Rather than admit there was an attempted right-wing insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021, WorldNetDaily would rather downplay the violence, dismiss the post-riot deaths of law enforcement and pretend that Ashli Babbitt was a victim, not a domestic terrorist.
By Terry Krepel Posted 7/10/2023
WorldNetDaily was quick to peddle right-wing narratives and conspiracy theories about the Capitol riot -- and as the second anniversary of the riot approached, it's still not about to let go of them. Yet another attempt downplay the severity of the riot came in a Dec. 16 article by Bob Unruh complaining that the riot is being called an "insurrection" and that Donald Trump might be held accountable for his actions in fomenting it:
Outside of fairly extreme rhetoric from Democrats, President Trump has never been accused of "insurrection," much less convicted.
Nevertheless, Democrats are intent on characterizing his reaction to the anomalous 2020 election results and his concerns that the election was stolen as well as his response to the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol, as the actions of an "insurrectionist."
Which, they say, means he never can hold any public office again. Ever.
Breitbart reports 41 House Democrats filed a bill that would bar Trump, and they claim for their effort support from Section 3 of the 14th Amendment.
Mainstream media and Democrats repeatedly have insisted that it was an insurrection, and that President Trump was its leader. But they have to argue that to support their claim he should be disqualified from holding office.
Unruh referred to an August WND article by Art Moore touting a Harvard study claiming to examine the reasons for the riot:
WND also reported on a Harvard study that said those protesters "motivated by loyalty to President Trump" actually "were not attempting to carry out an insurrection."
Mainstream media and Democrats repeatedly have insisted that it was an insurrection, and that President Trump was its leader. But they have to argue that to support their claim he should be disqualified from holding office.
The Harvard study was based on court documents from 417 of the more than 800 defendants prosecuted for the riot, the Harvard Crimson said in a report spotlighted by Just the News.
"The folks with QAnon T-shirts, and signs, and flags were so prominently displayed in much of the visual imagery that came out of the Capitol attack," said Kaylee Fagan, one of the authors of the study.
"So we expected to see more QAnon-related concepts come through in the documents."
The study showed fewer than 8% said they wanted to start a civil war or armed insurrection.
That doesn't excuse the riot, no matter how much Unruh thinks it does.
Unruh whined further that the House committee on the riot was holding Trump accountable for his actions in a Dec. 19 article, which additionally framed the committee as "partisan" and "activist":
A partisan committee set up by soon-to-be-replaced House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to review the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol, and essentially find ways to blame President Trump, has released its report.
And to no one's surprise it insists that the Department of Justice should review charges against President Donald Trump, including make a false statement, defrauding the U.S., conspiracy and inciting insurrection.
The Washington Examiner reported that at this point the recommendations are considered largely "meaningless" by legal experts, as the committee is expected to be dissolved as soon as the GOP becomes the majority in the House in just weeks.
Unruh didn't dispute any of the committee's findings despite his attack on it, preferring to quibble over words instead:
Democrats have been harping on the riot, describing it as an "insurrection" although it was more or less a riot, ever since it happened. That's because a conviction for insurrection would prevent Trump from ever being in office again one of the major goals of the entire Democrat party [sic].
At no point in either article does Unruh deny that Trump played a key role in fomenting the riot. And should someone who deliberately misnames the Democratic Party because it's a partisan own-the-libs narrative to do so really be quibbling over words he doesn't like?
Unruh unsurprisingly promoted a shoddy Republican "shadow committee" report on the riot in a Dec. 22 article:
A partisan congressional committee this week blamed President Trump for the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol that left an unarmed protester dead at the hands of police, asking the Department of Justice to investigate and charge him with four crimes.
However, a new report from the House GOP suggested that outgoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her staff were more culpable than they've ever admitted.
It's been reported before that President Trump had offered additional National Guard troops to be present at the Capitol that day, but those responsible for security of the building, including Pelosi, refused.
Note that Unruh called the real committee report "partisan" but not this one, even though only Republicans are associated with it. As more honest media outlets reported, the GOP report omitted activities of congressional leadership on Jan. 6 scrambling to try to get the National Guard to the Capitol, or any mention that there were hours of inaction from former President Trump as well as other relevant information that's inconvenient to the narrative. Further, Trump did not sign an order to deploy the National Guard, so Unruh is perpetuating a lie by trying to blame Pelosi.
There are a lot of very unpleasant facts surrounding the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol.
