MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough accused President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans of manipulating social media to undermine law enforcement.
The “Morning Joe” host said GOP lawmakers were promoting easily debunked conspiracy theories, but he said the president’s apologists were banking on the fact that most Americans were unable or unwilling to untangle fact from fiction.
“It’s one conspiracy theory after another after another, churned up by the White House, senators and conservative media people,” Scarborough said. “Do Americans even keep up with this? All the lies that they’re spewing out are easily proven.”
Scarborough said the president seemingly interrupted his daily intelligence briefing to hype the latest FBI conspiracy theory reported by Fox News, and MSNBC’s Mike Barnicle said Trump was manipulating the news cycle to undermine American institutions.
“Every morning we run the chyron at the bottom of the screen — ‘President Trump calls FBI texts bombshells,'” Barnicle said. “What we could be running every single day as a result of what (Sen.) Ron Johnson does, what’s coming out of the White House, what’s coming out of Fox News, what we could run as a chyron at the bottom of the screen is — ‘Russia is winning.’ That’s what’s happening.”
He took aim at Facebook, which he said had not taken enough steps to help social media users sort legitimate information from disinformation — such as the House Intelligence Committee chairman’s claims that a surveillance warrant was improperly granted against Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
“You get Fox News or the White House or Devin Nunes or Paul Ryan to start a lie, and the president churns it is up, people will do a Facebook posting,” Scarborough said. “It will get millions and millions of shares, and then guess what — when it ends up being a lie, Facebook doesn’t send a message around saying — you know what? you’ve been lied to again. This is 42nd consecutive day you’ve been lied to, and you’ve been told half-truths.”
More than half of Americans get their news from Facebook, and Scarborough said the social media company doesn’t take its role seriously enough as a media provider.
“There should be a threshold, where they have to send out a blast to every Facebook subscriber that got these false stories, that this story they got was a lie,” he said. “Until they do that, they are being irresponsible, and they are actually being the megaphone for all the lies and conspiracy theories that are hurting democracy today by Republicans, and one day it may be democrats doing it. This is a bipartisan issue.”