How the right wing echo chamber operates

The label ‘right wing echo chamber’ is used frequently, including by me. But what are all the entities that make up this group, who is behind them, how are they related, and how do they operate? Matt Gertz in the April/May 2021 issue of The Progressive does the analysis.

Fox News is historically the primary cog in this machine. Its roster of stars and millions of devoted fans allow it to choose which stories gain purchase within the rightwing information network. But rivals including Newsmax TV and One America News Network (OAN) have emerged in recent years, courting their audiences with programming even further to the right. And all three cable news networks are at the end of a vast information food chain, in which misinformation is shared on message boards and social media feeds, gets algorithmically accelerated by platforms like Facebook and YouTube, passes through conspiracy sites like Gateway Pundit and the Epoch Times, and is laundered and legitimized by outlets like and The Daily Caller.

Gertz gives an example of how misinformation once produced, even by the most unreliable of sources, ricochets around the chamber, getting amplified with each repetition and thus eventually acquiring a veneer of legitimacy.

In one such case of how the rightwing disinformation food chain functioned, an anonymous poster on the pro-Trump subreddit on the message board Reddit, r/The_Donald, produced an “analysis” claiming that millions of Trump votes had been deleted by the voting machine company Dominion Voting Systems. That analysis was written up by the pro-Trump conspiracy theory website Gateway Pundit, then lifted by the Fox rival OAN. Trump, watching the OAN segment from the White House, credulously tweeted about it in real time, spurring further coverage from larger outlets like Fox News and Fox Business.

What aids this process is that there seems to be no price paid whatsoever for being grossly wrong or even flat-out lying.

In the rightwing media ecosystem, there has been no reckoning at all. The ongoing ratings war between Fox, Newsmax TV, and OAN made that impossible. With Trump firmly in control of the GOP base, none of the major drivers of the ecosystem dared to risk their own viewership by blaming him for the attack – or acknowledging their own culpability.

Instead, the most powerful voices in rightwing media have spent the weeks since the insurrection minimizing the event. They vehemently denied that the events had been an armed insurrection or an attempted coup, and demanded that the nation move on. The widely reported evidence of white nationalists, QAnon adherents, Proud Boys, and other extremists were lies, they claimed. Instead, the rioters were Trump supporters who had valid concerns that got out of control – or the violence was actually committed by antifascist activists.

Left to their own devices, the rivalry between rightwing outlets will continue to create a race to the bottom of the fever swamps, as the networks compete against each other to attract an audience with paranoid and unhinged claims about Biden and his administration. The downstream effect of their competition is increasingly insurrectionist content beamed to millions of Americans, spurring future violence.

That there seems to be no price to be paid for spreading false information is true even for supposedly mainstream media, as we saw with how outlets like the New York Times, Washington Post, BBC, NPR and a whole host of other so-called ‘respectable’ news sources spread false information that led up to the invasion of Iraq. In general, I view with deep skepticism the reporting of the mainstream media in their coverage of anything that involves the agenda of the bipartisan pro-war, pro-business consensus in US politics or deals with ‘official’ enemies of the US such as Russia, China, Cuba, North Korea, Venezuela, Iran, etc. or with unsavory governments that the US supports such as those in Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt.


  1. says

    I’d like to chip in to buy Gertz the missing space bar that would help make the text in that graphic readable.

    “That there seems to be no price to be paid for spreading false information…”

    There is one, kind of, and Dominion has found it. When I first heard the amount of money they were suing people and companies for my jaw dropped but it has had the effect of making the likes of Fox and Newsmax walk back claims.

    Peter Thiel backing Hulk Hogan to sue Gawker into oblivion was a horrific precedent to set but it may be the only way to fix this. If any of these deep pocketed “progressive” billionaires ever want to put their money towards something that will make the world better this might be the way.

    Though as I was typing that I realized it won’t fix the Facebook/YouTube problem where radicalization is built into their DNA.

  2. Holms says

    How to make a graphic clear and readable:
    [_] Remove all spaces
    [x] Make it bigger

  3. Mano Singham says

    To be fair to Gertz, this is not his fault. The print version of the magazine has all the spaces and is very readable. I am not sure what happened when they made it into a .png image.

    Interestingly, some lines have retained the spaces and are readable. I am not enough of a techie to know why the space suppression seems so idiosyncratic.

  4. Mano Singham says


    Where Newsmax etc. went astray is in naming a specific company and that led to the defamation suit. Spreading lies that are vague as to who the targets were would have enabled them to avoid this fate.

  5. Mano Singham says

    In comparing the print version of the table with the online one, I notice that the text in the print version is not right-justified, so that the right edge is ragged depending on the length of the text in that line. In the online version, we see that the text is right justified. The lines where the spaces have been preserved are those that were shorter in the print version. Notice that the last lines of each paragraph, which are shorter, have the spaces.

    So it may be that when making the table for the online version, the width of each line was fixed and text crunched to fit. Why that was done, I do not know.

  6. Pierce R. Butler says

    Reports like this from a year or two back always described Sinclair Broadcasting as a major player among these networks; now, they go unmentioned. I did some searching and found nothing about Sinclair getting renamed or devoured by some other corporation (though they did acquire the local CBS station here) -- what happened?

    Tabby Lavalamp @ # 1: I’d like to chip in to buy Gertz the missing space bar …

    Could you get me a Mos Eisley cantina while you’re at it?

  7. Numenaster, whose eyes are up here says

    @Pierce Butler #6:

    “Could you get me a Mos Eisley cantina while you’re at it?”

    Thanks, I needed that.

  8. birgerjohansson says

    The result of the Echo chamber:
    IHME at the University of Washington estimates the true number of covid deaths in USA is up to 950,000 !
    Remember, the elderly tend to vote Republican. The COVID misinformation has literally been killing off conservative voters by the hundreds of thousands!

  9. Some Guy says

    “Fox News is historically the primary cog in this machine. ”

    No, actually that is right-wing radio. Right-wing radio came first then FOX. Without right-wing radio FOX would not have existed. Its right-wing radio that amplified the right-wing narrative of the so called “liberal media” that made it easier to create FOX

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