Fox News built an 'alternative reality' to allow Trump to steal the election -- and get away with it: Political scientist
Fox & Friends hosts Steve Doocy, Ainsley Earhardt and Brian Kilmeade (screen grab)

Fox News has laid the groundwork for President Donald Trump to steal the election -- and get away with it, according to a political scientist.

Rachel Bitecofer, an election analyst and senior adviser to the Lincoln Project, told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that right-wing media had created an alternate reality that gave Trump's allies permission to believe he was saving democracy by stealing the election.

"Here's the thing you guys need to understand and America needs to understand," Bitecofer said. "I've been talking about this for a while, you can see this if you watch any of the congressional testimonies. In Republican world, it is they that are defending the institutional purity [and] Bill Barr is American hero, okay?"

"There's an information ecosystem that is different than what everybody else in America is digesting, and in it, Trump is, what he's doing -- and this is how all dictators rise, right? -- he's on a freedom crusade, and none of this information is getting through. They never will listen to the [Bob] Woodward tapes, they never read the Mueller report. They listen to Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity's version of these documents and they have constructed an alternative reality that started in the Jim Jordan part of the party but goes through the rank and file now, and that is a key feature."

No matter what actions Trump might take to corrupt the election, Fox News viewers believe he is, in fact, taking a defensive action against supposed Democratic corruption, Bitecofer said.

"They're not looking and thinking about it and navigating it through the mentality that we are doing," she said. "They think what they're doing is saving America. They think that [Barack] Obama and the Russia investigation was the power grab. They think they're resetting American institutions into purity by what they're doing."