ANGELO CARUSONE: It's true that from a corporate policy in terms of their practices, they're not violating the social distancing. But what's really interesting, because I think that this is a good illustration of the feedback loop between Fox and the larger right-wing echo system and these individuals because most of these Facebook events - we tracked, you know, more than 75 of them across the country started popping up on April 10th - so the question is what is happening in right-wing media before April 10th? And some of the most highly trafficked videos on the 9th, and a few days beforehand but on the 9th in particular, was Tucker Carlson and other Fox News segments calling for an end to the national lockdown, making an impassioned plea about liberty.
And it's an important point, because one of the things that took place in those few days before you started to see these events beginning to pop up, was that Fox News stopped making the argument - I mean, they were still saying it but originally they were saying we have to be willing to sacrifice grandma and grandpa for the sake of the economy. But they made a switch and, you know, starting on April 7th, April 8th, April 9th, they started saying that it's not about the economy, it's about liberty and freedom, and that's why we need to end these national lockdowns. And immediately after is when you started to see these things popping up.
And look, some people get these message, right? It's not just these kind of astroturfy groups or these national level groups putting in. Some of these events are being run by elected officials. In Maine the leading organizer up there is a sitting congressman. In Michigan it was a state representative and an advisory member to Women for Trump. They were really the leaders and the vanguards of these events. So they sort of saw that opportunity, right, where Fox sort of creates the demand, then you go out there and satisfy it, and Fox in turn rewards you by bringing you on. Just like they did with the sheriffs. You know, if you were a sheriff and you announced that you were not going to fine people, or punish people, for violating, you know, the orders of the state, Fox would invite you on to celebrate you, right? So they create the demand and then they're able to satisfy it, and reward it, promote it, and amplify it.