tv Democracy in Peril CNN January 28, 2022 10:00pm-11:00pm PST
jim. >> i am jim akos it and this is democracy in peril. and all week, we have been shining light on what's being done overtly and covertly to un undermine our democracy since the birth of the big lie with the crucial midterm elections fast approaching, there is great concern not only about voter suppression but wheels being put into motion to clear a path for the potential subversion of a future election. we ignore the threats at our own peril. so tonight, we have someone who can take us inside the mind of an insurrectionist. how did the people who attacked the capitol get to that point? how did they kmcompletely lose faith in our political institutions to try to make us an autocracy and violence and bloodshed? there are still people out there who are thinking like this. the fbi's still rounding up those responsible for january 6th to this day. so we are going to turn to the wife of the most high-profile suspect charged yet. she is actually the estranged wife of oath keepers' founder stuart rhodes who was ordered to remain jailed on wednesday while
awaiting trial for seditious conspiracy and other charges. he is among 11 charged with plotting to oppose, by force, the execution of the laws governing the transfer of presidential power on january 6th. rhodes has pleaded not guilty but we know investigators have loads evidence laid out in his indictment. he says he didn't step foot inside the capitol that day but was allegedly using signal to communicate with other members of his group and listen to him on november 10th, after the election was called for biden. the oath keepers founder boasted about having his team positioned and prepared to engage in violence on trump's command. >> we have men already stationed outside d.c. as a nuclear option in case the attempt to remove the president illegally, we will step in and stop it. inside d.c. we will also be on the outside of d.c. armed prepared to go in. >> so, so nutty. tasha adams testified before a judge this week she fears for
her safety and for the safety of their six children if her estranged husband is released. she calls him a dangerous man, a sociopath who would brandish guns inside their house. and she also told the court about elaborate escape tunnels her husband built in their backyard. these are not photos of them but of some spider holes rhodes apparently dug to use as some kind of training. adams joins us by phone. tasha, thanks so much for being with us. you testified in court earlier this week rhodes had been abusive toward your kids, and would regular hi brandish guns inside the house. how is your family coping with everything that's happened? and what is your reaction to stuart being charged with sedition? >> well, it's definitely been a roller coaster week. there was this huge relief when he was charged with seditious conspiracy and then there was the nail-biting when what i thought was no chance at all of bail. and then suddenly, you know,
reading the article in the case, it looked like maybe that was a real consideration and it was the most terrifying thing i could ever imagine. and i -- i called in and asked if i could make a statement and they went ahead and reconvened and allowed me to say my piece. >> what were the early-warning sci signs you saw before january 6th? you say social media posts started to change, were pro-trump posts by him. but you were also talking about tunnels being dug and so on. tell us about that. >> well, i mean, the tunnels -- this is a lifestyle of his. i mean, this is our everyday life. this is how we lived. he lives in constant fear. he is a very -- his entire personality is very fear based and he lived in terror of the feds coming in for him one day. and -- and this was every day for us. you know, this -- this actually did not even seem that unusual to me, i was so used to living
like that. and um, so sort of surprised when it -- it didn't seem to come up in his bail hearing what an incredible flight risk he was and i realized this is just such a huge case and there is so many people working on it. you know, no one really thought to ask us, you know, what living with him was like and -- and i realized i needed to call in and let them know. >> and what was it like during your marriage? um, i know that you are both estranged now. but did this build up over time? did it just, you know, go off like a light switch that he started to become unhinged in this way that you're -- you're talking about? how did this evolve over time? >> well, he had always been controlling. he had always been abusive. it was always a struggle to -- to keep everyone safe. but his behavior certainly took a downward spiral, um, and --
and i don't know if it was one or the other. was it his mindset was spiraling, and so he took oath keepers in a more and more dangerous, you know, road? or was he sort of absorbing the energy of the times and just following a more and more violent path, and then he was just more free to behave that way at holme. but certainly, when you see the rhetoric of oath keepers changing over the years, every time you see more violence out in the open with his behavior, that was absolutely mirrored in the way he acted at home and he was just becoming more and more unhinged and -- and more violent and more dangerous in the house. >> and so, in your -- in your mind, it would be a mistake for the authorities to, while he is awaiting trial, to -- to allow him to be released on bail or something like that? >> yeah, i -- i -- i think he would have taken off. i -- i really do.
