I'm starting to worry about CNN's "mental fitness."
"In the beginning it was like every 25 or 30 minutes you would get the same three stories repeated," an observer recently noted. "Now it's the same three stories every 10 minutes."
Okay, that's Michael Wolff talking about Trump. But to me, it's a much more accurate statement when applied to CNN's coverage these days. They repeat themselves with "alarming frequency." Just try to turn on CNN and not see the word "Russia" on the screen.
Take the most recent example:
That has been CNN's coverage, since Thursday.
Of course the basis for all of this is a throwaway line from Wolff's primary source, Steve Bannon, who is a loose cannon himself.
It all perfectly fits the mainstream press's preconceived notions: Trump is a dangerous, illiterate buffoon. So if Bannon—who not long ago was a white supremacist in the eyes of the media—says Trump has "lost it" because he repeats stories, they take his word for it.
TELL ALL BOOK RAISES NEW QUESTIONS
EXPLOSIVE NEW BOOK DOMINATES WEEKEND HEADLINES
PSYCHIATRIST TO LAWMAKERS: TRUMP IS "UNRAVELING"
AUTHOR: PEOPLE AROUND TRUMP QUESTION HIS MENTAL FITNESS
And what does "mental fitness" mean, exactly? According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, it's all about "emotional well-being." Their tips for strong mental fitness? "Have a bubble bath," DO NOT multitask, and, first of all, daydream.
"Close your eyes and imagine yourself in a dream location," they say. "Breathe slowly and deeply. Whether it's a beach, a mountaintop, a hushed forest or a favorite room from your past, let the comforting environment wrap you in a sensation of peace and tranquility."
That doesn't sound too mentally tough to me.
If I were to diagnose a person—or a news network—as having poor mental fitness, I would start by detecting an obsessive nature. Luckily, we have the Mental Fitness Expert's wise words on the subject.
"Do you have any recurring thoughts, ideas, and images in your mind that cause you a lot of anxiety?" the expert asks. "Have you ever developed an unreasonable ritual or habit just to satisfy your irrational thoughts, and which is very hard to ignore?"
"Obsessions are the unwanted and repetitive urges, images and thoughts that keep coming to your mind," the expert explains. "They bug you and cause a lot of distress and anxiety."
So, for example, you might intensively worry about Russia, suddenly, even if you never paid them any mind before. While this may also bother other people to some extent, it bothers you deeply and makes you very uncomfortable. You will know that it is no longer a simple problem if your thinking focuses on that alone, and it is unbecoming of your character to do so.
The exact cause of Trump Derangement Syndrome and Russia Hysteria Disorder is unknown. Analysts and experts, however, have put forward different theories (such as a Democrat losing the presidential election) that may explain the possible grounds for why a person or network suffers from it.
If a single quote from a bitter former adviser in a book that the author admits parts of are "baldly untrue" prompts hours of airtime, maybe a self-diagnosis for CNN is in order.
But don't count on it. It may be Oprah today; it will be Russia tomorrow.