On Salon Talks, Media Matters' President Angelo Carusone Explains How The Fake News Ecosystem Lets The “Alt-Right” Harass People

From the December 28 edition of Salon Talks on Facebook Live:

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To watch the entire interview, click here

AMANDA MARCOTTE (HOST): I mean, it seems to me that this isn't -- in a sense it's something new that the online environment allows [widespread harassment by the white supremacists] to happen. But this is nothing new in the sense that even back in the 19th and early 20th century, journalists who tried to investigate the [Ku Klux] Klan got investigated. 

ANGELO CARUSONE (PRESIDENT, MEDIA MATTERS): That's right, everything is very much the same. It's the same thing with this fake news stuff, where people say, 'Where is this coming from?' This is not new. There has always been hoaxes and ridiculous, completely fabricated pieces of information that are masquerading as news. The difference in this environment is that there is an infrastructure for distributing it to the masses where we can leapfrog the traditional mechanisms by which we distribute information. And that's what concerns me most about the white nationalist organizing is that the same infrastructure that distributed in a wide scale, fake news, is the same infrastructure that would allow for wide scale harassment at a whole new level. Because all you have to do is move some of that information into the same pipeline, which we've seen, and it really does intensify the exposure and harassment and amplify the risk. And that's the thing, that infrastructure can be more damaging than just distributing lies. It can actively organize some of the worst kinds of hate and offline abuses and activities. And I think that's why it's not something we can pretend or not stand up to, because every time they take an inch, our work in order to resist that and fight against that is significantly harder. And I think there has to be a line where good, decent people start to draw it. 


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