if his whole life was built around it -- i'm not sure what his mindset was at the time that he chose not to run. he is just so volatile and it's -- it's really hard to -- to understand what he is thinking at the time. um, he believes he's right. he believes in himself. he believes he is a great man. he almost believes in himself as something of a -- of a religious figure or a -- um, you know, a person of myths and stories and legends. and he -- he takes that serious. he takes that very serious. >> and i have to ask you what was going through your mind on january 6th when you saw those oath keeper patches, oath keeper uniforms, and so on as they were marching up the steps of the capitol going inside -- inside the capitol? i -- i guess you might have known some of those folks who were there that day. i -- i -- i can only guess. i know you were involved with the group early on, um, as it was being formed.
what can you tell us about january 6th and what was going through your mind that day? >> well, i didn't recognize and haven't been able to recognize anyone around him. um, he's -- you know, he is a difficult person to be around and so he burns through people very quickly. in fact, there wasn't a single person in his group that i had ever seen before. at that point, completely separated from him for about three years. um, it was -- i knew he was going to be there. and i -- i assumed it would be something like another berkeley-type event. but then, i -- watching him online, like i often did to -- to just sort of know where he is physically because i am here in montana with my children and he is in texas. but i was always have one eye on the social media just to see is he hitting the road? is he doing an event near us? do we need to be careful? and i saw his rhetoric change. i wasn't the only one who noticed it. some other folks who specialize in extremism also noticed his
rhetoric changing a few months before. so i was pretty nervous but the second i saw that military stack, you know, the second i saw that with those hands on the shoulders, i knew that was stuart. i knew nobody else would do that, and i knew that they -- it was something serious. this was not a protest. this was not riots and fights in the streets. this was something far more sinister, and you can tell just by looking at them they are doing something completely different with the people around them. they are doing something very different than you have seen at any other riots. they're -- they're on a mission. they were on a mission and i knew stuart was behind it the instant i saw them, before i even zoomed in to see the oath keep keeper patches and it was like getting hit. it was just like a horrible, horrible feeling and it was a horrible, horrible event. >> it absolutely was. tasha adams, thank you very much for calling in and sharing your story. we appreciate it. thanks -- thanks for your time. >> thank you.
and we just got some insight into one of the leaders on the far right. now, let's take a closer look at the right-wing media bubble and why even the most out lan dig conspiracy theories are able to thrive as cnn's tom foreman shows us right-wing media personalities have perfected the art of stoking political rage and peddling lie after lie. >> get ready to hear the truth about america. >> reporter: way past mainstream news, well beyond conservative talk. >> now, broadcasting from the underground command post. >> reporter: right-wing radio podcasting and webcasts are grinding out a daily message of outrage, fear, and resistance. >> you need to defend your civilization against the onslaught of this cancer of progressivism, liberalism, and globalist brainwashing. >> it is a factory universe. >> reporter: professor emeritus lewis has studied what he calls
this propaganda for years, and says it is unlike almost anything seen in america before. >> and i think that's an important thing to understand is that it runs end to end. and -- and it's a very, very different and very dangerous ecosystem for civil society in the united states. >> the views expressed by the host of this show ought to become federal lay. >> spawned by the late rush lame because and others who were free to build empires after the fairness doctrine was dumped in 1987, such conservative programs have now outpaced liberal counterparts, 9-1 by some estimates. the top programs give tens of millions of listeners an earful every day. >> if masks work, why aren't they working? if boosters work, why aren't they working? if vaccine mandates work, why aren't they working? >> among the more common themes, the pandemic and suspicion about health officials. >> i mean, think about what they are doing to us. twisting our minds into pretzels here. >> there is nonstop denial that
joe biden won the president ial election. >> trump won, you are illegitimate. the american people know and feel it. >> comments about the sitting president are bitter and relentless. >> watch this creepy, old pervert sitting up there pretending to be the president of the united states of america. pretending like he had the most votes of all time. >> reporter: and on it goes, the insurrection was a noble attempt to defend democracy. the border is lawless and wide open. the economy was great under trump. it is collapsing now. any establishment news sources calling any of that a lie can't be trusted. >> these are political partisan operatives with an agenda. >> reporter: and underlying it all is a revolutionary drumbeat. all opponents, especially democrats, are un-american, evil, the enemy. >> try and take your guns. they try to take your school. we are an occupied country under enemy forces. they are targeting the popular and outspoken dissidents to the
