A Sept. 14 Newsmax article by Jim Meyers and Ashley Martella is devoted to peddling "Narcissist Nation: Reflections of a Blue-State Conservative," a new book by George Marlin, whom Meyers and Martella baselessly describe as "one of the country’s most influential conservatives." The authors quote Marlin saying that "Obama uses the ‘I’ word more than all the presidents have used it collectively in the 200 and some-odd years of our nation."
That's not even close to being true. Author James Pennebaker, unlike Marlin, has done some actual pronoun-counting:
Toward the end of his penetrating new book, “The Secret Life of Pronouns: What Our Words Say About Us,” Pennebaker crunches the numbers on presidential press conferences since Truman and finds that “Obama has distinguished himself as the lowest I-word user of any of the modern presidents.” If anything, Obama has shown a disdain for the first-person singular during his administration.
“Why,” Pennebaker wonders, “do very smart people think just the opposite?” He chalks it up the selective way we process information: “If we think that someone is arrogant, our brains will be searching for evidence to confirm our beliefs.” If we’re predisposed to look for clues that Obama is all about “me me me,” then every “me” he utters takes on outsize importance in our impressionistic view of his speechifying.
Thus, it seems that the central premise of Marlin's book has been discredited. We someone don't think Newsmax will be terribly interested in reporting that.