Angelo Carusone: Twitter has become “a red pill PEZ dispenser”

Carusone: “These really far out things are increasingly getting supercharged because they're getting algorithmic boosts”

Video file

Citation From the January 30, 2023, edition of MSNBC's All In with Chris Hayes

CHRIS HAYES (HOST): There's also another thing that I've been watching happening on the right, and I think this is because of the sort of polarization around low trust, high trust. But the InfoWars-ization of right-wing media, and I say this even in the like, even when you move it outside the bounds of polarizing, like did aliens build the pyramids? This is like a hoary conspiratorial cliché for decades, right? That’s the kind of thing you’re seeing right-wing media people talk about now. It doesn’t even score a political point. It's just this view that, like, everything they tell you is a lie, that is more and more taking over that entire universe.

ANGELO CARUSONE (GUEST): Yes, and I think that what's concerning about that, and sort of the fact that has led into it is that, one, obviously social media and, in particular, the metastasizing of the QAnon conspiracy in the spring of 2020 coupled with all of the COVID stuff really helped that sort of, just that toxicity spill over.

But the other factor is that, it's worth keeping in mind that a very large segment of Republican leaders started to organize power on what used to be considered the fringes. And as they started to increasingly organize power on what used to be considered the fringes, using the right-wing media as a conduit for accessing that, they brought all that stuff that, you know, used to be on the fringes more toward the center. That's why something like groomers and pedophilia would be sort of far out there stuff years ago. And that is mainstream Republican orthodoxy now, it's not even controversial to say that, you know, Democrats are sexualizing children. Everyone is saying that in Republican politics. You don't have to be an extremist to make that point.

HAYES: There is a final point here, which I didn't note in the monologue, which is Elon Musk's particular role in this, who purchased Twitter and one of the first, most notable things he did in Twitter. And it was the first time I ever encountered this ludicrous, gross conspiracy theory that the two men had some relationship and that this was, like, a lovers' quarrel or something like that, was Elon Musk tweeting about it in a response to Hillary Clinton. That really put rocket fuel. He has since said he's apologized, but, like, Elon Musk owns a huge share of this entire thing.

CARUSONE: He does, because -- and this is exactly the danger for him being in charge. I mean, he supercharged that conspiracy theory. And it's worth noting that that is sort of the function of Twitter now after Elon Musk, is that it's kind of become a red pill PEZ dispenser, where these conspiracies, these really far out things are increasingly getting supercharged because they're getting algorithmic boosts. So even things that Elon Musk doesn't promote, we're actually seeing get supercharged all the time now.