Biden is president, but Trump's election lies are still being amplified by his media allies

The former president is continuing to lie about the election he lost. But fact-checkers are now focusing on Biden, not Trump. PolitiFact editor-in-chief Angie Drobnic Holan says her team is still fact-checking Trump, but "will be judicious about our choices."

Posted: Feb 22, 2021 5:51 PM
Updated: Feb 22, 2021 5:51 PM

A version of this article first appeared in the "Reliable Sources" newsletter. You can sign up for free right here.

USA Today and Suffolk University conducted a survey of 1,000 Trump voters, identified via 2020 polls, in the past week. The results reaffirm that Donald Trump's big lies are now part of the bedrock of the Republican Party. Riot denialism, for example:

"Most Trump voters embrace a version of events on Jan. 6 that has been debunked by independent fact checkers and law enforcement agencies," USA Today's Susan Page wrote Sunday. "Asked to describe what happened during the assault on the Capitol, 58% of Trump voters call it 'mostly an antifa-inspired attack that only involved a few Trump supporters.' That's more than double the 28% who call it 'a rally of Trump supporters, some of whom attacked the Capitol.' Four percent call it 'an attempted coup inspired by President Trump.'"

Trump sometimes told the public not to believe their eyes and ears — and some of his fans evidently agreed. The day of MAGA terror at the Capitol has been flushed down the memory hole by Trump's base. "Only 4% say the impeachment trial made them less supportive of Trump; 42% say it made them more supportive," Page wrote. "Fifty-four percent say it didn't affect their support."

Rinse and repeat

The Big Lie about Trump winning the election, and Biden "stealing" it, largely lives on because some people want to believe it and because a constellation of Trump propaganda sources pump out a diet of dishonest info that props it up. But it is also important to see how the Big Lie is still being rinsed and repeated on respectable TV shows.

Matt Negrin, a longtime critic of public affairs shows, called out ABC's booking of Rep. Steve Scalise on Sunday: "He was rewarded with 10 minutes of airtime and pushed the lie again," Negrin wrote. "The networks are actively helping Republicans spread this lie."

Negrin also pointed out that election-denying lawmakers have been welcomed on other network TV shows in recent weeks, and said that "the only Sunday show that doesn't book these Big Liars is 'State of the Union'" on CNN.

ABC representatives would say Scalise was challenged, again and again, by host Jon Karl. They'd say viewers saw how Scalise evaded the questions and saw how Karl held him accountable. They'd say that Monday's "GMA" aired an exclusive interview with a police officer who defended the Capitol on 1/6. They'd say that all of this is part of a news outlet's mission. But are those defenses persuasive to you when democracy is on the line?

The new "Lost Cause"

-- Garry Kasparov wrote in reaction to Negrin: "This is like giving air time to people selling bleach as a miracle cure, except even more dangerous." He said that "denying the integrity of the 2020 election is the new Lost Cause" and "the media will be partly responsible if it takes root."

-- "Somehow," CNN's Jim Sciutto observed, "acknowledging the truth today -- on Jan 6 and the election -- has become an outlier position in GOP and beyond."

-- Agree or disagree? "The greatest threat of misinformation and disinformation is domestic, currently spearheaded by the leaders of a political party and platformed daily by a media outlets pressured into 'both sides-ism' via decades of bad-faith pressure," Jared Holt wrote. Holt is a resident fellow at The Atlantic Council's Digital Forensic Research Lab.

A "classic disinfo campaign"

Researcher Kate Starbird wrote Sunday: "The 'big lie' (claiming massive voter fraud in 2020 election) has multiple features of a classic disinfo campaign, including: designed to sow doubt (rather than convince of a single explanation), pushes multiple (even conflicting) narratives, functions to undermine democracy."

"This isn't about finding a coherent narrative," Starbird wrote. "It's about creating doubt via throwing voter fraud spaghetti at the wall. And quite unsurprisingly, the next move is to use these same false and misleading narratives for future voter suppression, making it harder for people to vote next time." CNN's Zach Wolf recently wrote about that...

