Trump Campaign Quizzes Supporters on Media Bias With a 'Survey'

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President Donald Trump pauses while speaking during a news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington,  Feb. 16, 2017
Building up Trump’s anti-Semitism seems right, but is hugely distracting from the really horrible things Trump is doing to other marginalized groups.Credit: Andrew Harnik/AP

Minutes after U.S. President Donald Trump lashed out at the media during his first solo press conference on Thursday, his campaign sent out a strangely-phrased poll to the president's supporters, in an apparent bid to seek validation for Trump's campaign against the media. 

The questions mirror the same sentiments Trump has voiced during his press conference: That the media's coverage of his administration is biased and unfair, makes use of "fake news" and is geared toward toppling the Republican Party.

Among the questions were: 

1. Do you believe that the mainstream media has reported unfairly on our movement?

5. On which issues does the mainstream media do the worst job of representing Republicans? (Select as many that apply.)

6. 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?

19. Do you believe that the media purposely tries to divide Republicans against each other in order to help elect Democrats?

20. Do you believe that the media creates false feuds within our Party in order to make us seem divided?

21. Do you believe that the mainstream media has been too eager to jump to conclusions about rumored stories?

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?

Trump has been on the defensive since his freewheeling performance at the press junket, which included the president castigating reporters for their "dishonest" portrayal of his administration and shutting down a reporter over a question about anti-Semitism. Mainstream media responded with shock and derision, while the president took to Twitter to double down on his attacks, tout Rush Limbaugh's rave reviews of the presser, and label news outlets such as the New York Times and CNN as "enemies of the American people."

At the same time, according to Vox, the Trump Make America Great Again Committee, a joint venture of the RNC and Trump’s presidential campaign PAC, sent out the "Mainstream Media Accountability Survey," a list of 25 biased questions polling Trump supporters on their views of the media's handling of the month-old administration. 

“You know that I don’t trust the media to report on anything we achieve,” the campaign’s email said, according to Vox. “Instead, you — the American people — are our last line of defense against the media’s hit jobs. You are our greatest asset in helping our movement deliver the truth to the American people.”

A professional pollster interviewed by Vox said the poll was not a poll at all, but a political message. “Look at the language ‘our message,’ ‘our party,’ ‘our movement,’” Kathy Frankovic of YouGov polling told Vox. “It's not a poll but a political message. The assumption clearly is that people who answer the questions will agree with the assumptions and give the ‘right’ answers.”

Meanwhile, UCLA political science professor Jeffrey Lewis told the Washington Post that such survey tactics where not unusual. "This is a political group doing outreach to its base," Lewish told the Post, while adding that the poll is "survey in name only.”

“I would be amazed if anybody ever knows or even cares to tally the results of this quote unquote survey,” Lewis said.

The Post noted that this was the second time Trump's campaign blasted out such a survey. In August, months before the elections when Hillary Clinton was leading the polls, the campaign sent out a similar poll quizzing supporters on their views of the "unfair coverage" of the candidate.

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