american empire and they are trying to destroy them. >> reporter: there is nothing unusual about any of this in that echo chamber. listened for just a couple hours, you will hear everything you heard there magnified more and more and more and it is not just going on for a couple hours. this is going on virtually 24/7 in that environment to tens of millions of people, an environment often free of facts but almost always full of fury. jim? >> and fear and paranoia. tom, great piece. one of the figures you highlighted, what is interesting is that even though youtube banned him from the platform a couple days ago for spreading covid misinformation, that is not likely to make a very big dent in his audience. he has a huge audience. >> yeah, if you are not listening to these shows and many people watching right now probably haven't been listening to them. it's easy to underestimate how big they are. yeah, dan, youtube can say you are not on there. it will really make little more
than a scratch in his following because there are so many millions of people who have found ways around here and increasingly, what you are seeing in this -- again, this echo chamber is that they are finding ways to get platforms where their sense of the rules, what they want to do are not only tolerated but gladly accepted because this is also a big money-making machine for an awful lot of people on that side. this, jim, has become an entirely separate universe from the legitimate information networks out there. it is not to say they don't sometimes have some legitimate things but it's heavily, heavily seasoned with conspiracy theories and this furious anger and sense, again, that if you are not in their group, you are an enemy and have to be stopped. >> all right. very disturbing stuff. tom foreman, thank you so much. we appreciate it. big developments on that fake elector scheme we told you about led by trump campaign officials
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won. remember, they went so far as submitting fake certificates of the national archives. the scheme did not work but even as the justice department looks into this effort, there is yet another concerning front where trump backers are trying to warp reality by claiming this -- that wisconsin legislators voted to withdraw its 2020 electoral votes for joe biden. that's right. here to debunk the lie of the week as we are calling it, is fact checker in chief daniel dale. out of all the lies we heard this week, this unone a whopper >> so number one wisconsin did not vote to withdrawal its ten joe biden electors. number two, wisconsin did not actual v any vote on such a proposal and number three, this is impossible anyway. you cannot withdraw your 2020 electors in 2022. where did this come from? like a lot of nonsense, it started on a far right conspiracy peddling website called gateway pundit. it came out with an article claiming that it had huge breaking news that wisconsin had voted to withdraw its ten
electors. this was completely false as i said. but it was completely repeated by a bunch of republican figures with big followings on social media and they include a trump-endorsed governor candidate in arizona who just repeated it word for word. soon after that, the gateway pundit revised its headlines, softened its headline to claim wisconsin had voted to advance, to move forward with a proposal to withdraw the electors. it claimed it was a unanimous vote. they claimed they had video of this. that is completely false, too. here is what actually happened. there was one republican state legislator who stood up in the wisconsin assembly in advance of an entirely unrelated vote. and introduced a proposal to withdraw the electors. now, the presiding officer in the chamber at the time -- a republican -- immediately referred that proposal, that resolution to a committee where it is gonna die and he did that because under assembly rules, you have to refer such resolutions to committees so there was no vote at all. the video the pundit posted
showed the entirely unrelated vote the assembly then moved on to have as planned after that referral to committee. now before i could fact check this, jim, a leading republican in bis wisconsin fact checked it for me. poc dismissing the gate way pundit claims saying that is not what happened, he made clear there is no vote and also before the article was published, he posted a tweet saying this resolution attempting to withdraw electors is illegal, unconstitutional, you can't do it and i think that is important to emphasize. we can get -- get lost in the retelling of the gateway pundit conspiracy nonsense. the most important thing here is these proposals to decertify the election, to withdraw electors is completely ridiculous. there was no constitutional mechanism more than a year after president joe biden was inaugurated fair and square winning the election, there is no mechanism for taking back the electoral votes that were cast in mid-december 2020. so, jim, nonsense just from start to finish here. >> yeah.
