KATY TUR (ANCHOR): With the Media Matters president, Angelo Carusone. Angelo, let’s talk a little bit more about Fox. Was this settlement reported on their airwaves?
ANGELO CARUSONE (MEDIA MATTERS FOR AMERICA PRESIDENT): No. I mean, they talked about the fact that they settled, but they didn’t give any details. They certainly didn't even give the acknowledgment that they made certain statements, which was sort of a very, very, very soft way of acknowledging that they said some lies. They barely did, but they didn't even talk about that on air. They just said they settled, and then they also said that the rest of the news media will be disappointed about it. That’s how they framed it for their audience.
They didn’t even give the amount of the settlement, which I think is significant because if you’re even a Fox viewer, a number that big, it’s not like you would immediately wow your entire worldview, but you'd be like, wow, that’s a pretty big number. I wonder what they did. You might actually start to look for it. But no. They didn’t. They just said it was settled and kind of moved on.
TUR: OK. That's a lot of money. Do you believe or is there any indication that it will force Fox to change its ways a little bit, for the fear of not wanting to pay something like that again?
CARUSONE: No, and I actually think, my warning is that Fox News is about to burn brighter and hotter. If you thought they were bad before, they're about to get worse because — and you sort of alluded to this a little bit in your intro — is that they actually need to make this money back, and the way that they make this money back isn't through advertising. It's that they’re going through a series of contract renewals right now with cable companies that are worth way more money than what they paid out for this, for this litigation and future ones. And the way they’re going to jack those rates up is by whipping their audience into a frenzy. So they need to get back off their heels, resecure their political power, but then also leverage that for these contract negotiations. So I think they’re about to get worse.
TUR: We’ll see if that happens. Can you give me any indication that that has already started to happen? Have you seen any evidence of that so far?
CARUSONE: Yeah. Actually, we tracked 50 conspiracy theories since January 6 alone where Fox News was attacking elections, the institutions of government, basically repeating the same sort of scaffolding around the Big Lie. The only thing is they just didn’t name any characters this time. So the attacks on the election and our sort of democracy have been the same.
Best, clearest example is during the interview with Donald Trump, there’s very few questions that Tucker Carlson asked him, but one of the questions was: Some people say Joe Biden won the election. That is essentially a question borne out of the idea that the 2020 election was stolen. So this is the narrative that they’re continuing to tell on Fox. The only difference is they’re just dropping some of the characters that could get them some accountability. They're becoming more harmful in their lies.
TUR: Some of the companies that could sue them for defamation. Angelo, thank you very much for coming on. I know you spend a lot of time analyzing what goes on on that network and we appreciate you.