They include the fact that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been blamed, at least in part, for allowing the riot to occur since she rejected President Trump's offer of additional troops to be there, a responsibility that never was addressed during her congressional committee's review of the violence.
Another is that police shot and killed an unarmed protester, Ashli Babbit, the only person actually killed in the riot.
Another is that one police officer died of natural causes shortly after the riot.
And yet another is that four police officers committed suicide in the months following the fracas, for which nearly 1,000 people have been arrested on charges, often including trespassing.
But Kamala Harris, Joe Biden's vice president, invoked the names of those five officers in her politicized statement on the two-year anniversary of the riot, saying all died "protecting our democracy."
Although all the officer deaths are tragedies, details on the suicides have never been released that would show the Jan. 6 riot had any bearing on their decision to take their own lives.
Unruh went on to claim that the officer who died of "natural causes," Brian Sicknick, "died of natural causes, multiple strokes," while "the other four ended their own lives," going on to whine that "for weeks after the riot, major media persisted in claiming daily that Sicknick had been killed by pro-Trump rioters who hurled a fire extinguisher at the officer -- a total fabrication." In fact, the medical examiner who looked into Sicknick's death stated that "all that transpired" at the Capitol riot "played a role in his condition," and the suicide of at least one officer has been ruled a death in the line of duty.
A report from government watchdog Judicial Watch reveals that Michael Byrd, the Capitol Police officer who shot and killed an unarmed Ashli Babbitt during the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol, was given, afterward, the "Distinguished Visitor Suite" at Joint Base Andrews in which to live.
The report said thousands of taxpayer dollars were used to house Byrd and "his pet" for several months.
It was the only "homicide" tied to the riot, the watchdog said.
Neither Unruh nor Judicial Watch seem to have considered the possibility that Byrd was housed there to protect him from rabid, violent MAGA supporters -- like those who took inspiration from Trump to perpetrate the riot -- who seek to avenge the death of domestic terrorist Babbitt.
Unruh served up more partisan reframing in a Jan. 15 article:
A new report has documented the latest round of "more proof" of former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's culpability for the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.
It's that senators have unanimously approved a plan to deprive the House speaker of the authority to call out the National Guard to protect to Capitol, and give that decision to Capitol Police.
The report is from PJMedia and expands on the well-known agenda of Pelosi's own special committee to investigate the riot that ignored her own decisions.
In fact, President Trump had offered additional troops to protect the Capitol on that day, when hundreds broke into the building, or walked past security officers holding the doors open for them, and did vandalism.
Others simply walked about and took selfies in the building.
Again: Unruh is lying by claiming Trump offered the National Guard that day. And in fact, the bill merely allows the Capitol Police to call in the National Guard without having to go through the Capitol Police Board, of which Pelosi was not a member (it's made up of the Senate and House sergeants at arms, the architect of the Capitol and the police chief).
Unruh repeated the Pelosi lie again in a March 2 article:
Questions about why then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi refused President Trump's offer of National Guard troops to secure the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, are being raised again after a government report faulted a number of law enforcement agencies for allowing the riot to develop that day.
Pelosi, and Senate Leader Chuck Schumer, refused Trump's offer of additional security that day and hundreds of people rioted, some breaking into the Capitol to vandalize it and others walking past security guards who held doors open for them and taking selfies in the building.
Even the conservative website the Dispatch has debunked the Pelosi story:
The claim that Pelosi rejected Trump’s request for a National Guard presence on January 6 is false.
“The speaker of the House does not have the power to block an order from the commander in chief,” Drew Hammil, deputy chief of staff for Pelosi, told The Dispatch Fact Check via email. “This is fiction.”
Josh Huder, a senior fellow at Georgetown University’s Government Affairs Institute, similarly told The Dispatch Fact Check that “the speaker does not have control of any branch of the armed services.”
“The National Guard can only be activated by the president or a governor,” Huder added. “In the case of D.C., it can only be mobilized by the president of the United States.”
A statement from Ryan McCarthy, secretary of the Army under Donald Trump, on the “National Guard response to timing and coordination with other States,” does not mention Trump’s request for a National Guard presence, nor does it mention anything about Pelosi rejecting the alleged request.
Also, it’s with noting that during the first day of hearings by the January 6 committee, Rep. Liz Cheney said: “Trump gave no order to deploy the National Guard that day, and made no effort to work with the Department of Justice to coordinate and deploy law enforcement assets. But Mike Pence did each of those things.”