it sounds like this bonkers reinstatement stuff. it is pure fantasy land and they would be better off going to amusement park or something like that. daniel dale, thanks so much. it helps when they fact check them for you in -- in the halls of state legislatures like this person did but thanks so much. that was great. we appreciate it. and misinformation universe goes far beyond radio or tv. ahead, we will take a deep dive into how social media plays a role in tearing our democracy apart. where the big lie lives on, next. battling sensitive skin, we switched to tide hygienic clean free. it's gentle on her skin, and out cleans our old free detergent. tide hygienic clean free. hypoallergenic and safe for sensitive skin.
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as we examined the threats to our democracy, we talked about the role of radio, fox, and podcasts but you cannot ignore the role played by social media. in the words of facebook whistle-blower, frances haugen, here is what she had to say. >> i believe facebook's products harm children, stoke division, and weaken our democracy. they have put their astronomical profits before people. >> we know on january 6th, facebook staffers acknowledged what should have been obvious,
writing quote we have been fueling this fire for a long time and history will not judge us kindly. the mueller investigation showed the power of social media as a weapon used by our adversaries to weaken democracy. since then, the danger posed by social media now threatens lives according to the fbi director. >> terrorism today and we saw it on the 6th moves at the speed of social media. >> any of the hundreds of court records from the doj's investigations into january 6th and you see the role social media played. you see how members of the extremist oath keepers used facebook and other platforms to plan what federal prosecutors now call a seditious conspiracy. my next guest has asked everyone from mark zuckerberg to jack dorsey about their role in our elections. kara swisher is the host of sway for the y"the new york times." thanks for joining us, we appreciate it. the big lie, it is still big business on social media.
>> yes. >> nobody knows that better than you. what should these companies be doing at this point? is it just -- is it beyond our control? >> it's beyond their control in a lot of ways. i mean, the problem is it's morphed into such a huge amount of information. the numbers are so massive, almost as big as their profits actually these companies if you noticed recently their reporting this week and they are making enormous amounts of money. but one of the things they did is architect it in such a way that it is very hard to control this stuff. and open for themselves, they -- they hit one place and something else happens or they go somewhere. they close down one thing and pop up somewhere else. the architecture is one of the -- one of the many problems here and it's very hard when -- when malevolent players really want to game you on systems people use every day for communicating about -- i don't know -- cooking or sports or whatever people are using social networks for which are very good purposes. >> and we noticed that after trump and other folks were banished from places like
facebook and twitter because of all the lies and so on, you know, they went to alternative conservative social media sites like parlor, getter, that sort of thing. those business models seem to be attracting people looking for more extreme views and -- and they're finding them there. what can be done about that? i mean, that is just sort of another side of this -- i guess this spectrum that a lot of us aren't paying enough attention to. >> you can't prevent people from doing startups, right? these are funded startups and things like that. you don't want to. they -- i have actually dealt with white supremacist issues on some case. moderation, hacking, the same problems these other big sites have. i think what is interesting is the most interesting site of all of them -- and they are all -- i have interviewed all the ceos from -- from those sites -- is it's really hard to create a social network for one. the most interesting to me is rumble, the video site where certain people are doing really well and that's where dan camped to, he is an investor also but
he has really doubled down on it since he just got kicked off of tube. russell brand is on there. there is all interesting things going on there as a al terntive youtube. on the other, it creates all these sort of silos of disinformation not sure we can do much about that honestly if they want to create businesses like that, they can create businesses like that as long as it is not illegal. >> and you know, this is a question i have been wrestling with and i think this is something we are all going to have to deal with. i mean it is a huge question moving forward and that is what do they do if trump runs for president again? trump and his people, republican party, he is nominee of the republican party, they are going to say how can we be banished from these sites? what happens then? >> it is a big deal actually because a lot of people on twitter have some autocratic problems in other countries so i don't know how they can keep certain people on in other
countries and not put donald trump on. that said, he is a persistent violator of their rules or was for a long, long time agot awaya lot before they finally kicked him off. so those other people don't violate the rules. i know it is kind of a weird situation that a small group of people is determining what the rules are and whatnot but these are private companies. they can do whatever they want. and so, it'll be an interesting issue because he clearly violated rules compared to other people. but when you let other people around the world on and not him, it's -- it's -- it's gone that be a difficult issue for i think facebook will probably bring him back on. twitter, maybe not. we will see. >> and, you know, i keep coming back to this one too, kara. can there really be a real conversation about fixing this as long as republicans complain about being cancelled on twitter and facebook, they talk about the tyranny of big tech and so on. and then just this week, we are seeing books being banned about the holocaust. >> it is a little ironic, isn't it? >> give me a break.
