Viewers of right-wing media blame 'leftists' for Jan. 6 attack — and things are getting worse: columnist
Fox News host Tucker Carlson. (Screenshot)

A new PRRI poll finds that just 29 percent of Americans believe that the election was stolen, proving that the group of people who believe the so-called "big lie" is rapidly shrinking.

Yet, that polling statistic comes just as Pennsylvania Republicans voted to allow a right-linked company to "audit" the 2020 election in the state. That likely comes from the statistic that 71 percent of Republicans believe the lie, while Democrats and Independents do not.

A column from Greg Sargent in the Washington Post explained that all of it can be linked back to right-wing media and the perpetuation of false information on their airwaves and websites.

Digging into the stats with PRRI, Sargent discovered that among the Americans who most trust Fox News or other right-wing extremist outlets, 76 percent think the election was stolen. Only 21 percent of Americans who don't watch Fox or other such outlets only believed the lie.

Along with that number is the revelation that Fox News viewers now believe that former President Donald Trump's supporters were not responsible for the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. A shocking 64 percent of viewers blame liberal or left-wing activists for the insurrection.

"In short, right-wing media widely sowed the lies that inspired the effort to violently overthrow U.S. democracy," wrote Sargent. "They then retroactively papered over what had happened, by suggesting in numerous ways that there might have been some legitimacy undergirding that effort's goals."

Essentially, the right-wing media personalities inspired the violent attempt to overthrow the U.S. government and then tried to pretend that anti-fascists were to blame, he explained.

Specifically, right-wing television hosts "have gone to great lengths to rewrite that whole history, downgrading Trump's role and instead falsely blaming Antifa for the violence," wrote Sargent." And in many other cases they have alternatively blamed the left or rewrote the story to erase the truly insurrectionist goal of the rioters."

Republicans have a kind of duality in the way they're treating the Jan. 6 attackers, saying sometimes that they should be held accountable. Then they promote claims that Trump's followers were victimized by police and they're unlawfully being held as political prisoners in jail. Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and Louie Gohmert (R-TX) staged a photo opportunity where they attempted to get inside the jail to see the prisoners.

"As long as this set of grievances continues to metastasize, it's hard to be sanguine about the future consequences for U.S. democracy. But we should be clear on which bad actors are to blame for it," Sargent closed.

Read the full poll and column at the Washington Post.