UPDATE, 2/20: The “Other, please specify” boxes have magically reappeared. FYI.
UPDATE, 2/18: As of February 18, the survey was still accessible at the link below, but with a few changes. Most notably, the “Other, please specify” boxes are no longer part of the survey. The options are limited to “Yes,” “No,” and “No Opinion.” The questions appear to be the same.
Also, I’ve heard rumors that Trump supporters (or at least those on the email list) have received emails complaining that “Democrats” hijacked the original poll and imploring email recipients to take the poll so that it more accurately reflects the views of “Americans.” Notice how “Americans” and “Democrats” just became two separate groups for rhetorical purposes. Remember that. It’s not normal, and if it disturbs you, you are not crazy and you are not alone.
The Trump/Pence fundraising machine recently circulated a “Mainstream Media Accountability Survey,” which is getting a fair amount of attention. I took it.
I am not under the illusion that anyone on the receiving end will ever read my answers. Based on the blatantly fundraise-y nature of the site, I suspect that its sole purpose is to collect names and email addresses to spam for potential donations. I also suspect they logged my IP address.
With this in mind, I’m blogging my responses because someone ought to get to read them – and because, even though I put an alter-ego email address on the form itself, I said nothing not protected by the First Amendment and nothing I’m ashamed to have aimed at the current administration.
So here’s some fun.
The Trump/Pence “Mainstream Media Accountability Survey”
Nearly every question offered four radio-button answers: Yes, No, No Opinion, and Other, Please Specify. The last one included a text box in which to type answers. Here, I’ve reproduced the questions and only the answer I gave. Answers that aren’t “yes,” “no,” or “no opinion” are answers I typed into the provided text box.
1. Do you believe that the mainstream media has reported unfairly on our movement?
Not in the slightest. In fact, your “movement” has given them the integrity they should have had when you STARTED “moving.” The mainstream press is better at their job today than they have been in years, thanks to the constant need to challenge your lies.
2. Do you trust MSNBC to report fairly on Trump’s presidency?
More or less.
3. Do you trust CNN to report fairly on Trump’s presidency?
More or less.
4. Do you trust Fox News to report fairly on Trump’s presidency?
Generally, no, but even Fox News has been willing to call the Trump administration out on its most heinous bullshit, which I appreciate. Both Megyn Kelly and Shep Smith have shown a willingness to do a journalist’s honest job on occasion, and I respect them for it.
5. On which issues does the mainstream media do the worst job of representing Republicans? (Select as many that apply.)
[Here followed a tick-box list including, in order, “Immigration,” “Economics,” “Pro-life values,” “Religion,” “Individual liberty,” “Conservatism,” “Foreign policy,” and “Second Amendment rights.” I clicked none of them. I admit to being stymied by the question – if anything, I think the mainstream media underreports both the deeply problematic nature of the GOP’s platform on every one of these issues and the potential fallout of implementing those policies in full.]
6. Which television source do you primarily get your news from?
[Here followed a tick-box list including, in order, “Fox News,” “CNN,” “MSNBC,” and “Local news.” I clicked none of them, because none of them are my primary news source *or* my primary television news source.]
7. Do you use a source not listed above?
I don’t watch television news, except when it is playing in public places I happen to set foot in. In the past week, that’s been a combination of CNN and Fox.
8. Which online sources do you use the most?
I rely on several online sources, including Countable, Politifact, The Hill, and the websites of The Nation, The New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, The Economist, and the National Review. Even the National Review is giving the Flynn resignation the critical scrutiny it needs and deserves. Good for them.
9. Do you trust the mainstream media to tell the truth about the Republican Party’s positions and decisions?
Mainstream media outlets have been notoriously lax in recent years about providing critical scrutiny to either party. This is part of the reason we have Nazis appearing on NPR, for example. They appear to be cleaning house in the face of the current administration’s continued assault on facts, logic, reason, and common sense, but I suspect they still have work to do.
10. Do you believe that the mainstream media does not do their due diligence fact-checking before publishing stories on the Trump administration?
I don’t believe this for a moment. If anything, I’m pleased with the apparent INCREASE in due diligence and fact-checking surrounding stories about the Trump administration, as compared to the work done to hold previous administrations accountable. Of course, every previous administration in my lifetime addressed the American public as rational adults, not as easily gulled children.
11. Do you believe the media unfairly reported on President Trump’s executive order temporarily restricting people entering our country from nations compromised by radical Islamic terrorism?
If anything, the media has underreported the effects of the EO on lawful permanent residents and visa holders – two groups which have been severely affected by an executive order the White House claimed would not affect them. As a lawyer, I have also found the media’s coverage of the courts’ responses to the EO so far to be unusually well-written and accurate.
