Watch Angelo Carusone explain how Fox News' “feedback loops” that “incentivize and legitimatize” right-wing attacks led to January 6

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Citation From the June 13, 2022, edition of MSNBC's The ReidOut   

JOY REID (HOST): And those kinds of attacks were amplified by all of right-wing media, not just on Twitter. There's a whole right-wing media ecosphere that you follow that contributed to what turned out to be not just violence on January 6, 2021, but also violent threats toward anyone who stood in the way of Trump staying in office. Your thoughts?

ANGELO CARUSONE (GUEST): Yeah, without a doubt. And the thing to keep in mind is that, you know, the seeds of doubt in the election were sown well before the whole "Stop the Steal" effort, even Election Day. I mean, 6 percent of Donald Trump's posts in 2020 were about the election being stolen, and almost all of those were before Election Day. 

And the right-wing media would amplify that concern, just like we heard in the previous segment about Bill Barr, right? Casting doubt on all these, you know, on the mechanisms that were letting people vote. I mean, they were building the foundation for what later became the scaffolding for the attack on January 6. And I think what you get to is actually the incentives structures that get created here, whether you're identifying a target like Donald Trump did in those tweets, or even talking about the big grift and the 250 million dollars. What you create is our new feedback loops and behaviors. One of the things that I've found really disturbing, and the committee didn't bring it up today but it's relevant, is that not only -- once you sort of build the muscle memory and for people to raise money off that, one of the things that we saw is that a year after the 2020 election, there was still 46 separate organizations and entities -- many of which were actually Republican candidates -- that were running ads on Facebook targeting people to give them donations all based on the election being stolen. Right? So, you actually create the conditions where others then take the ball and run with it. You build and inspire new feedback loops -- either to lie and amplify misinformation, or actually to operationalize that misinformation by targeting individuals, be they public officials or otherwise. 


REID: How can it be, I mean, Fox News is culpable too, right Angelo? I mean, and not just them, you know, you've got a whole -- as I said -- it's a whole ecosphere, but you do have a major network that is named by name in these hearings. 

CARUSONE: Yes, with good reason. You know, after the election was called by Fox News and other networks, there was actually a couple of days where Fox News did not challenge the results. And then all of the sudden, on a dime, a few days after November 7, 2020, they then spent the next two weeks doing 774 -- just over that two week period -- 774 segments about the election being stolen. Conspiracy theories about the voting machines switching votes, reports -- fake reports about these trucks coming in with ballots, ideas that Joe Biden was paying kickbacks to people. I mean, they took every lie from the right-wing fever swamps and they laundered through their national brand in that two week period. The landscape would be very different, and January 6 would have been very different if Fox News did not spend that two week period in November 2020 actively promoting misinformation and flat out lies about the election being stolen and helping incentivize and legitimatize, at least for that audience, the right-wing and the attacks.