President Donald Trump spent the better part of Sunday morning doing one of his favorite things: Attacking the news media on Twitter. But this time his efforts turned around and smacked him in the face.
He specifically targeted The New York Times and The Washington Post, calling them “dishonest” and “deceitful,” and claimed, once again, that they are “the enemy of the people.”
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…..news is that at the end of 6 years, after America has been made GREAT again and I leave the beautiful White House (do you think the people would demand that I stay longer? KEEP AMERICA GREAT), both of these horrible papers will quickly go out of business & be forever gone!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 16, 2019
And indeed, perhaps due to Trump’s constant complaints, trust in the media hasn’t risen above its 2016 historic low, Mother Jones reports. Even so, polls show that Americans trust the media more than they do Trump.
Public Policy Polling responded to Trump’s attack, firmly putting him in his place.
“We have polled on whether people think the new york times or washington post have more credibility or you, and you lose out 51—38 and 49—38 to them respectively.”
We have polled on whether people think the New York Times or Washington Post have more credibility or you, and you lose out 51-38 and 49-38 to them respectively https://t.co/0tKqpOO6vs
— PublicPolicyPolling (@ppppolls) June 16, 2019
And a number of other polls conducted over the past few years back up Public Policy’s findings. One poll from Quinnipiac University, conducted in February 2017, showed that 52 percent of Americans found they trusted the news media far more than they did Trump when it comes to telling the truth on crucial issues. Only 37 percent said they trusted Trump more. Another Quinnipiac poll, conducted in September 2018 shows Trump’s numbers fell even further — 54 percent of American voters trusted the media more than Trump, and only 30 percent trusted Trump more than the media.
And Trump being Trump, he went on a firing spree when he found out, CNN reports. The Trump campaign cut ties with Michael Baselice, the president and CEO of Baselice & Associates, Inc., and Adam Geller, another pollster with close ties to the 2016 campaign. Also let go was Brett LLoyd, the CEO and president of The Polling Company, which had maintained close ties with Trump’s senior adviser Kellyanne Conway.
So it would seem that even if Trump can’t handle the truth, at least he can fire it.
And even with all this obvious turmoil, he can continue to boast about his popularity, The Intelligencer reports.
“The Trump campaign recently completed a 17-state polling project that concluded the president trails Joe Biden in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan, according to two people briefed on the results. America First Action, the principal pro-Trump super PAC, is expected to conduct its’ own polling focus groups in Pennsylvania and Michigan later this summer.”
And perhaps Trump was in a snit because The New York Times reported he was trying to shush this bad news.
“After being briefed on a devastating 17-state poll conducted by his campaign pollster Tony Fabrizio, Mr. Trump told aides to deny that his internal polling showed him trailing Mr. Biden in many of the states he needs to win, even though he is also trailing in public polls from key states like Texas, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. And when top-line details of the polling leaked, including numbers showing the president lagging in a cluster of critical rust-belt states, Mr. Trump instructed aides to say publicly that other data showed him doing well.”
That caused another Trump conniption fit on Twitter.
…..The Fake (Corrupt) News Media said they had a leak into polling done by my campaign which, by the way and despite the phony and never ending Witch Hunt, are the best numbers WE have ever had. They reported Fake numbers that they made up & don’t even exist. WE WILL WIN AGAIN!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 12, 2019
All of this is rather, well, weird, The Intelligencer notes.
“First of all, Trump is projecting his efforts to suppress polling information by claiming polls are suppressing actual public opinion.”
In part, his allegations claim that roughly 10 percent of his supporters are not talking to pollsters because they are afraid monstrous, scary liberal elites.
But it’s not just that; he’s also turning this bad news inside out with his boasts that he’s the best, the most popular, the most whatever. And he’s beating the dead horse lie that 2016 polls were fake and, of course, wrong.
FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver has done his best to beat this into the ground, but this lie is nothing if not stubborn.
“[The]myth is that Trump’s victory represented some sort of catastrophic failure for the polls. Trump out-performed his national polls by only one to two percentage points in losing the popular vote to Clinton, making them slightly closer to the mark in 2012,” he writes. “Meanwhile he beat his polls by only two to three percentage points in the average swing state. Certainly, there were individual pollsters that had some explaining to do, especially in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, where Trump beat his polls by a larger amount. But the result was not some sort of massive outlier; on the contrary, the polls were pretty much as accurate as they’d been, on average, since 1968.”
As the 2020 presidential election nears, it’s quite likely Trump will ramp up his efforts to malign polls and spread more misinformation. Like 2016, this is going to seem like a looooong election.
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