On MSNBC's Ayman, Angelo Carusone discusses how Fox News and foreign Facebook groups pushed the Canadian trucker convoy narrative

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Citation From the February 12, 2022, edition of MSNBC'S Ayman

AYMAN MOHYELDIN (HOST): So could Canada's so-called Freedom Convoy be coming to a town near you? The Department of Homeland Security now warning a group of truckers is planning a similar protest here in the United States that could start as soon as this weekend. And their first target, Los Angeles, the site of tomorrow's Super Bowl. But who's really behind this push? New reporting from NBC's Ben Collins points to an all-familiar source: Overseas actors. Some of the Facebook groups behind American trucker convoys aren't actually Americans at all. Instead, they're being run by fake accounts tied to continent mills – excuse me content mills continents away, in places like Vietnam, Bangladesh, Romania, and several other countries. So you're telling me foreign actors are meddling in the United States' affairs. Anyone feel like they're having a bit of 2016 deja vu? I mean, Russia, if you're listening. Alright. Anyway, My panel is back with me to discuss this. Guys, it's good to have you back.


MOHYELDIN: So Angelo, you guys have done some incredible work over at Media Matters about this. You put together this chart showing just how much time Fox News has devoted promoting the Canadian truck protest, because if you're watching you fox News, you would think the trucking protest – the trucker protest excuse me is the single biggest international story, that world peace was going to depend on what happened happens. And the network's hosts, they've cheered on the truckers as freedom fighters, as civil rights heroes. Why is Fox News spending so much time on this?

ANGELO CARUSONE (MEDIA MATTERS PRESIDENT): Well, in a way, they're carrying – they're picking up where the disinformation left off. I mean, part of the idea of employing these content mills and these content farms, the same way that Donald Trump hired actors for his campaign announcement right, Is that you wanna have a good start. And what they demonstrated at the end of January with, you know – these pages were going from 5 to 15 to 100,000 in you know, thirty hours. So it felt like there was excitement around it. And once you have enough of that happening, and you put enough, you know, stuff online, and it looks like there's some activity taking place, Fox then picks it up and legitimizes it. So it went from an online movement that was largely propped up by these synthetic and fake accounts to now Fox starts to build some real buzz and demand. In the same way that the tea party movement started all the way back in the day. Right? There was a couple, there were some murmurs, a little bit of astroturfing, Fox then spent a month talking about it. All of a sudden it became real, real people came out. And so that's why Fox is talking about it because they basically fell for the same thing. They – Facebook let this happen. They only took it down well after the story had metastasized. But by then it was too late, because it sort of became real once those numbers know, got up there and there was enough, you know, the pump was primed.