12. Were you aware that a poll was released revealing that a majority of Americans actually supported President Trump’s temporary restriction executive order?
If you’re referring to the Morning Consult/Politico poll, yes, I’m aware of it. I’m also aware that only a third of respondents “strongly” supported the ban, and that the poll was divided along partisan lines. I am also aware of the HuffPo/YouGov poll showing a 45/45 split on support for the ban, and a plurality of Americans who support the courts’ decisions to halt implementation of the ban.
13. Do you believe that political correctness has created biased news coverage on both illegal immigration and radical Islamic terrorism?
If you mean that “political correctness” has led to a vast underreporting of how the immigration system works, the atrocities it carries out in the name of the public, and the perpetration of terrorism within our own borders by American citizens on other American citizens, yes. Otherwise, no.
14. Do you believe that contrary to what the media says, raising taxes does not create jobs?
This question is unanswerable as stated. Raising taxes *does* create jobs, if the right taxes are raised in the right ways. The Eisenhower administration gave us the data, and fifty years of economic analysis have led us to the same conclusion over and over. The media has nothing to do with it. In fact, I’ve never even heard the media assert that raising taxes creates jobs – and I have often heard them give space to people who claim the opposite is true.
15. Do you believe that people of faith have been unfairly characterized by the media?
No. If anything, the media is too ready to frame faith as normative and non-faith as problematic – even though most of the recent terrorist attacks carried out on U.S. soil are carried out in the name of faith (specifically, Christianity).
16. Do you believe that the media wrongly attributes gun violence to Second Amendment rights?
No. I think any attribution of gun violence to the laughably easy process of obtaining a gun in this country has merit.
17. Do you believe that the media has been far too quick to spread false stories about our movement?
On the contrary – the media was nowhere near quick enough to report the truth of your “movement,” and was far too complaisant for too long when it came to reporting about Trump.
18. Do you believe that the media uses slurs rather than facts to attack conservative stances on issues like border control, religious liberties, and ObamaCare?
I have never once seen this happen. Ever. Citation needed.
19. Do you believe that the media purposely tries to divide Republicans against each other in order to help elect Democrats?
Are you actively shitting me right now. No. This isn’t even a *good* conspiracy theory – it’s the kind you snort Cheetos all over your computer screen when you read. At this point, I’m more likely to believe in the Fiji Mermaid.
20. Do you believe that the media creates false feuds within our Party in order to make us seem divided?
Hell no. To the extent the GOP is currently divided, the GOP set themselves up for it, and any dissent within the party against the Trump White House can best be read as the last remaining gasps of ethical behavior on the Hill – or the sounds of rats deserting a sinking ship.
21. Do you believe that the mainstream media has been too eager to jump to conclusions about rumored stories?
I believe the mainstream media is doing a better job of checking its facts and holding the White House accountable than it has ever done in my lifetime. Maybe in my parents’ lifetimes.
22. Do you believe that if Republicans were obstructing Obama like Democrats are doing to President Trump, the mainstream media would attack Republicans?
What the actual alternate reality hell is this question? The Republicans obstructed Obama far more ferociously than Democrats are currently obstructing Trump, and the media did very little to protest it. I believe that if Republicans *had* obstructed Obama “like Democrats are doing to Trump,” the media would have announced a shocking new era of peace and cooperation on the Hill – and they might even have started questioning whether we actually had two rivalling political parties, or just one.
23. 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?
I don’t understand this question. What tradition and what break did you just make the fuck up here? If you mean to ask whether I agree that the White House Press Secretary should pander to conspiracy theorists and Nazis, the answer is no. If you’re asking whether I will continue to avoid watching White House press conferences because watching a nervous man in a bad suit lie to the nation is personally distasteful to me, the answer is yes.
24. Do you agree with President Trump’s media strategy to cut through the media’s noise and deliver our message straight to the people.
I think it’s a highly effective way to keep putting your collective shoe in your own collective ass, if that’s what you mean. For that reason, I support it. I like watching you all spin the rope to hang yourselves.
25. Do you believe that our Party should spend more time and resources holding the mainstream media accountable?
I think you should spend more time and resources holding the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES accountable, starting with an investigation into his campaign’s ties with Russia and his foreign business interests. I am genuinely worried about our national security currently.
…After this, there was a request for a name and email address in order to submit the thing, which took one to a campaign donation page. Let me repeat that for emphasis: campaign donation page. Trump is already raising funds for 2020.
In his Thursday press conference, Trump said that “unifying the country” was still highly important to him. Good luck with that, sir. You’ll need it.