Here are my responses to Donald Trump’s media accountability survey, which I’ve taken at face value. Yes, the questions are extremely one-sided, but they do allow for “other” responses.
Just to be clear, I certainly don’t advocate for participating in the survey. The research methodology here is dubious, to say the least. I hope I haven’t contributed to legitimizing it as anything but the propaganda that it is.
- Do you believe that the mainstream media has reported unfairly on our movement?
Using the word “movement” here diminishes the Office of the President, implies that you regard your power as extra-constitutional.
- Do you trust MSNBC to report fairly on Trump’s presidency?
It is telling that MSNBC comes first on the list, that you regard the network as the biggest threat to your legitimacy.
- Do you trust CNN to report fairly on Trump’s presidency?
Your outsize reaction to CNN’s reporting on the leaked memo has given it greater weight. You must realize the significance of a Carl Bernstein byline on it.
- Do you trust Fox News to report fairly on Trump’s presidency?
I was surprised with the moral clarity and sharpness of critique in Shepard Smith’s reaction to yesterday’s press conference.
- On which issues does the mainstream media do the worst job of representing Republicans? (Select as many that apply.)
(no “other” option available)
- Which television source do you primarily get your news from?
(no “other” option available)
- Do you use a source not listed above?
It’s so weird that you think TV news is the most relevant arm of the 4th estate. I guess it’s a generational thing.
- Which online source do you use the most?
I financially support the New York Times, Democracy Now, and a handful of podcasts, but your question belies ignorance of the online media ecosystem. Any given “online” source could be your biggest threat (hint: all media are now “online,” it’s a useless category). Today maybe it’s BuzzFeed, tomorrow it will be someone else.
- Do you trust the mainstream media to tell the truth about the Republican Party’s positions and actions?
You have demonstrated a disregard for “the truth,” but I think your question is about whether more sources will go the way of Gerard Baker (editor of the WSJ), and fall into line with regime-approved framing of events. If that happens, I don’t see how the country will survive your Presidency.
- Do you believe that the mainstream media does not do their due diligence fact-checking before publishing stories on the Trump administration?
Many mainstream media sources are plagued by “the view from nowhere” where extreme views become legitimized by impartiality.
- Do you believe that the media unfairly reported on President Trump’s executive order temporarily restricting people entering our country from nations compromised by radical Islamic terrorism?
I liked how Sarah Jeong characterized your EO on Twitter: “the Muslim ban is unconstitutional, illegal, a bad idea, and immoral. And those are different things.”
Were you aware that a poll was released revealing that a majority of Americans actually supported President Trump’s temporary restriction executive order?
Yes, I read about the poll, and it was disappointing. This is why we don’t put human rights up to a vote, why they are protected in the Constitution.
Edit: there is a slight majority against the Muslim ban:
National polls using random telephone samples have found support for the proposal ranging from 42 to 47 percent with slight majorities opposed (51 to 55 percent); Trump has cited Web and automated polls that show support cresting in the mid-50s, though those polls rely on less rigorous samples of the public.
- Do you believe that political correctness has created biased news coverage on both illegal immigration and radical Islamic terrorism?
Any time you hear someone complaining about “political correctness,” it’s really a demand that their bigotry should be tolerated.
- Do you believe that contrary to what the media says, raising taxes does not create jobs?
This is such a tortured question, how did you arrive at this phrasing? Plus it’s meaningless without saying who is being taxed, and under what circumstances. I advocate for more progressive taxation as a means to address wealth and income inequality.
- Do you believe that people of faith have been unfairly characterized by the media?
I do wonder how long it will be until Atheism isn’t a political liability in the USA.
- Do you believe that the media wrongly attributes gun violence to Second Amendment rights?
I don’t think the Second Amendment protects individual gun ownership, but your question is about the media. I wish the media would give more attention to the connection between increased gun ownership and suicide and accidental deaths.
- Do you believe that the media has been far too quick to spread false stories about our movement?
Again with that divisive language: “our movement”? My fear is that “your movement” is about White Supremacy and racial violence. Your overly-defensive response to yesterday’s question about anti-Semitic threats is just the latest in a series of instances that make me extremely wary of your intentions.
- Do you believe that the media uses slurs rather than facts to attack conservative stances on issues like border control, religious liberties, and ObamaCare?
You seem to think that disagreement and fact-checking is an insult. This is an authoritarian argument, that your position is above criticism.
- Do you believe that the media purposely tries to divide Republicans against each other in order to help elect Democrats?
You were the outsider candidate, by definition you were going to be divisive to the GOP. But I do wonder if the media were too careful not to seem partisan in the last election, that they didn’t take you seriously (and literally) enough.
- Do you believe that the media creates false feuds within our Party in order to make us seem divided?
You must feel extremely isolated right now. I think it’s because everyone within your party is considering whether they’re willing to go to jail for a political figure they never fully supported.
- Do you believe that the mainstream media has been too eager to jump to conclusions about rumored stories?
Sure, anonymous sourcing weakens a story, but NINE anonymous sources forces a resignation. The key issue with the Flynn story is that he didn’t seem to realize his calls were being monitored. It’s a story about incompetence and that kind of sloppiness is what will get you impeached.
- Do you believe that if Republicans were obstructing Obama like Democrats are doing to President Trump, the mainstream media would attack Republicans?
The premise of this one is so laughable, Mitch McConnell’s “top priority” was to limit Obama to one term. The strategy worked, but you don’t get to claim it didn’t happen. You cannot argue away the real political cost of obstructionism, and Democrats will have to answer to it as well.
Edit: obviously Obama wasn’t limited to one term, but his agenda was severely checked by the GOP’s constant stonewalling.
- Do you agree with the President’s decision to break with tradition by giving lesser known reporters and bloggers the chance to ask the White House Press Secretary questions?
You buried the most important question! You must have been embarrassed when “Betanyahu” saw how you conducted the joint press conference. The White House press briefing has become a self-parody of a cowardly dictator unable and unwilling to respond to difficult questions.
- Do you agree with President Trump’s media strategy to cut through the media’s noise and deliver our message straight to the people?
To be fair, Obama set you up for this one. He set a precedent of media evasiveness that enables you to avoid accountability with impunity.
- Do you believe that our Party should spend more time and resources holding the mainstream media accountable?
You are threatening the freedom of the press. We will fight you and you will lose.