Earlier today, Donald Trump held his first solo press conference, going it alone against the media he so openly despises in a dissembling stream-of-consciousness ramble reminiscent of one of FDR’s classic fireside chats, only where everything is on fire. Amid Trump’s bizarre tangents about alleyways filled with Obamacare’s bodies and how his will be the biggest, most tremendous nuclear holocaust, and aside from his demonstrations that he’s “the least racist person” by telling a Jewish reporter asking about anti-Semitism to “sit down,” then suggesting a black reporter hook him up with her “friends” in the Congressional Black Caucus, the most lasting message was one we’ve already heard a lot: Everything negative that is ever written about Trump or his administration, “It’s all fake news.”
The never-ending horrors coming out of his Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari team of advisors—fake news. His massive unpopularity—fake news. His alleged ties to Russia—fake news. The leaks about all of these things (that are real!) that were then reported by the press (who is dishonest, which makes them fake!) and that are going to be investigated criminally (even though they are fake!) because also they are illegal—even these are fake news, because where are you reading about him talking about it right now? All told, it was the sort shocking, unparalleled display of mendaciousness and vindictiveness that makes you want to stock up on drugs. Fortunately, they’re now cheaper than candy bars.
But of course, Trump can’t wage his war against the lying media by just regularly calling them into a room and berating them, or by sending his sin-eater minions to swallow their “facts” and upchuck them as smiling deflections, thereby absolving his soul. He also needs polls—good polls, like the ones that confirm he is a great man and everyone loves him, and not the fake ones that don’t. Which is why today he followed up that press conference by immediately emailing his supporters and asking them to take his “Mainstream Media Accountability Survey,” with the call to action that “you—the American people—are our last line of defense against the media’s hit jobs.” It’s therefore vitally important that you fight their unfair biases by taking Trump’s poll about how the press are all liars who are out to get him. Only by answering “yes” to these questions can you give Trump the validation of skewed statistical data he needs.
Trump has released a version of his Media Accountability survey before, issuing a similar call to supporters last August to vote so he could “have my own poll that shows that the American people disagree with the dishonest media!” Of course, back then, the 30 questions primarily focused on Hillary Clinton and it all just seemed rather sad, as opposed to tragic. This new version has been updated to reflect Trump’s contemporary, more presidential tantrums, though the overall thrust remains the same. And so, after starting out with a relatively neutral series of questions asking whether you trust CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, and the mainstream media in general, things quickly take a turn:
Given that there is no box for “Cravenness in standing up for the most basic of American, even human ideals” or “Disturbing absence of souls”—or even an option for “None of the above”—one might accuse this poll of being uncharacteristically leading in this particular instance. But that’s only because you haven’t read the rest of the 25 questions, most of which stop just short of asking whether you agree that all members of the press like to eat butts. Here’s a sampling:
There are also some questions structured like fun thought experiments, based on craaaaazy alternate reality hypotheticals:
There are some whose pile-ups of double negatives will require SAT prep courses to parse:
And then there are some that accurately mirror the feeling of listening to Trump speak, the feeling that a magnificent wall—a beautiful wall—is being erected around your brain’s language centers to keep all the bad palabras out. Fortunately, many of these have a write-in option.
But perhaps most troubling of all is the final question, which hints that the president somehow doesn’t think he’s done enough of this already:
Completing the survey will then take you to a message congratulating you on successfully wading through the rhetorical thicket without dashing your brains against your laptop, giving you an extremely presidential thumbs-up. It then gets to the most important part of any initiative calling for a fair and honest press: soliciting donations “to help us fight back against the media’s attacks and deceptions.”
It’s unclear where all that money goes, exactly. (Anti-media missiles? The official establishment of Breitbart as our state-run media? Peter Thiel?) But given that the survey is hosted by the 2020 reelection campaign that Trump is launching Saturday—and, in a way, never truly ended—it probably first and foremost goes to fund even more rallies, where Trump can wave a blank sheet of paper around while crowing about its results. You can be a part of those results here—though it’s important to remember that if your responses are negative, they are fake.
UPDATE: On second though, maybe don’t fill out the form? Turns out Trump can monetize it.