Tale of two GOPs

Saturday night on "Judge Jeanine," Lara Trump said her father in law "is the head of the Republican Party. He is really the person that everyone will continue to turn to in order to help them get across the line -- whether we are talking about 2022 or beyond."

Sunday morning on "Meet the Press" Chuck Todd asked Will Hurd, "What role should former President Trump have in the future of the Republican party? Or should he not have a role?" Hurd said "I think very little, if none at all."

Another takeaway from the new poll

"In a USA TODAY/Suffolk Poll in October 2016, 58% of Trump voters said Fox was their most trusted source of news. In the new poll, that drops to 34%," the aforementioned Susan Page reported. "Trust has risen in two relatively new outlets that have made their reputations by championing Trump. Newsmax is the most trusted among 17% of Trump voters, followed by 9% for" One America News.

Here's what Suffolk's David Paleologos said: The findings could reflect a "a seismic shift in the landscape of trusted news sources for conservatives."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 291891

Reported Deaths: 6605
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto19470226
Hinds18555383
Harrison16385273
Rankin12498260
Jackson12401216
Lee9635160
Madison9353193
Jones7836144
Forrest7055135
Lauderdale6735225
Lowndes5989137
Lamar579379
Lafayette5688113
Washington5124128
Bolivar4567120
Oktibbeha438091
Panola424092
Warren4091113
Pearl River4070127
Pontotoc406066
Marshall397992
Monroe3971125
Union391372
Neshoba3746166
Lincoln343799
Hancock337773
Leflore3346118
Sunflower315785
Tate299172
Pike297792
Scott291367
Alcorn289760
Itawamba288471
Yazoo282662
Tippah275265
Copiah273357
Coahoma272265
Simpson269278
Prentiss267158
Leake250870
Wayne250140
Marion249478
Covington246277
Grenada244576
Adams232374
George229545
Newton222551
Winston220174
Tishomingo210965
Jasper210343
Attala205669
Chickasaw200250
Holmes181470
Clay177348
Stone170729
Tallahatchie169039
Clarke167671
Calhoun155327
Smith151131
Yalobusha141936
Greene126333
Walthall123040
Noxubee122429
Montgomery120537
Perry120133
Lawrence118420
Carroll117123
Amite110632
Webster108629
Jefferson Davis99831
Tunica97923
Claiborne97329
Benton92524
Humphreys91226
Kemper89222
Quitman76614
Franklin75319
Choctaw69316
Wilkinson62226
Jefferson60827
Sharkey48817
Issaquena1676
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 488973

Reported Deaths: 9660
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson703321342
Mobile35725716
Madison32088437
Tuscaloosa23913404
Montgomery22369481
Shelby21714209
Baldwin19554263
Lee14827147
Morgan13529243
Etowah13091309
Calhoun13063281
Marshall11197202
Houston10019255
Limestone9303130
Elmore9283179
Cullman8856176
St. Clair8747214
Lauderdale8541209
DeKalb8419173
Talladega7424161
Walker6466240
Jackson6450101
Autauga614384
Blount6058125
Colbert5973118
Coffee522299
Dale4606106
Russell400530
Franklin396575
Covington3918105
Chilton380096
Escambia375970
Tallapoosa3533138
Clarke342348
Dallas3385139
Chambers3382102
Pike292471
Lawrence280685
Marion277492
Winston244563
Marengo243454
Bibb243259
Geneva238168
Pickens223453
Barbour208450
Hale208064
Fayette198755
Butler194865
Henry181741
Cherokee175737
Monroe165538
Randolph161240
Washington155832
Crenshaw143052
Clay142554
Macon140344
Cleburne136139
Lamar130632
Lowndes130148
Wilcox120525
Bullock116033
Conecuh106423
Perry104927
Sumter98231
Greene86732
Coosa86323
Choctaw54723
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