Fox News didn’t just perpetuate the Big Lie about the 2020 election, they pretty much started it, Brian Stelter reports.
Brian Stelter probably knows more about Fox News than anyone not working there and probably more than some who do. I almost never read what he’s written or hear him speak about Fox without learning something new. Yesterday, he surprised me again in an interview on MSNBC’s Alex Wagner Tonight.
Stelter has a new book coming out: “Network of Lies: The Epic Saga of Fox News, Donald Trump, and the Battle for American Democracy.” In the discussion with Wagner, she pointed out that Trump is both Fox’s puppet-master and the puppet.
This excerpt from the interview is a perfect example of that:
WAGNER: First of all, you know, people say a lot of things about how Fox is poisoning democracy. But you have sort of a granular assessment and deep reporting of how literally Fox is feeding Trump the lies that then in turn lead to the coup attempt. Can you talk about that?
STELTER: And they knew. They knew what they were doing. And that's why these emails and texts [made public in filings from the Dominion defamation lawsuit] are so important and so explicit.
You know, the big lie didn't just happen in November of 2020. It was made to happen. Maria Bartiromo went on the air, told a tale about Dominion, with the help of Sidney Powell, the Trump-aligned lawyer. And then four days later, Trump started saying it. He thanked Sean Hannity on his Twitter for telling him all about Dominion.
So, it was Fox that seeded the story that gets us down the path toward January 6.
Another revelation that surprised me: Stelter said that after January 6, Sean Hannity wanted to steer the 75 million Trump voters away from him. Apparently, Hannity was willing to dump his Bedtime BFF when he thought it expedient. Apparently, Hannity thinks it's expedient to be back together in the bromance, now that Trump is leading in GOP primary polls.
“The reality is, Fox is 100% in Trump’s corner and if it’s not now, it will be by the general election,” Stelter said. Assuming Trump is the nominee, of course. If not or if Trump supporters sour on him, Fox and Hannity probably will, too.
You can watch the discussion below, from MSNBC’s November 9, 2023 Alex Wagner Tonight.