Angelo Carusone: Dominion filings show Fox News was “helping build the scaffolding on January 6”

Carusone: “Start treating it like InfoWars, and a lot less like we had been treating Fox News before we saw the recent revelations”

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Citation From the March 6, 2023, edition of MSNBC's All in with Chris Hayes

JASON JOHNSON (HOST): Can you think of another instance in the last 15 or 20 years where there has been such obvious, obvious lying, not by a particular anchor, not by a particular show, but a conspiracy by an entire network to lie, and knowingly lie about an issue that affected the public? Can you think of any other examples in the last 15, 20 years? 

ANGELO CARUSONE (GUEST): I'm sure that that happens all the time at Fox News, day to day. But to your discussion earlier, there hasn't really been clear-cut evidence of that, right? I mean, there was -- about 12 years ago, there was a series of leaked internal communications from Fox News that we were able to acquire, that actually showed Fox executives telling producers to lie about the temperature record. Because if they actually told people what the temperature record was, it suggested that global warming was real. And that their audience didn't want to hear that. But that was only three emails, I mean. And it was explosive back then.

But what we didn't see was three months of internal communications where they were saying that all those things, and then also saying, 'Oh, we know that none of these things we're saying is true, but we're doing it, not just for profit, but also power.' And I think that part has been left out of this. And I think that's partly what makes it so disturbing, but it hasn't been really named yet in all of this discussion, is that the scary thing is, this isn't just about money for Fox News. They're also doing it for power. Power that they then use and operationalize to drive change, not just in policy, but in our culture and in our country. 

JOHNSON: Angelo, with that in mind, especially when we talk about our country, let's talk a little about the audience, right? Because there seems to be this sort of wag the dog element, right? Fox claims in these internal memos, in these internal texts, 'Hey, hey, hey, we're afraid of our audience here.' But the fact that the audience seemed to want to be lied to. I think to myself, if we had a bunch of internal records exposed that the NFL fixed the Super Bowl, right? 'Hey, hey, we don't want the Eagles to win. How do we make sure that, you know, Patrick Mahomes gets --' people would be furious. They would be boycotting the NFL. There would be calls for Congress. Why are Fox audiences not upset about the fact that they have been lied to and led into a failed insurrection? 

CARUSONE: Well, a big part of that is that the ends justify the means. You know, they sort of know what the goal is, and so, sometimes, you have to lie and fib. And that's why the power part of this conversation is very important, why their audience doesn't backlash against them when they're being derided, or that the things are being -- that their hosts are admitting that they're lies, is because they all know that the lies are done to serve a larger objective. Fox News lied not just to, you know, appease its audience, but because they were helping build the scaffolding for January 6, for an attack on our democracy. And they all understood it. That was a part of it. That's why their audience was backlashing, because they expected Fox News to push the things that were otherwise percolating in the fringes, that hadn't been sort of laundered through these few gatekeepers.

And that's why I think it matters who goes on and who validates Fox News. We're not having debates about why people aren't going on Alex Jones to reach different audiences, right? At some point, because of what has been exposed here, in such a clear example, I think everyone needs to change their behavior around Fox. Because they're no longer masquerading as a news operation. They're a destructive, dangerous political operation, and that's the part where I think we all have to act accordingly. Start treating it like InfoWars, and a lot less like we had been treating Fox News before we saw the recent revelations.