Earlier this week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced plans for a 9/11-style commission to “investigate and report on the facts and causes relating to the Jan. 6, 2021, domestic terrorist attack upon the United States Capitol Complex.” Will that investigation include the media’s role in peddling flagrant falsehoods about what actually happened that day?
Look up any story about the storming of the Capitol by Donald Trump supporters, and you will find it described as a “deadly riot” that killed five people.
Worse still, one of the deaths was that a police officer who – the story goes – was killed by rioters after getting hit in the head by a fire extinguisher.
Then there is the story of the protestor who “carried Zip Ties into the Capitol,” which led to accusations that the protestors intended to take hostages.
There have also been endless media descriptions of the event as an “armed insurrection.”
And there were stories claiming that, as Reuters put it, “Capitol rioters meant to ‘capture and assassinate’ officials.”
What is common about all of these media-fed narratives?
Not one of them is true. Not. One.
Let’s take each claim in turn.
The “fact” that five people were killed is false. Only one person is known to have been killed inside the building. She was a protester who was shot at close range by a police officer. (Had she been a minority, there would have been riots in the streets over police brutality.)
Two others died of “medical emergencies” while they happened to be on the Capitol grounds – which is not uncommon in mass gatherings. Another was apparently trampled by protestors climbing the Capitol steps – which is indeed a tragedy.
In any case, every one of these deaths involved protesters, not innocent civilians – a distinction the press is careful never to make.
But what about Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, who was, we’ve been told repeatedly, killed by a protester who threw a fire extinguisher at him?
The New York Times reported that protesters “struck him in the head with a fire extinguisher” and he “was rushed to the hospital and placed on life support.” NBC News’ Richard Engel claimed in a tweet that Sicknick was “clubbed to death with a fire extinguisher by a pro-Trump mob.” A Google search of “hit in the head with a fire extinguisher” returns 10 pages of results.
Every one of these news accounts treated the cause of Sicknick’s death as an indisputable fact.
But as Glenn Greenwald, a left-wing reporter who used to be a hero among journalists, notes: “The problem with this story is that it is false in all respects.”
He goes on: “Nobody saw video of it. No photographs depicted it. To this day, no autopsy report has been released. No details from any official source have been provided.”
In fact, the only source for this claim is the New York Times story, which relied on unnamed officials. And even the Times has since been forced to add a note at the top of that story saying that “new information has emerged … that questions the initial cause of (Sicknick’s) death.”
There’s other evidence to show that the media had it all wrong. ProPublica reports that Sicknick texted his family Wednesday night to say that “he had been pepper-sprayed” (he didn’t say by whom) and “was in good spirits.” CNN later admitted that investigators have been “vexed by a lack of evidence that could prove someone caused his death.” More tellingly, a Capitol Police statement said Sicknick returned to his office after the melee and only later went to the hospital. So what caused his death? Nobody knows, but it clearly wasn’t caused by a hell-bent Trump mob.
Why is this important? As Greenwald explains, “Without Sicknick having his skull bashed in with a fire extinguisher, there were no deaths that day that could be attributed to deliberate violence by pro-Trump protesters.”
The press has recently tried to increase the death count by including suicides that occurred weeks later.
Greenwald’s story – The False and Exaggerated Claims Still Being Spread About the Capitol Riot – goes on to point out a multitude of other “facts” endlessly repeated by the media to make the events appear more dangerous and deadly than they were.
That guy who supposedly “carried Zip Ties into the Capitol” (suggesting he intended to take hostages)? Turns out he found them on a table inside the building and grabbed them to keep the police from using them on the protesters.
The “armed insurrection”? There’s been no evidence that anyone carried firearms into the Capitol, except the police.
The report that protesters planned to “capture and assassinate” officials? The Department of Justice says “there is no direct evidence at this point of kill-capture teams and assassinations.”
“Over and over,” Greenwald writes, “no evidence has emerged for the most melodramatic media claims.”
We are not in any way defending the idiots who stormed the Capitol. It was stupid and pointless and people were needlessly hurt. Whoever broke the law should be punished to the full extent of the law.
By why has the press been so determined to overdramatize this one-day event, when it spent an entire summer hiding or excusing the violence, destruction, and deaths committed by left-wing mobs across the country?
The only reason this story has and continues to be grossly exaggerated by the press and by Democrats (but we repeat ourselves) is to sow fear in the public, portray conservatives as violent extremists, and justify more ferocious attacks on anyone who isn’t a left-wing Democrat.
Which is why the media will never come clean about their role in misleading the public. And why Pelosi’s “truth” commission can be counted on not to tell the truth about any of it.
— Written by the I&I Editorial Board