An emerging narrative pushed by major Fox News personalities and others claims California Governor Gavin Newsom will only win the recall because of election fraud and so called ballot harvesting, despite the lack of any credible evidence.
But Newsom’s top Republican challenger, right wing talk radio host Larry Elder, is also making evidence-free claims of potential fraud. “Larry Elder is relying on this big lie,” LA Times columnist Jean Guerrero said on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” Sunday. “He understands that Californians are very likely to reject him as the next governor of California, and the only way that he can explain this loss away is by claiming that it was stolen from him.”
“Fraud is presented as an excuse to explain away any future Republican loss,” CNN’s chief media correspondent Brian Stelter said Sunday.
Elder has largely marketed his campaign exclusively through right-wing media outlets and has refused interviews with journalists who criticize his positions, Guerrero said. By doing this, Guerrero said Elder has been able to reach the minority of voters in the state who support his views.
Ramakrishnan said that Elder’s fraudulent claims may impact more people, including younger voters who see misleading advertising on platforms like Facebook.
“People are frustrated with the pandemic, including high unemployment, and want to scapegoat someone,” Ramakrishnan said.
“Of course viewers are going to think there’s something to it,” Bunch said.
The combination of framing and persuasion with deceptive information has only become more widespread due to the consolidation of local watchdog news reporting and the increase of outlets acting as echo chambers for particular view points.
“It becomes difficult to track how this misinformation spreads and has impact when it comes to voting,” Ramakrishnan said.