>> well, it's just -- you know, everyone has their own little story or narrative they want to tell depending what they want to do. i used to say people that are the noisy -- the people that complain the most about being banned are the noisiest people i have ever heard in my life. they are everywhere and they have lots of alternatives. i think what's hard is that -- that republicans and democrats do agree on the power of concentration in these companies. the enormous profits. the ability not to be regulated. this -- these -- this industry is not regulated in any way. there is lots of things they can do that don't run into the free speech problem which a lot of it centers around, which is not really the issue. the issue is concentration of power by a very few number of companies. privacy issues. data issues. hacking issues. transparency. there is all kinds of things that -- that other -- other industries get regulated and it works out just fine. this industry has never been regulated and there is things we can do that don't violate the ability of people to say what they think. and -- and it can happen. it's just gotten sucked up into this emotional-political thing
that is hard to overcome. >> and we were talking to a friend, scott galloway last night about podcasts and the issue with joe rogan and spotify and neil young saying as that la vees that, keep on rocking in the free world but do it without me. what -- what do we do about spotify? i mean, do we allow that site -- that service -- to police itself if other artists want to join neil young and try to develop some kind of then so be it, does the free market work itself out in -- in that kind of situation do you think? what are your thoughts? >> joe rogan has a lot of fans, like 11 million. so it is a very important person to spotify and neil young, he has fans. i am a huge fan but in terms of their business, we can't make them do anything. i mean it is an interesting way you put that. we can't do anything. the market has to work itself out here. if they violate things, that is a different thing. but this is the choice they've made. this is the person they decided to back and that's the way it's going to go and consumers can
decide in -- in their own ways whether they want to be affiliated with a company or pay for a company that does that. but this is not a new thing. you know? it goes back to orange juice and anita brian. this is not a fresh new issue to consumers, right? in that case, it worked. in this case, it's hard. it is going to be really hard but luckily, neil young got a very nice ad from apple today saying we stream neil young and we love him. and that was, you know, of course, apple wanted to stick it to spotify because they are in competition with each other. but we'll see where it goes. >> that might have been part of it. but neil young is pretty great. kara swisher, great to talk to you. thanks so much. we appreciate it. >> thank you so much. all right. and some members of congress bear responsibility for the disinformation poison. 147 of them voted to overthrow biden's resounding victory, and to this day, some of them aren't letting up on the big lie. you are about to hear from one constituent, though, that let one of them have it. you are going to want to hold on for that, next. ith us, the mored save on your auto insurance. (man) hey, hon! (wife) hi, honey!
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it hasn't exactly been a peachy week for georgia republican congresswoman marjorie taylor greene who appeared on a public access call-in show in her district a few nights ago. and got an earful. >> thank god for joe biden. she is an embarrassment to the state of georgia. >> well, we all have our opinions. >> i have got mine. >> all righty. thank you. >> all righty. thank you. greene who helped lead the
right-wipg charge to overturn the 2020 election results learned that people back in her home state have been paying close attention to her ridiculous antics. another listenerer during that call-in show took greene to the woodshed over her refusal to work with president biden. this piece of sound is a little long but it is so worth it. >> we -- trump for four years. you all refuse to accept biden. you refused to do it. and we -- you know, maybe we didn't like trump but he won, and so that was it. you want -- you all are not -- you will not accept the fact that joe biden won. and that is the whole thing. you are not going to accept it. you're going to keep on and keep on and just pick, pick, pick. and you won't get anything done if you are not gonna respect the man and realize that he is the president, you're not ever gone that get anything done.
