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Trump calls media ‘enemy’ of Americans, then launches survey to see who agrees

Trump’s election campaign released a new survey to get the public on its side about the mainstream media’s ‘unfair’ coverage.

President-elect Donald Trump. CREDIT: AP Photo/Evan Vucci
President-elect Donald Trump. CREDIT: AP Photo/Evan Vucci

President Donald Trump is on a mission to make the media great again, starting with a public survey.

Presidential campaign company, Donald J. Trump for President, Inc., released a 25-question survey to measure the public’s satisfaction with how accurately mainstream broadcast media organizations, such as CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News, report on the Trump administration.

The survey’s release comes after Trump called major media outlets including the New York Times, NBC News, and CBS “enemies of the American People” on Twitter on Friday.

The president followed up Saturday morning, saying that his administration “inherited a mess” and the public should distrust mainstream media.

Trump’s campaign survey tries to establish whether the public, or more specifically his supporters, feel the same way he does about mainstream media unfairly reporting on the new administration.

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Questions cover a range of topics, asking whether “the mainstream media has reported unfairly on our movement,” whether “the mainstream media has been too eager to jump to conclusions about rumored stories,” and whether “the media has been far too quick to spread false stories about our movement.”

The survey also asks what other sources respondents use to get news and whether the White House “breaking from tradition by giving lesser known reporters and bloggers the chance to ask the White House Press Secretary questions” is the right thing to do.

From the campaign trail to the White House, media has continued to be one of Trump’s main focuses. An Axios analysis of the 45th president’s tweets in the month since taking office showed that 26 percent — or one in four tweets — mentioned media or ratings.

Trump’s approach drives at the heart of an ongoing debate over “fake news”: media distrust. While trust in media has been declining for decades, the Trump administration has been able to capitalize on a climate that conflates good-faith mistakes or unflattering reports with fabricated or duplicitous content. That sentiment has led the White House to deprioritize established media outlets in favor of smaller ones that don’t adhere to accepted journalistic standards.

Trump has repeatedly publicly denounced mainstream media outlets. Just before taking office, the reality star and real estate magnate dismissed CNN reporter Jim Acosta as “fake news” and refused to answer his questions during a news conference in January because he didn’t like the outlet’s coverage of an unverified intelligence report that claimed to link Russia to Trump’s business interests.

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The president lambasted Acosta and CNN again earlier this week, saying the media company’s coverage was full of “hatred.”

“The reporting is fake, and I’ll tell you what else I see. I see tone. You know, the word tone. The tone is such hatred. I’m really not a bad person, by the way,” Trump said during a news conference Thursday.

After a back-and-forth, Acosta asked if Trump was “concerned” about “undermining the people’s faith in the First Amendment, freedom of the press” when calling “stories you don’t like fake news.”

Trump responded to Acosta at length, saying that he doesn’t undermine the First Amendment by calling stories he doesn’t like “fake” because he knows “what’s good” and “what’s bad” media practice.

…I know what’s good. I know what’s bad. And when they change it and make it really bad, something that should be positive — sometimes that should be positive, they’ll make OK. They’ll even make it negative. So I understand it. So — because I’m there. I know what was said, I know who was saying it. I’m there. So it’s very important to me.

Trump closed by saying the public just didn’t believe in the media anymore and regardless of whether he had something to to with it, it’s media outlet’s responsibility to be “straight.”

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“Look, I want to see an honest press,” he said. “The press — the public doesn’t believe you people anymore. Now maybe I had something to do with that. I don’t know. But they don’t believe you…But if you were straight, I would be your biggest booster. I would be your biggest fan in the world, including bad stories about me.”