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On second thought, maybe stop taking Donald Trump’s media survey

Photo: The Asahi Shimbun / Getty
Photo: The Asahi Shimbun / Getty

Donald Trump’s presidency has been an unceasing tide of outrages, much as his presidential candidacy was before that. While the coordinated protests and political actions taken in opposition to those outrages have been heartening, we have also been unabashed in our enthusiasm for trolling the president, both as a release valve for the stress and existential terror he creates and because he is just possibly thin-skinned enough to be bothered by it. If his press conference yesterday taught us anything—which is questionable—it was that he reads every tweet, watches every news show, reads every article and absorbs every minor aside. Whatever time at night it is that you are reading this, President Trump: hello!

Anyway, yesterday we pointed you toward his uniquely self-reinforcing “media survey,” which consisted of 25 leading questions all designed to back up his assertion that the mainstream media is full of lying “dishonest” goons out for his blood by reporting the factually accurate things he does. Taking the quiz and trying to break it so as to express an opinion outside of the one it was engineered to make you express was fun, and at this point its “fake” responses certainly outnumber the corroborative responses it was seeking. It was just the sort of trolling this president deserves. Unfortunately, he could still benefit from it.

A Chicago-area communications strategist named Katie Wohlgenant, who previously did newsletter and email marketing for the Obama campaign, told us:

This is a list-building technique. You cannot skew the results, you will not influence any sort of policy at all. They only want to add people to his email list. When they say, “Millions of people took our survey on the dishonest media!” that’s all they will say, not that 99% were negative against Trump. HE IS USING YOUR OUTRAGE TO LIST-BUILD FOR HIMSELF. STOP. FALLING. FOR. IT.

Also this is a compelling point so here it is: Even if you use a dummy or fake email (also, don’t do that) you’re padding his list. The more people on a list = the more $$$ it costs candidates to rent said list. While I’m not against forcing crappy GOP candidates to spend more for their email marketing, you’re just lining the Trump campaign’s pockets for 2020 by padding the list and making it more desirable. Email addresses range from 75 cents to $2.50 per email - if 3 million people took this survey, even with dummy votes, he can charge up to $7.5 million just for those newly acquired emails.

So, you know, your call. You can go on trolling him via the media survey or wait until a new method to piss him off comes around that he can’t monetize. May we suggest photoshopping him to look tiny?

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