Of all of the scores of falsehoods Donald Trump has offered since he began running for president, few are as egregiously and obviously untrue as one he offered to Fox News Channel’s Ainsley Earhardt in an interview that aired Wednesday.
“Look,” Trump said, “I don’t like tweeting. I have other things I could be doing. But I get very dishonest media, very dishonest press. And it’s my only way that I can counteract.”
Of course, all evidence suggests that Trump loves tweeting. He loves it. Since May 4, 2009, he has tweeted an average of 10.8 times per day. Per day. On average. That’s not the behavior of someone who dislikes tweeting.
That’s the big falsehood. Then we get to the smaller falsehood: that he tweets only to counteract the media.
It’s certainly true that Trump would rather push out his own message to his 20 million followers than let his pronouncements be filtered by an outside party that might point out when he’s, say, saying untrue things. (By the way: Be sure to download our browser plug-in, which brings fact-checking to his Twitter feed.) It is not true, though, that he tweets only because he’s trying to get around the media. Trump has been on Twitter since 2009, and he tweeted more in 2013 than in any other year. (The numbers below come from the Trump Twitter Archive .)
In 2013, we can assert definitively, Trump wasn’t tweeting to get his message out to people around the biased lamestream media. He was tweeting for the same reason he tweets now: to berate people he doesn’t like, mock things he hates and praise what he loves. (That latter category includes Donald J. Trump.)
Fun fact! Since Election Day, an average of 7.8 minutes pass between tweets when Trump offers a series of threaded thoughts on a single subject.
What’s particularly weird about Trump’s defense of his tweeting is that his stated rationale doesn’t even seem to work that well.
A new NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll indicates that Americans overwhelmingly view Trump’s use of Twitter negatively. Nearly 7 in 10 Americans — including a plurality of Republicans! — think that his tweeting is a bad thing, because “in an instant, messages can have unintended major implications without careful review.”
Most Americans also disagree with his habit of using Twitter to announce policy positions and his opinions of things in the news.
So if Trump hates tweeting and the nation hates the way he tweets, it seems as though there’s a simple solution for the president-elect: Cut it out. But, we know, it’s important to Trump that he be able to communicate his thoughts on public policy and the state of the world without the biased media intervening. He simply has to tweet, to ensure that the American people get the real facts, direct from the man who on Friday will become their president. He hates to do it, but it’s critical that his thoughts be shared.