The infamous Trump-Fox feedback loop is very dangerous — but Fox is now getting some competition from One America News, as President Donald Trump is promoting conspiracy theories that he sees on OAN about his defeat in the 2020 election.
As documented by Media Matters’ Matt Gertz, Trump was up late last night watching one of Fox’s emerging rivals, One America News, and tweeted about a segment that claimed a study had shown machines from Dominion Voting Systems shifted 2-3% of votes from Trump to President-elect Joe Biden in key swing states.
This latest claim — different from yet another conspiracy theory about Dominion machines — is in fact almost a month old, coming from a November 21 blog post by Ben Turner, an insurance actuary from Texas who offers fraud detection services for insurance companies.
Turner’s blog post makes a number of statistical claims about the reported shifts in election results since 2008. One central fact is missing from all these mathematical calculations, though: The election results in the states with close results have used paper ballots, which can verify the results of machine counts — automatically disproving any number of conspiracy theory claims about electronic voting machines simply changing votes in the computers systems.
But the claim reached far-right news outlets with The Epoch Times posting an article on Tuesday. “I kind of was too afraid to go public because I knew that it won’t help me in terms of, you know, half the population now thinks that I’m a tin-foil-hat person. And I’m aware of that,” Turner told the news outlet. But, he added: “If I’ve done something wrong with the analysis, then maybe somebody out there will prove it wrong, and that’s fine with me. I’d rather get to the truth than be right.”
The Epoch Times also quoted another online posting from Turner, claiming that his analysis “is indicating that Georgia is the strongest case for auditing.”
But Georgia has already conducted a hand recount of paper ballots last month, which confirmed Joe Biden’s win in the state and did not alter the statewide numbers by a significant margin, only correcting a few mistakes in some local areas.
However, the Trump-OAN loop is now in full swing: This morning, the fledgling network ran a segment on Trump’s latest pronouncements about its own coverage: “In a tweet Tuesday, the president sounded the alarm on Dominion Voting Systems, accusing the company of giving votes to Joe Biden.” While the segment didn’t mention the connection of Trump’s tweet to OAN’s own coverage, an on-screen image of Trump’s tweet showed that he had tagged the network as his source.