Answering Donald Trump’s media accountability survey

So last night my friend shared this survey with me. On the surface this appears to be the Trump Administration trying to get a clear sense of how people view the media in order to open the conversation about accountability.

But as you get further and further down you’ll see the questions become more and more loaded, and borderline incomprehensible at times, until you’re stuck in a place where any answer is wrong because the question itself doesn’t make sense. Oh and not to mention the whole thing is laced with Trump’s personal brand of aggressive insecurity.

I spent several hours trying to answer these questions properly and even Googled a ZIP code (sorry random person in Alaska) to submit the survey, so I really, really hope someone reads it. But as those chances are very minimal that same friend convinced me to set up this Medium account to share my answers.

Here we go.

9. The first flaw of this question is to define ‘the mainstream media’ as a single entity. The second is ‘tell the truth’. Mainstream media outlets cannot continue to be mainstream without making money, and to do this they need to cater to their audience’s political standpoint. This doesn’t mean they’re necessarily untrustworthy, but it does mean they’ll be coming at the truth from an angle so in order to get a balanced understanding you need to read more than just one media outlet. It’s illogical to just trust one outlet’s view on actions in isolation, just like it’s illogical to trust just the Republican Party in isolation.

10. They’ve realised what can happen when you don’t fact check someone nearly enough during the election season. At least I hope they have.

11. I don’t even have a good answer for this. How did you pick the countries? Out of a hat? A big xenophobic anti-Islamic hat? If you did really believe that a whole country of people share the same views (which I sincerely hope you don’t) you’d have banned the countries that the people who were part of 9/11 and other such attacks were from, instead of just going for Muslims, at large (very large, millions in fact). So if that is in fact what you’re going for it’s Islamophobia and deserves to be reported as such.

12. Do you know how polls work? Not every single American was polled. Using the word ‘a’ means you’re not necessarily lying, but you are being disingenuous in the phrasing of this question. A single poll cannot be held up to represent public opinion at large.

13. Political correctness isn’t an opinion, it’s a linguistically coded politeness and tolerance towards others. It can’t create biases.

14. I’d need to know a lot more about economics to answer this, but I will say one thing. If a lot of people disagree with you it’s probably wise to at least take another look at what your saying, just to make sure you’re right.

15. Yes, time and time again. Throughout history. For once we agree on something isn’t that wonderful. I feel like Muslims would appreciate this sign of solidarity from someone who wanted to ban (I’m sorry ‘temporarily restrict’) them from entering the US due to the belief that they could all potentially be terrorists.

16. All the evidence really does point to the fact that it does. I could go on for longer, but it’s a fact that the level of gun violence in America is one of the highest compared to other high income countries, and I’d rather that instead of reading this you go and try anything to fix that, rather than dismissing ideas before testing them.

18. They don’t need slurs when the facts are enough to delegitimize you.

19. They really didn’t need to. Trump did that for himself with his misogyny, xenophobia, ableism (I could go on).

21. Speculation happens all over the internet and all over journalism, but because of how many outlets there are, those speculations can be counter-argued. That’s what free speech is. Simply crushing speculation in its tracks without explaining factually why it is incorrect leads to further (and likely accurate) speculation that the person doing the crushing is withholding information.

22. The media exists to challenge viewpoints. While some outlets may attack people, most are looking to display the truth of a situation. In other words, no, the media are not attacking President Trump, they’ve just looked at all the facts and deem him unfit for his role.

23. I would agree with it if he gave equal weighting to both, and actually answered the questions posed.

24. The media exist not just to disseminate information but to challenge it, revealing any biases and seeking the truth by looking at all sides of an argument simultaneously. If you deliver your message straight to the people and do not accept that your opinion may be challenged, what you’re looking for is autocratic, not democratic rule. And dictatorships never work.

Are you kidding me?