On MSNBC, Angelo Carusone explains the growing danger of the right-wing fever swamps in the wake of Trump's indictment

Carusone: “they're planning and preparing for something bigger.”

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Citation From the June 17, 2023, edition of MSNBC's American Voices with Alicia Menendez

ALICIA MENENDEZ (MSNBC HOST):  I leave you to the work of keeping your ear to the ground on what the far-right is saying all about this so that I don't have to, and then I can just learn about it from you. I mean I thought it was interesting, given that he called on his supporters to come rally for him. There wasn't necessarily the optics of what he potentially wanted, but I have often been cautioned by those who study and follow the far-right on this program, that sometimes it is happening underground, in ways that might not be as visible to the naked eye.

ANGELO CARUSONE (MEDIA MATTERS): Yeah, and I think that's an important thing, to that observation, because a large part of the reason why people weren't there is a reflection of the type of people now that are really his supporters, the people he's speaking to. And a big reason why the people didn't show up is that they were told by the organizers, the sort of now tip people, you know the people that are actually leading the narrative for Trump, don't show up, because it would be a false flag. Don't show up, because there's no way not to commit violence. It's too early to be doing that. That was the narrative that we were hearing in the right-wing fever swamps. Not that we should be committing violence, but that it's too early. It's not the right time. And if you go, they're going to try to set you up, and they're going to try to have some informant that sort of, false flags the situation and gets you worked up to sort of take action. But it's too early, so keep your powder dry. That's the part that's really alarming, is that people didn't show up, not because they didn't support him, but because the principal organizers backing Trump right now in the fever swamps, which is where he's organizing power, on the fringes. And that's what makes this whole thing so scary is that it's very real. They said don't go. Even Alex Jones's people are saying don't go. It's too early, we're not ready yet. And this will inevitably lead to violence, and we just don't have our ducks in a row for it. And that is the scary part. It's that they didn't come because they're planning and preparing for something bigger.


ALICIA MENENDEZ: Right. And Angelo, part of the reason why I wanted to have you and Ruth on together is that you're both always able to articulate that this is not about a single person. This is about an apparatus that is built around them. And I was struck by the fact that you have a Fox News pundit  reportedly helping convince Trump not to return the classified documents. How would you describe Trump's relationship with right-wing news? If you can even call it that at this point?

ANGELO CARUSONE: At this point, it is an instrument for organizing power. They have this massive media apparatus, but the way in which Trump organizes power on the fringes is through this vehicle. That is the mechanism for organizing, but it's also the delivery system for disinformation. So you began your segnemt with Ted Cruz, part of the way you get to that cycle and feedback loop is that you inject this poison into the ecosystem, and it gets reverberated through this rigt-wing media for ten months that it's politically motivated. Just this week, Fox News then spends several hours talking about the fact that nearly 50% of Americans think that this indictment is politically motivated, which is actually a reflection of the poison that they've been putting in the system. And then you have people like Ted Cruz coming on and validating that.

ALICIA MENENDEZ: And you think the specific verbage,  that banner, the wannabe dictator banner, reportedly got this producer fired. But then you have a U.S. Senator using the same language.

ANGELO CARUSONE: Exactly. And that is what is so concerning about this, is that we've always had fringes, the society has fringes. But what would answer your question, this is bigger than just one person. Because it has activated a much larger piece of infrastructure, that actually has the power and it's currently doing, dismantling our democratic institutions, our civic norms, all of the things that we're seeing with misogyny, with anti-lgbt activity, all these groomer narratives, the increase in violence, the bloodthirst, the attack on our institutions. It is all a reflection and an indication, and an alarm bell of these systems in action. And Trump has really been the catalyst for that system. So you take him out of it, it's still going to continue to cascade and they've been eroding the very buttresses that would prevent it from getting out of control.