Poll: Donald Trump and Media Share Blame for Washington's 'Negative Tone and Lack of Civility'

Americans place the blame for Washington D.C.'s worsening "negative tone and lack of civility" almost equally between President Donald Trump and the media, according to a new poll.

The survey of 1,075 adults, carried out by The Marist Poll on behalf of NPR and PBS NewsHour, took place between November 28 and December 4.

Read more: Fox News's top legal analyst says Donald Trump could be charged with three crimes and indicted while president

Of those surveyed, 35 percent said Trump is most to blame and 37 percent said the media is. A further 13 percent blamed Democrats in Congress most, 8 percent the Republicans, and 7 percent said they were unsure.

Those who blamed the media most of all were defined as "soft Republicans." Of this sub-category, 63 percent said the media was the biggest contributor to a lack of civility in Washington. Just 7 percent blamed Trump most.

Something on which most agreed—the overall tone and level of civility between Republicans and Democrats in Washington is getting worse. Seventy percent said so.

It was "strong Democrats" who put most of the blame on Trump at 70 percent. Only 8 percent of strong Democrats blamed the media most of all, the lowest of all sub-categories.

During the midterms campaign, Trump and the Republicans accused Democrats of having a mob mentality, linking them and their rhetoric to febrile street protests, such as Black Lives Matter and anti-fascist movements battling far-right groups such as the Proud Boys.

But Democrats point to the language used by Trump and his allies when talking about their opponents or marginalized groups as evidence of incendiary rhetoric, such as referring to migrant caravans as an "invasion" and the Mueller investigation as a "deep state" conspiracy.

Trump is also at war with the media. The president regards much of the coverage of his controversial and turbulent presidency as unfair, colored by bias against him, and at times outright false.

But those he criticizes most harshly say they are simply reporting the truth about an inflammatory president and his divisive administration that play fast and loose with the truth in the pursuit of deeply controversial policies.

Even as journalists faced threats and acts of violence, such as a pipe bomb sent to the offices of CNN and the deadly Capital Gazette shooting, Trump has refused to tone down his anti-media rhetoric, continuing to refer to outlets as "fake news" and the "enemy of the people."

Recently, as the CNN offices in New York City's Time Warner Center were evacuated during a bomb scare, Trump tweeted yet another attack on the media: "FAKE NEWS - THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!"

In August, New York Times reporter Kenneth Vogel received a voice message from an individual who referred to him as an "enemy of the people," the same language used by Trump, and threatened the journalist with an AK-47.

That same month, police took into custody a California man after he allegedly made threats against Boston Globe journalists in which he also referred to them as the "enemy of the people" and said he would "kill every fucking one of you."

Trump addressed the criticism of his anti-media rhetoric—and refused to temper it.

"The Fake News hates me saying that they are the Enemy of the People only because they know it's TRUE," he tweeted in August.

"I am providing a great service by explaining this to the American People. They purposely cause great division & distrust. They can also cause War! They are very dangerous & sick!"

According to the latest Marist poll, 41 percent of Americans expect the overall tone and level of civility in Washington to get worse when the new Congress begins in January. Just 20 percent said it would get better and 35 percent said it would stay the same, while 4 percent were unsure.

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US President Donald Trump speaks to reporters while walking to Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House November 29, 2018 in Washington, DC. BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images