IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Buckle up: The Trump/MAGA media feedback loop is just getting started.

This is a coordinated attempt to use chaos to undermine public confidence in Trump’s trial.

We’re only one week into the first criminal trial of Donald Trump, yet he and his MAGA allies are already intervening to identify and drive off the jury anyone they think could pose a risk to the former president.

At Fox News, host Jesse Watters has launched attacks on the jurors, saying at one point that any juror who says they can be unbiased in the case is a liar, and citing Trump’s legal team as having uncovered potential jurors who were “undercover activists.” Trump himself quickly amplified Watters’ remarks (and as Lawrence O’Donnell noted, partially altering Watters’ quote) on Truth Social — an action that risks violating Judge Juan Merchan’s gag order prohibiting attacks on jurors, potential witnesses and other people related to the case. A prosecutor in the case reportedly called his remark disturbing while saying that Trump did, in fact, violate the gag order.?

Well before the trial began, this Trump/MAGA feedback loop was pushing smears and attacks on Merchan’s family.

None of this has stopped Watters, who continued attacking the jury Thursday evening after it was fully seated. Steve Bannon, set to face trial himself later in the year before Merchan over the “We Build The Wall” scheme, cited Watters’ remarks as a reason that Trump’s team should move for an immediate mistrial.

Watters has gone further than merely making general complaints about jurors; his efforts may have contributed to a juror leaving the trial entirely. On Wednesday, Watters called out “juror number 2,” describing extensive details about her work and personal life. By the next morning, the juror noted in court, her friends and family seemingly had figured out she was a member of the jury, and she withdrew from the trial as a result.

Even as the prosecution accused Trump of violating the gag order, the former president continues to use his Truth Social platform as a conduit for these attacks.?That generates more attention — at least within the right-wing bubble — for the platform, and encourages more MAGA personalities to suggest people invest their money in the platform, even though its fundamentals as a business are less than great. (Meanwhile, the platform notified the Securities and Exchange Commission that it is giving shareholders advice on how to avoid having their stock loaned to short sellers.)

Well before the trial began, this Trump/MAGA feedback loop was pushing smears and attacks on Merchan’s family. And we’ve seen a full-on MAGA media meltdown about the trial supposedly being political persecution.

On the one hand, a lot of this information has been circulating online because of the public interest in the case — classic tabloid journalism. To that extent, Merchan has taken action to protect the jurors. And yes, it’s certainly inappropriate for the press covering a trial to essentially dox someone on the jury.

At the heart of what Watters and Bannon are saying is that Trump deserves special treatment because of his political following.

But the core issue here is that Trump and his media allies don’t believe that they should have to be subject to the same legal system as the rest of us. Instead, there’s a clear and concerted effort by MAGA forces to use media pressure to give Trump more preferential treatment, and to drive off any juror they believe poses a risk to Trump. That’s why Fox Corp. personality Clay Travis is happy to publicly urge the former president’s supporters to “do everything you can” to get on the jury and acquit Trump, regardless of the evidence at hand.

This coordinated attempt to use chaos to undermine public confidence in Trump’s trial should be understood as part and parcel of Trump and his supporters’ attack on democracy — and their media allies are fully on board.?

The banal truth is that the jury system is foundational to democracy; while not every court decision is perfectly just, no one is above the law. And when charged, defendants including Trump have a right to face a jury of their peers, which the system works to ensure is fair by providing tools to defendants and lawyers.

This is a historic trial, but not one that the legal system itself cannot handle. Look no further about what else happened after juror 2 was excused to confirm that: Another juror was excused after the prosecution raised questions about the credibility of his answers. That’s the system working.

At the heart of what Watters and Bannon are saying is that Trump deserves special treatment because of his political following. Without getting into the minutiae of jury selection in New York state, their claims are preposterous. Democracy — both at the polls and in the courtroom — is about ensuring fairness by giving citizens the right to participate in the process. We knew after Jan. 6 that Trump and his MAGA media allies disregarded the votes of people they disliked. We now know they oppose their right to participate in court, as well.

Even worse, this is a harbinger for the election. When Trump’s team starts throwing around wild election claims like four years ago, there’s no indication that anyone in the conservative media will get in the way — even Fox News, after its record settlement over claims about voting machines in the 2020 election.

So, buckle up: The Trump/MAGA media feedback loop is just getting started. There will be a lot more chaos to come, both in court and for the country.

news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news