President Trump spent almost an entire press conference lambasting the media yesterday, and soon afterward, his campaign committee blasted out a “Mainstream Media Accountability Survey,” which appears to have the dual purpose of stirring up more anti-media sentiment and collecting donations. The survey is available online: I was easily able to take it multiple times, using both fake email addresses and real ones. Much of it focuses on the major cable news outlets—CNN, MSNBC, Fox News—and whether they have been fair in their coverage of Trump and Republican causes. Where possible, I answered the questions favorably for credible news outlets, but in some cases, that wasn’t even possible. One multiple-choice question simply asks: “On which issues does the mainstream media do the worst job of representing Republicans?”
Professional pollsters rely on representative population samples and scientific methodology when they conduct polls, which is why most will say online surveys tend to be unreliable and easy to manipulate. The scarier question here is whether Trump will use the results of this survey as further “evidence” that the media needs to be reined in.