you've got to work together and you are not doing it. you're not doing it. and neither are the republicans. they're -- they are just going with trump. no, he didn't win it. he didn't win it. and all the money in georgia to count the votes three times because he said he won and he didn't. to me, it was -- everything in washington would be -- would settle down if every -- if those republicans would just say we didn't win. like alabama -- alabama people. when we didn't -- we really should have won. >> bless her heart. the look on the congresswoman's face as she listened to all of that. it is a little early for valentine's day but i think i am in love with that nice headon the phone. in part, because it is a sign our democracy stands a chance after all. and because it is a reminder that when you peddle the worst kinds of conspiracy theories, sometimes reality bites you
back. greene has become a rising star in the gop even after embracing other big lies and conspiracies, like blaming jewish-owned space lasers for the california wildfires, and comparing congressional covid restrictions to the holocaust. >> this woman is mentally ill. you know, we can look back in a time in history where people were told to wear a gold star and they were definitely treated like second-class citizens, so much so that they were put in trains and taken to gas chambers in nazi germany. and this is exactly the type of abuse that nancy pelosi is talking about. >> should point out greene later apologized but greene is not alone on the january 6th karma watch. north carolina gop house member madison cawthorn is now facing a challenge from some of his constituents who filed a lawsuit arguing he should be barred from congress for speaking at the stop the steal rally just before the attack on the capitol. those north carolina citizens note the section in the
constitution stating that no person shall serve in congress if they have engaged in an insurrection. >> the democrats, with all the fraud they have done in this election, the republicans hiding and not fighting. they are trying to silence your voice. >> cawthorn who recently was caught on camera cleaning his gun during a virtual congressional hearing has repeatedly talked up the prospect of civil war in this country for months. >> if our election systems continue to be rigged and continue to be stolen, it's going to head to one place and it's bloodshed. and i will tell you, as much as i am willing to defend our liberty at all costs, there is nothing that i would dread doing more than having to pick up arms against a fellow american. >> cawthorn is blowing off the no notion that he could be disqualified from congress. >> this is just another impeachment of president donald trump. it's just that he is not in office right now so they are not capable of actually being able to do it.
so instead, they are going after the america first patriots. >> there is nothing patriotic about hinting at civil war. that is the opposite of patriotism. but it is not just greene and cawthorn who are facing january 6th blowback these days. consider the mounting legal problems for the former president and other trump allies. they are piling up quickly. but that nice lady from georgia who was calling on greene to work with president biden has put her finger on something important. members of congress are sent to washington to get things done for their constituents. you may have noticed that scary bridge collapse in pittsburgh today. the same day the president was touting his administration's infrastructure plan. the president was able to bring a small number of republicans onboard for his proposals to fix the nation's crumbling roads and bridges. the vast majority of gop lawmakers, though, voted against it. but there is another category of republican when it comes to infrastructure -- the kind who takes credit for all of that money coming back to the states,
despite their opposition to the bill. iowa gop congresswoman ashley hinson tweeted how she secured hundreds of millions of dollars for a project in her state, even though she opposed the infrastructure bill. democracy may be in peril but hypocrisy isn't. perhaps, some republicans are just confused, given what is coming out of the state tv network for the party these days. >> back in june of 2021, he started talking about his bipartisan infrastructure deal. there is nothing bipartisan about it. if -- if it was bipartisan, it would have been passed by now. >> wow. and that wasn't even tucker. just to be clear, the biden infrastructure bill, once again, was bipartisan. and once again, it did pass. maybe that fox anchor was thinking about all those infrastructure weeks during the trump administration that never resulted in anything. here is an idea. maybe for once, just once, give bipartisanship a chance. give democracy a chance.
i guess for some on the far right, democracy is a bridge too far. the good news and why don't we end the week on some good news is that maybe we are starting to see the light at the other end of the january-6th tunnel. citizens are finding a way to send a message to the freaks on the fringe roaming the halls of congress. you may be ride or die with trump but you might also be on a highway to hell. many who continue to push the big lie who are trying to change laws to suppress the vote are doing so under the guise of election integrity. a reality check with john avlon is next. we wanna buy your car. so go to carvana and enter your license plate answer a few questions. and our techno wizardry calculates your car's value and gives you a real offer in seconds. when you're ready, we'll come to you, pay you on the spot and pick up your car, that's it. so ditch the old way of selling your car, and say hello to the new way at carvana.
