1/ So, I took a little respite tonight. Had some cookies, a couple glasses of prosecco. Gave some thought to this chapter of the Trump saga coming to close.

For me, this all started about 8 1/2 years ago...
2/ In 2012, I was wrapping up the project that originally brought me to Media Matters from law school - a campaign focused on Glenn Beck's advertisers and News Corp's phone hacking.

Then I started a petition to get Macy's to fire Trump. It took off.
3/ As we approached nearly a million signatures, Trump started to attack me. He attacked me on Twitter, tried to sue me for $35 million, sent his bodyguard to threaten me in person at a petition delivery (yes. that really happened), he went after my dad's business, etc...
4/ Most employers at that time would not consider legal threats and harassment from Trump to be a badge of honor. In fact, it made me a bit radioactive. But, my boss at Media Matters at the time didn't care. They were so used to right-wing attacks that it barely registered. lol.
5/ Once I get into campaign mode, I can't let go. I recognize that persistence matters and so I just kept plugging away. The fact that MMFA was so supportive further endeared me to the team and its mission. I doubled my commitment and worked even harder.
6/ So, my multiyear tussle with Trump and his absurd backlash, was at least one factor in ensuring that I would stay at MMFA -- and many years later end up as the org's CEO.
7/ I continued the Trump effort for years, watching his ascent and the way that he was connecting various parts of the right-wing echo chamber. (Macy's eventually dumped Trump, which was a nice bookend.) In way, my personal experience with him gave me a lot of insight.
8/ When he announced his run for president, I drew on that insight when I discovered and exposed that he hired paid actors to attend his announcement speech.
9/ During the summer of 2015, when most in the media were treating him as a joke, I remember warning that this was distinct and they were missing something. It was clear then that what he's was doing was organizing power on the fringes. Easy for media to miss (and fuel).
10/ I remember one conversation with a prominent NYT reporter that summer. This reporter was skeptical of my warnings about Trump. They insisted that Trump was good for Democrats because Trump would damage Jeb and because he could never win. That convo still haunts me.
11/ As I look back, there's a lot of awfulness and damage that Trump caused as president. Others are better positioned to describe that. Here's what blares brightest for me:

a) Trump was preventable;
b) Media recklessly enabled Trump;
c) Right-wing echochamber field Trump
12/ Even during much of Trump's presidency, the news media simply didn't know how to handle Trump. They never sufficiently adapted nor did they adjust swiftly enough to see how the ecosystem that fueled him was getting worse and metastasizing.
13/ You see that even in how they handled his disinformation fueled COVID briefings for weeks or for how late they were in recognizing the growth and harm of QAnon. I could go on....
14/ As COVID ravaged the country and Trump's conduct got increasingly more authoritarian, the media did stiffen spine and get a bit more proactive and less willing to both sides everything.
15/ I do wonder how long that will last, how much much of the improvement was fleeting in response to conditions so over the top as opposed to a reflection of a deeper shift.
16/ All this is to say: Trump is going. But the disinformation engine that propelled him is humming along. It spilled over and helped facilitate the insurrection on January 6.
17/ If we don't address it fast: it will disrupt our ability to ever deal with COVID. They'll attack vaccination sites and convince far too many not to take the vaccine. The same Fox News that propelled hydroxychloroquine and reopen protests will undermine public health measures.
18/ Nothing will get better unless we deal with Fox News and platforms enabling of disinfo. And, if we don't ensure that OANN doesn't end up in everyone's basic cable package this year and ensure journalists keep those spines stiff, it won't be long before see another fascist.

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More from @GoAngelo

21 Jan
1/ I'm seeing lots of discussion about/chronicling of implosion of QAnon. And, yea, I get it. Q people are bugging out.

But, much of analysis I'm seeing I think is missing something really significant and the most durable/lasting aspect of the Q conspiracy...
2/ The Q conspiracy had a few aspects: a) Q had secret info; b) that Trump has secret plan; c) that Democrats and media were pedophilic inter-dimensional demons and/or psychic vampires; d) that the global elite was conspiracy to run massive child sex rings for these dark forces.
3/ Yes, aspects of conspiracy that centered around Q or revolved around Trump's secret plan are unraveling for many -- and freak outs reflect that.

But keep in mind: the rest of the conspiracy has so deeply seeped in that it's almost taken as a given among this group, distinct.
Read 7 tweets
11 Jan
1/ So here's what I'm struggling with. I think reasonable for Apple/Google to send letter and ultimately remove Parler from App Store due to lax enforcement and also potential risks.

But why didn't Facebook also get a letter demanding they address issues or risk removal?
2/ Facebook had much bigger role in creating conditions that led to as well as organizing for January 6 event.

We tracked people using FB to organize attendees to bring guns to the Jan 6 event. FB did nothing. mediamatters.org/facebook/users…
3/ So if it's about accountability for past violations as well as preventing future threats, while Parler is certainly a concern...the big problem is actually Facebook and Facebook's either unwillingness or inability to address disinfo and violence their platform facilitates.
Read 5 tweets
6 Jan
1/ If you're not steeped in right-wing media/online fever swamps, it's hard to convey how intense past 2 months have been.

But everyone from Fox News down to smallest conspiracy site has flooded zone with lies about election being stolen and promises Trump can retain power
2/ Trump was right at the center of that feedback loop. Amplifying the lies/assurances/calls to action, which in turns fueled them. Republican politicians picked up on this over recent weeks, giving the efforts further legitimacy and a chance of success.
3/ Trump aided by Fox, extremists and right-wing media further promoted and sowed the seeds of confusion and chaos.

I can't emphasize just how significant a role Fox News played in laying the foundation for this moment over the past couple months.
Read 4 tweets
8 Oct 20
1/ Facebook is being deceitful and negligent on this issue more broadly. Maybe criminally so, to be frank.

For the better part of a year, they have been advised about how extremists were exploiting their lax enforcement on closed groups.

They rebuffed and dismissed.
2/ Worse. Back in April, they assured many governors they had removed reopen groups. They lied. They only removed public ones, left private ones and told the governors they complied with request and law.

We had to literally expose the private groups and call them out for it.
3/ What I’m getting to is this: there are a range of very simple things that could have done to prevent extremists not only from exploiting facebook’s lax framework but from benefitting from Facebook recruitment.
Read 5 tweets
7 Oct 20
1/ The way Facebook is handling this QAnon ban is alarming and deceitful.

So, FB announced a ban on QAnon yesterday. *After* announcement, they began telling reporters that it would take a few weeks to implement.

Yikes. Don't get fooled. Here's why that is deceptive and bad...
2/ By announcing the ban, but not being able to fully enforce it nearly immediately, what Facebook is doing is giving the QAnon community an opportunity to do two things: a) adapt/modify their pages to avoid ban; and, b) transition to other platforms w/out.
3/ But it gets worse. There is actually no reason at all for the lagging enforcement.

Back in August, Facebook banned *violent* QAnon communities - a subset of QAnon. During that action, they already largely compiled and identified the Q communities to assess for violence.
Read 9 tweets
4 Oct 20
1/ Sorry. Nice words here. But Zeke's predecessors and the WHCA as an institution, from Trump's firsts day in office failed to fight to preserve this access - and worse often actively enabled Trump undermining it.
2/ When Trump started to boot some outlets from briefings, instead of emphasizing solidarity and nipping it in the bud; they basically ignored it.
3/ The WHCA literally put out statements at one point heralding Trump as the "most accessible" president ever. Not only was the statement absurd, but also false.
Read 4 tweets

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