How the pro-Trump echo chamber has changed impeachment

Posted January 16, 2020 12:03 a.m. EST

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

As impeachment proceedings return to the forefront, so does the influence of right-wing, pro-Trump media. President Trump is hearing that he and his voters are victims of villainous Democrats. He is hearing (from fans like Lou Dobbs) that he is the greatest president of all time. And he is hearing (from Rudy Giuliani and other figures) that the "Biden crime family" is the real scandal.

Trump has been MISinformed every step of the way. So have his allies. They don't call it an "echo chamber" for nothing.

"I'm struck by the media feedback loop in these messages from Lev Parnas," the LAT's Chris Meregian tweeted Wednesday. "Everyone is sharing tweets by Charlie Kirk, clips of Sean Hannity, articles in The Hill."

Meregian is right. The documents from Parnas — one of Giuliani's indicted associates — revealed more about how Trumpworld "sought to meet with the Ukrainian President and members of his government as they sought dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden, worked to oust US Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch from her post and even apparently conducted surveillance of her in Kiev," as CNN's Manu Raju and Jeremy Herb wrote.

The headline on their story poses a key question: "Democrats have new evidence in impeachment case, but do Republicans want to hear it?"

Parnas sits down with Maddow

"President Trump knew exactly what was going on" vis a vis the Ukraine pressure campaign, Parnas told Rachel Maddow in a taped interview on Wednesday. "He was aware of all my movements. I wouldn't do anything without the consent of Rudy Giuliani or the president."

Parnas brought up John Solomon, formerly of The Hill, currently of Fox News — repeatedly. Here is NBC's full story about the interview...

How the echo chamber works

Newly released messages show Parnas texting with Joseph Ahearn of the pro-Trump America First Action PAC... In March 2019, when Ahearn asked "what should I send don to tweet," apparently meaning Donald Trump Jr., Parnas sent links from Hannity, Laura Ingraham, The Hill, The Daily Wire, and other outlets. "Have jr retweet it," Parnas said. On March 24, Parnas sent a link to a Daily Wire story titled "Calls Grow To Remove Obama's U.S. Ambassador To Ukraine," i.e. Marie Yovanovitch. "That's a good article," Ahearn replied two minutes later. Another ten minutes later, Jr. tweeted out the story and said "We need more ⁦@RichardGrenell's and less of these jokers as ambassadors."

>> Jr. was on Hannity's show Wednesday night, but Hannity did not ask a single Q about Parnas...

>> Other texts from Parnas included content from the aforementioned John Solomon, Fox talking head Dan Bongino, OANN personalities, etc...

>> What's next: Anderson Cooper's interview with Parnas will air on CNN on Thursday...

BuzzFeed's new story about Hannity

This is brand new from Emma Loop and Jason Leopold, looking at how often Sean Hannity came up during the Mueller probe: The Fox host "is mentioned more than a dozen times in documents BuzzFeed News has obtained from the Mueller investigation so far." Hannity, who loves to claim that "journalism is dead," told the reporters that "I stand by my incredible investigative team and our great sources and reporting."

Thursday's front pages

Here are WaPo and NYT's Page One displays with the walk through the Capitol Rotunda:

"This is a very big night," Chris Cuomo said on CNN Wednesday night. "We've watched the impeachment articles literally be handed over, walked over, to the Senate. This impeachment has now set into motion a removal trial. The big question is, what about all of this new evidence emerging of clear wrongdoing? Can the Senate really choose to ignore it? And will the White House continue this 'did nothing wrong' argument?"

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