On MSNBC, Angelo Carusone explains how the House GOP hearings are a “Fox News fever dream”

Carusone noted that the hearings aim to unite the right-wing base and undermine elections

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Citation From the February 11, 2023, edition of MSNBC's American Voices with Alicia Menendez 

ALICIA MENENDEZ (ANCHOR): Joining us now, President and CEO of Media Matters, Angelo Carusone, and former Florida congressman and MSNBC political analyst, Carlos Curbelo. It is good to see you both. Angelo, I want to start with you. When it comes to this week's House hearings on the so-called weaponization of government, the White House Counsel's office responded saying the panel is a Fox News reboot and serves as, quote, "a political stunt that weaponizes Congress to carry out the priorities of extreme MAGA Republicans in Congress." Your sense as you watch the media landscape, Angelo, of how Republicans are using these public hearings to air their grievances and to feed the media echo chamber? 

ANGELO CARUSONE (MEDIA MATTERS FOR AMERICA CHAIR AND PRESIDENT): Yeah, I think when I watched this week, what I see is, there's sort of two considerations. One, is that this is sort of fuel for the right-wing regime, and that's the first thing to keep in mind, is that it's going to help raise the volume a little bit. But it has a secondary effect, and it sort of ties in with what you were talking about before, which is that it is a Fox News fever dream.

What it does is that it validates much of the conspiracies, the false claims that were percolating in right-wing media, and then sort of focused on Fox News for the past couple of years. And so now it validates it, and what it does is it actually allows for the echo chamber -- which right now has kind of been disparate. Right-wing media has sort of had different things that they have all been sort of focusing on, it helps realign them around one topic, and that's going to not then -- it's going to take that fuel that's raising the volume, and it's actually going to give them something to reverberate because it's being validated by these congressional figures. And that's going to improve something that you mentioned earlier, it's going to help give them more narrative dominance as we move forward through the year and into early next year.

So when I look at this, I don't just see it as a sort of reflection of the right-wing media, but I also see the consequences for all of us down the line if we don't think about a way that this gets short-circuited.


MENENDEZ: In addition to that, Angelo, there is also just the risk that they actually disprove themselves. Republicans had hoped to prove that Twitter silences conservatives for a partisan political agenda, and instead we learned that Trump's White House pressured Twitter to remove a post from Chrissy Teigen insulting Trump with what I'm going to call, some colorful language. So how did Wednesday's Oversight hearing poke holes in the GOP's argument? Do you think it did? Do you think that broke through? 

CARUSONE: A little bit. I don't think it broke through very much in right-wing media. There were a few pockets that were willing to sort of highlight those examples as an illustration of the sort of anti-Trump sentiment that's percolating. So they'll use that as a little bit of a cudgel against Trump but at its core, what I would say is that it did validate something. You know all these conspiracies have the chance to topple on to themselves, and that's very true, but at the same time, one of the biggest things I think was validated in the right-wing media, and that is anti-election.

At its core, much of this stuff is that basically the Democrats and the government, the FBI, were colluding with Big Tech in order to steal the election. And that really came out, and I don't think that there were a lot holes poked in that. So they're willing to ignore these other examples that undermine their narrative, or some of their narrative, if they can sort of validate or reinforce or find more ways to buttress their Big Lie. And I found that to be one of the biggest takeaways, is that despite all these little hole pokes, they might weaponize them for the primary fight, but I was really concerned about how much the right-wing media was able to sort of use these hearings as validation for the Big Lie. And I think that doesn't bode well for us moving forward.