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Wednesday, June 28, 2023
WND Criticizes Convictions Of Proud Boys Over Capitol Riot, Fret Trump May Be Next
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily has something of an affinity for violent extremist groups and trying to downplay their violent extremism. It tried to soften the violent-thug image of the Proud Boys before the Capitol riot -- which didn't age well -- though it then mostly threw them under the bus to protect Donald Trump. It also laughably insisted that both the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers as "groups that mostly have acted in patriotic situations" -- as if the Capitol riot violence was somehow "patriotic" -- and it also tried to whitewash the Oath Keepers in an attempt to defend a politician who affiliated himself with the group.

But as members of the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys went on trial for their roles in the Capitol riot, WND stayed largely silent. WND gave attention to the arrest of Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes in early 2022 on seditioius conspiracy charges, with one article gave space to a conspiracy theorist to rant about why it took a year to arrest him, and a June 2022 article hyped Rhodes claiming from prison that "the partisan committee set up by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi lied to the American people" about the riot. But it offered no original coverage of Rhodes' trial, and even his conviction on seditious conspiracy charges in November was noted only by a wire article it stole from the Associated Press.

Similarly, WND offered no original coverage of the trial of several Proud Boys members earlier this year, but its writers started weighing in after the defendants were convicted. Peter LaBarbera fretted in a May 4 article that the convictions could lead to Trump being prosecuted for instigating the riot, which LaBarbera downgraded to a "melee":

Critics and supporters of Donald Trump said the government's successful prosecution of four "Proud Boys" J6 protesters on "seditious conspiracy" charges in a Washington, D.C. court could pave the way for him being criminally prosecuted in the same, Democrat-friendly court system.

After seven days of deliberation, a D.C. jury containing members with openly leftist sympathies Thursday found ex-Proud Boys chairman Enrique Tarrio and three other other members of the anti-left group guilty of "seditious conspiracy" and other related charges for their actions in the "Stop the Steal" melee on Jan. 6, 2021 at the nation's Capitol.

"The legal maximum penalty for either seditious conspiracy or obstruction charges is 20 years in prison," the Washington Post reported. Further details of the ruling can be found at, which called the verdict a "highly politicized miscarriage of justice."

Julie Kelly, the leading conservative pundit chronicling what she calls the Biden administration's "abusive" J6 prosecutions and extremely harsh treatment of J6 prisoners,  tweeted Thursday: "A rogue judge, dirty prosecutors, and biased DC jury just handed Merrick Garland's handpicked special prosecutor the biggest gift of his career: a roadmap to indict Trump on seditious conspiracy and other crimes."

LaBarbera then complained that "Liberal corporate media leaned heavily on the left's "violent insurrection" narrative to report on the Proud Boys conviction and huffed that there was "extreme bias" during the trial.

LaBarbera's article was illustrated by a smiling photo of Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio taken by Matt Keener, who wrote one of those WND attempts to soften the group's image -- a fawning November 2020 profile of Tarrio dewsigned to counter perceptions of the group as a bunch of white supremacists (never mind that there is a notable Proud Boys faction that is quite proud to be white supremacist and anti-Semitic).

Rachel Alexander -- who usually sticks to manufacturing conspiracy theories about Arizona elections -- attacked the convictions in her May 8 column, similarly fretting that Trump might be next:

Five Proud Boys were convicted by a jury last week for criminal acts related to Jan. 6, 2021, but no one really believes they did anything more violent than BLM and Antifa. Thousands of the latter cases involving violence have been dismissed. U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Kelly allowed the Proud Boys to be portrayed to the heavily biased jury using language selected for its incendiary value to portray a distorted picture, including telling the jury about actions by others that weren't even taken by the five.

It didn't help that the mainstream media includes language in most articles about J6 as "storming the Capitol" instead of a "mostly peaceful protest." The five could have easily done the latter, because they brought no weapons, assaulted no officers, and Proud Boy leader Enrique Tarrio wasn't even at J6.

Prosecutors repeatedly played clips of Donald Trump in an effort to manipulate the Trump-hating jury. Trump said, "Stand back and stand by" and encouraged supporters to come to J6 with, "It will be wild." Neither of those sound like a call to violence; Trump frequently talks in hyperbole. But one juror admitted afterward when asked why he voted to convict, that Trump's remarks were "part of it."

Alexander then insisted that Tarrio's call to his followers of "whatever happens ... make it a spectacle" -- arguably evidence of premeditation -- was meaningless: "Tarrio's instruction to create a 'spectacle' at the Capitol was used to make jurors think he intended violence – but the Proud Boys are well-known for their pattern of reacting to violence, not starting it." She then tried to claim that the lack of violent reaction to the convictions somehow proved that the right isn't violent:

It's now being ignored that there was no violent reaction across the country in response to the verdicts. The irony here is that it's really the left that engages in violence when they don't get their way; the facts have to be distorted and provocateurs planted within right-wing protests to attempt to portray the right as violent.

The Proud Boys may not be the preferred style for most folks on the right. But that's why the left is targeting them; it's easier to distort their actions and fit them into a crime than it is the rest of us, so left-wing prosecutors are picking them off to establish precedents that are a gross abuse of the law, precedents that can then be used against anyone on the right.

Never mind, of course, that Alexander herself is distorting people's actions and trying to fit them into a crime by invoking Black Lives Matter and Antifa as shorthand for alleged violence on "the left."

Posted by Terry K. at 1:19 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, June 28, 2023 1:54 PM EDT

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