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we cannot say it enough. there is no widespread fraud in u.s. elections. in fact, comprehensive studies of billions of ballots over the years have put the rate of voter fraud at less than .0001% and yet republican cries about election integrity only grow louder. why? john avlon is here with our reality check. >> we need to talk about integrity because it's a word that is being used and abused in our politics by backers of the big lie. according to the merriam-webster dictionary, integrity means the quality of being honest and fair. but honest and fair is the exact opposite of what it is being
trotted out to defend. >> now, republicans, 74 million americans have concerns about election integrity. we are supposed to just sit down and shut up? >> one thing important right after the bat is election integrity. >> we do need to look at election integrity and we do need to see if we can restore confidence in the elections. >> election integrity and election security is a top priority for the american people. >> this is an issue of election integrity. we want election integrity. at risk for me right now is maintaining the integrity of that election. >> it's easy to see why this became their preferred fig leaf. after all, election integrity sounds much better than backing the lie without any evidence. or i am afraid of telling the truth because i might lose my primary. but calling it election integrity is orwellian nonsense. counterfeit language to back up a bogus issue. if you if you listen carefully, the
most slippery are using it as a dodge. they are saying because of many of the right wing constituents have bought into trump's lies, that there is now a need to address those concerns with restrictive new laws that make it more difficult to vote. so make no mistake, this is a phantom menace. the political equivalent of an arsonist selling fire insurance on the side. it can't be said enough that none of the recounts and audits conducted in arizona, georgia, michigan, or wisconsin push by partisan interests have been able to find anything resembling large scale voter fraud. the right wing heritage foundation database lists only seven cases of voter fraud convictions related to the 2020 presidential election. at least six of which are by republicans. and those are only the ones that have been adjudicated to date. but the facts haven't stopped many people from buying the self-serving lie hook, line, and sinker. they will try to shade and
broaden definitions to keep the confusion alive and use that as a pretext to conspiracy bootstrap. florida governor ron desantis even proposing a 52-member election police force to investigate, detect, apprehend, and arrest anyone for an alleged violation of election laws. idea also being floated in republicans in states like georgia and arizona. and of course, they are doing doog all this to placate the massive, yet fragile ego of donald trump. a seditious snowflake of a man who can't deal with the fact that he lost a free and fair election. but the cost of this cult of personality is devastating to our democracy. now, honesty is too much to expect i guess for a man who told more than 30,000 false or misleading claims over the course of his presidency. isn't in the vocabulary for a guy who thinks ethics are weakness but they are at the heart of our civic religion.
the honest truth is there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election. it was free and fair and i'm sorry, but those facts don't care about your feelings. many of the elected republicans who continue to push the big lie behind this mantra of election integrity know better. they are just afraid of donald trump and they are afraid of what will happen if they tell their base the truth. but that's weakness, not strength. that is being a follower, not a leader. and that's the opposite of embracing the values of honesty and fairness in our elections. the opposite of integrity. and that's your reality check. jim. >> well said, john avlon, thank you very much. and we'll be right back. for rob, it took years to find out why his constipation with belly pain just wouldn't go away. despite all he did to manage his symptoms...
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question, especially this week. i will tell you, you know, the segment that we did earlier where we showed the constituent really, you know, tearing into marjorie taylor greene. i thought that was a very healthy development. you know, it shows you that people are paying attention at home. and they are not buying what some of these characters on the fringe are selling. and, you know, she has beclowned herself with all these conspiracy theories and so on and there is good, decent people auto home and, don, you and i worry about this all awl day long, is our country so messed up we can't get out of this mess and there are people paying attention and they are smart. and -- and they care about this country. they care about this democracy and they are going to call these politicians out and i think the more it happens, the better off we are going to be. >> i certainly hope that you are right. and i got to tell you, i have a warning. you haven't been outside. brace yourself, sir. brace yourself. i am going to talk about this bomb cyclone that is coming to the northeast. >> i am going to take cover.
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