plus Hannity "actually likes him," said a person familiar with them both, even if "he knows how nuts he is."
The two generally speak each evening after Hannity's latest primetime rant. The president's mornings, of course, are reserved for isolation, tweeting and Fox television. Early in Trump's administration he also watched CNN and MSNBC (mostly "Morning Joe"), which would catapult him into bizarre rages of tweeted retaliation. Eventually, by making him believe it was his own thought, Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and Press Secretary Sean Spicer convinced him to watch only Fox News.
Said a former WH official to Nuzzi, "Trump’s someone who loves praise more than he likes hate-watching 'Morning Joe.'" The official said "It got to the point that they were just like, 'We need to get him off these channels and onto "Fox & Friends" or else we’re going to be chasing down this crazy-train bullshit from MSNBC and CNN all day.'" Trump now settles in for what a current WH official called "mainly a complete dosage of Fox."
Not that sticking with Fox has done much to level out Trump's manic attacks. Said the former official, "Hannity" and other Fox News programming create "a fucked-up feedback loop" which places Trump "in a weird headspace. What ends up happening is 'Judge Jeanine' or 'Hannity' fill him up with a bunch of crazy shit, and everyone on staff has to go and knock down all the fucking fires they started."
As far as Hannity goes, this strikes one as rather odd, since, as Nuzzi relates, he essentially broadcasts the same show each night: "Regardless of the news of the day, the overarching narrative of the show is the political persecution of Trump, and by extension of Hannity and Hannity’s viewers, at the hands of the so-called deep state and the Democratic Party, and the corrupt mainstream media, a wholly owned subsidiary of both. Everything comes back to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election, a phony, petty diversion from what should be the real focus: prosecuting Hillary Clinton."
This explains why, on Twitter and other online forums, so many Trumpeteers persist in focusing on Hillary as an epicenter of evil almost tantamount to Mueller's partisan wickedness. There she is, laughing at justice, while continuing, presumably, to pull the power strings of the Democratic Party. She is the Great White Whale to Hannity's 3-million Ahabs.
Perhaps the most telling line in Nuzzi's article is "Trump abides by the Groucho Marx law of fraternization. He inherently distrusts anyone who chooses to work for him." Thus enters outsider adviser Sean Hannity, every bit as paranoid, loony, isolated and self-satisfied as Trump. All the world is against them, both of them, and each has a base made of Hofstadter's paranoia style.
These are the lunatics in charge of American governance — one, not democratically elected; the other, not elected at all — which explains why our governance is so profoundly unrepresentative of America.