Stelter: Fox News and Facebook are part of the pro-Trump fantasy that enabled the Capitol siege


“The more research I did this week, the more I realized that Fox News shows and Facebook groups were only part of pro-Trump Fantasyland,” CNN’s chief media correspondent said Sunday, Brian Stelter, on “Trusted Sources”. “There is a lot of blame to be done.”

Stelter said Big Tech and the conservative media welcomed and repeated President Donald Trump’s lies that led to the siege. Trump encouraged the rioters with a voter fraud message that ran on right-wing media and social media platforms. These messages quickly spread to the deepest and ugliest layers of the internet, from InfoWars to 8chan discussion forums.

“People say Donald Trump and the internet bring out extremists,” CNN correspondent Elle Reeve told Stelter on Saturday. “But I think the reality is a reversal of that: that Donald Trump plus the Internet is bringing extremism to the masses,” Reeve said.
Ahead of Wednesday’s events, Trump supporters virtually rallied on various social media platforms, including Twitter, TikTok and Talk, the now-banned social media platform popular with conservatives. Many have called for violence.
In recent weeks, Amazon Web Services reported 98 examples of Speaking posts that encouraged and incited violence, according to a letter obtained by CNN Business. Amazon, Apple, and Google have banned Parler for its lack of ability – or desire – to moderate hate and violent speech on the platform. But that kind of insidious talk remains on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and many other traditional Google social media networks.

Despite some efforts to contain the most hateful and violent parts of their networks, including Trump’s ban on Facebook and Twitter last week, Big Tech largely either failed or was unwilling to get a hold of it. on the worst aspects of social media. The siege of the Capitol was planned on these platforms.

“Facebook’s own research has shown that two-thirds of the time a user joins an extremist group on Facebook is because their own algorithm recommends them,” said Adam Sharp, former chief information officer of the government and elections on Twitter.

Sharp has changed his mind when it comes to firing the president of Twitter.

“I didn’t think Twitter or a private company should whitewash this president’s record,” he said. “[But] the president’s violations of the law and policies of Twitter when it comes to threatening Congress are so egregious because he is the president and because he crossed that very specific constitutional line. “

The role of the right-wing media in violence

The Capitol Riots were caused by pro-Trump politicians and media, who for years ignored warnings that such a thing would inevitably happen, CNN’s Jake Tapper tweeted Thursday.
“The disturbing scenes that unfolded on national television on Wednesday were a natural consequence of the lies and presidential conspiracy theories that have been broadcast to Trump supporters for weeks,” wrote the senior CNN Business reporter. , Oliver Darcy.

Some right-wing figures are distancing themselves from Trump after the Capitol attack. It’s a step in the right direction, and one that other conservative media hosts must take to prevent future incidents like the Capitol riots from happening, said Julie Roginsky, Democratic strategist and former Fox News contributor. , on “Reliable Sources”.

“Fox News can stop this,” Roginsky said. “They can stop this by putting the truth in power.” She added: “I suspect the Murdochs know that [Trump is] imbalance. “

But while there is some self-reflection happening at Fox, Newsmax, OAN, and other right-wing media, it’s not universal.

Some conservative media are still spewing out false information about the elections. Some prominent figures have falsely claimed on air and on social media that left-wing Antifa groups were responsible for Wednesday’s violence – claims belied by videos of the attack and arrests of insurgents backing Trump.

“There are always bad actors who will infiltrate large crowds,” Hannity said on her Wednesday night show after the Capitol siege.

And Fox’s Tucker Carlson was quick to say that the acts of violence had nothing to do with racism, although the police did not resist the largely white crowd. Police have been comparatively much more forceful against black protesters in recent months.

“Whatever you think about what happened yesterday, what was racist? Nothing, of course. There was nothing racist about it,” he said on his show. .

On the weekend, conversations on Fox switched to Twitter’s decision to ban Trump.

“Trump’s applause section in the right-wing media is desperate to play down Wednesday’s crimes,” Stelter said. “They’re trying to get on with it and stick it in the memory hole. They’d rather complain about Twitter.”

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