Fox News insiders have leaked to The Daily Beast evidence that the network’s supposedly neutral research arm, the “Brain Room,” is being pressured by management to manufacture support for Trump's baseless accusations about voter fraud, obviously with an aim toward helping delegitimize any Joe Biden win.
From The Daily Beast:
In recent weeks, Fox News’ Brain Room—the channel’s longtime research resource for its dwindling population of fact-based journalists, which suffered disproportionately in the latest round of layoffs—launched a behind-the-scenes operation that current and former staffers say is designed to reinforce and amplify Trump’s erroneous accusations.
“Starting this Monday, October 5th, the Brainroom Research Team will launch the Election Integrity Project,” Fox News Vice President and Managing Editor Tom Lowell wrote in a Sept. 30 memo. “Included will be a one-stop document broken up by state that showcases different stories where election integrity is potentially compromised.”
Lowell added that the Election Integrity Project will focus on such alleged problems as “erroneous NY ballots, ballots being thrown into rivers, etc.” The latter is a favorite claim in Trump’s rally speeches, but has no basis in fact.
“Officially, it looks like an attempt to report on election irregularities. What it feels like is an attempt to push more baseless conspiracy theories and scare the viewers into thinking the election is being ‘stolen.’ It isn’t,” one Fox News veteran with direct knowledge of the Election Integrity Project, told The Daily Beast. “It’s alarming that the Brain Room is a part of this, like it’s an attempt to give it an air of legitimacy. I don’t recall ever seeing anything like this before.”
This person added: “It feels like an attempt to use the Brain Room to try to lend credibility to something that isn’t credible. It feels like a stunt to support Trump’s baseless allegations that the Democrats are trying to ‘steal’ the election. If it is a collection or database of alleged voter fraud examples, I could see it being used to support Trump’s efforts to contest the election results, if Biden wins.”
I don’t know how the Brain Room has been used in the past but I do know that Fox has been fear mongering about voter fraud long before Donald Trump ran for office. Trump probably got the idea from watching Fox.
More from The Daily Beast:
Voter fraud “is absolutely not an issue and is a figment of Donald Trump’s imagination that Fox is helping to promote,” [a] Fox News staffer told The Daily Beast. “Trump takes his constituents as Fox takes its viewers—naïve and uninformed—so they’re both getting away with it. This is extremely deleterious to the voting population. By finding outlier stories—low-percentage cases of something going wrong with a ballot—they are buttressing Donald Trump’s conspiracy theory of voter fraud.
Hello! This finding outlier stories and amplifying their significance is Fox News’ business model! From exploiting an outlier group of demonstrators shouting “Pigs in a blanket, fry ‘em like bacon” to demonize all Black Lives Matter demonstrators; to exploiting Kate Steinle’s murder to demonize immigration and sanctuary cities - and President Barack Obama; to demonizing the phrase “Happy Holidays” or other inclusiveness as a war on Christmas, weaponizing cherrypicked incidents is who and what Fox News is.
It’s surprising any staffer hasn’t already noticed.
That doesn’t make this story any less disturbing. Because a concerted effort to bogusly delegitimize our elections, in lockstep with Donald Trump, is uniquely dangerous for our democracy. So if this is the straw that broke the bubble of a Fox staffer - well, better late than never.
But it should also be recognized as entirely in keeping with Fox News’ modus operandi and the logical next step of its propaganda operation.
You can watch a Fox News twofer from February 11, 2017 below, highlighting “an illegal immigrant caught voting five times in the U.S.!”
(Top image via screen grab from an August 7, 2017 report hyping voter fraud)