POLITICS

People Think The Media Pays Too Much Attention To Trump's Tweets

The group most likely to feel this way? Trump voters.

Throughout his transition, President-elect Donald Trump’s preferred means of communication has been his Twitter account, which gives him a direct line to millions of followers.

Most Americans, though, don’t actually use Twitter, especially not on a daily basis. Although most of the public has heard a lot about Trump’s tweets in the past few months, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll, the vast majority say they’ve encountered his posts through more traditional media outlets. And many, including those who supported him in the election, wish that the media would give his Twitter posts a little less attention.

Fifty-four percent of Americans say that they’ve heard a lot about Trump’s tweets since the election, with just 12 percent saying they haven’t heard anything at all.

Just 6 percent of those who’ve heard about Trump’s tweets, however, say their exposure has come mostly from Twitter itself. Instead, 80 percent ― including both 83 percent of those who voted for Trump, and 88 percent of those who supported Hillary Clinton ― say they’ve more often seen or heard news stories discussing his tweets.

Among those who say they’ve learned about Trump’s tweets mostly through the media, 34 percent say they see them mostly in online news outlets, 29 percent say cable news channels, and 27 percent say local television or radio.

Trump said Sunday that he intends to keep his personal Twitter account.

“I can go bing bing bing and I just keep going and they put it on and as soon as I tweet it out — this morning on television, Fox — ‘Donald Trump, we have breaking news,’” he explained to The Times of London, reflecting later that a press release or a news conference would likely garner less immediate coverage.

Much of the public would like to see a little less focus on his missives.

A 51 percent majority say they think the media has paid too much attention to Trump’s posts on Twitter, and 21 percent think the media has paid about the right amount of attention. Only 9 percent think Trump’s tweets haven’t received enough coverage.

“Mr. Trump expertly exploits journalists’ unwavering attention to their Twitter feeds, their competitive spirit and their ingrained journalistic conventions — chiefly, that what the president says is inherently newsworthy,” journalist Amanda Hess wrote in The New York Times this week. “As a developer and reality show star, he lobbied the news media for coverage. Now journalists feel obligated to pay attention to him.”

Trump’s voters, who broadly share his distaste for the mass media, are the most likely of all to say his tweets receive too much coverage. Sixty-two percent of Trump voters say the media pays too much attention to Trump’s tweets, compared to just 45 percent of Clinton voters and 47 percent of nonvoters who say the same thing.

The HuffPost/YouGov poll consisted of 1,000 completed interviews conducted Jan. 10-11 among U.S. adults, using a sample selected from YouGov’s opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population.

The Huffington Post has teamed up with YouGov to conduct daily opinion polls. You can learn more about this project and take part in YouGov’s nationally representative opinion polling. Data from all HuffPost/YouGov polls can be found here. More details on the polls’ methodology are available here.

Most surveys report a margin of error that represents some, but not all, potential survey errors. YouGov’s reports include a model-based margin of error, which rests on a specific set of statistical assumptions about the selected sample, rather than the standard methodology for random probability sampling. If these assumptions are wrong, the model-based margin of error may also be inaccurate. Click here for a more detailed explanation of the model-based margin of error. 

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