Needless to say, Unruh offered no evidence to support his claim that Pelosi "refused President Trump's offer of National Guard troops" -- presumably because neither the offer nor refusal ever happened. Instead, the rest of his article is about reports that law enforcement may have known about plans for a riot but didn't adequately prepare, which has nothing whatsoever to do with Pelosi.
Unruh treating lies as fact hardly inspires confidence in WND as a trustworthy source of news.
Conspiracies from Farah
WND editor Joseph Farah is also keeping the conspiracy theories alive. He spent his Jan. 4 column cheering Fox News host Tucker Carlson's demand that House majority leader Kevin McCarthy "release all documents and videos pertaining to the January 6 Capitol 'insurrection.' In addition, he should to appoint Rep. Thomas Massie as the head of a new Frank Church committee to uncover increased FBI surveillance and corruption." Farah went on to rehash those conspiracies:
We're rapidly approaching the second anniversary of January 6. Don't we deserve to finally learn the truth about Ray Epps and the phantom bombers seen in photos and many other anomalies from that day?
And, for heavens' sake, why can't we see the thousands of photos and images and videos with our own eyes now?
That's evidence that deserves a verdict.
When are the American people going to see it all?
Who can explain the video we've all seen of hundreds of protesters being led by Capitol Police into the "sacred" halls, people who were later arrested?
The American people were fooled. Why?
Why can't we get answers about undercover FBI agents on the premises of the Capitol that day?
The only people who died that day died at the hands of policemen. That has never been more clear.
But, still, we are told this was an "insurrection." How is this possible?
Will we ever be given the truth after two years of lies?
Well, readers won't be getting the truth from WND -- it prefers to embrace the lies.
Farah found some more to rehash in his Jan. 9 column, starting with the domestic terrorist who was shot by police:
Ashli Babbitt was the ONLY person shot and killed on Jan. 6, 2021, disturbance at the U.S. Capitol. She was unarmed, tiny and posed no visible threats. She was a married 14-year veteran of the U.S. military.
That's where the lies began on Jan. 6. Almost everything the public has heard about it, the deliberately controlled information, from Day 1 has been whole-cloth disinformation shamelessly manufactured a sham that makes a mockery of the U.S. Constitution.
It began with who it was that killed the only victim in what has been called an "insurrection."
It was a Capitol Hill police officer named Michael Byrd who shot Babbitt in the neck. At the time of that killing, Byrd had a documented history of gross negligence with a firearm. He left a loaded Glock pistol in a public men's room at the Capitol, a firing offense for any law-enforcement officer. But for some reason, Michael Byrd was still on the force that day prominently.
He killed her in cold blood but was never charged with any offense. Instead, he was called a national hero.
In fact, Babbitt was part of a violent mob that had been vandalizing the Capitol and was crawling through a broken window at the time of her death. The officer who shot her reasonably felt threatened. Farah then whined that the officers who died or committed suicide in the days after the riot were treated as victims:
Remember what you were told about the five police officers that were killed that day?
It was another lie. Fortunately, none was killed Jan. 6. But still the loose talk by people trying to equate the Capitol fracas with Pearl Harbor and 9/11 continues.
Hakeem Jeffries, the Democratic House leader, said this: "We are gathered here to honor their memory and acknowledge with deep gratitude the tremendous bravery of the hundreds of officers who defended us at this citadel of democracy that fateful day. As a result of the events on January 6, the lives of five heroic officers were lost."
Speaking of Garland, a man that should know better, recently said this: "We will never forget the five officers who responded selflessly on January 6 and who have since lost their lives."
Joe Biden reiterated this lie on the anniversary of Jan. 6: "These people and the people representing those who couldn't be here because they gave their lives for this did, is incredibly consequential. That's not political talk. That's historical fact."
We thought right-wingers like Farah respected law enforcement -- apparently not, if they interfere with right-wing insurrectionists. And, again, the death of at least one of those officers who committed suicide has been ruled to be a line-of-duty death.
Farah closed with once again referencing yet another right-wing riot-related obsession:
"Nor does anyone in authority want to talk about Ray Epps," says Carlson. "Ray Epps, of course, is the man who was caught on tape encouraging the crowd outside the Capitol, both on January 5 and 6, to commit felonies by rushing inside. Now, what's interesting is that the January 6 Committee, under public pressure, did in the end interview Ray Epps. Now, we don't have all of the committee's records about that interview. We should, but we don't. But some have been released, and what they tell is a remarkable story. In the testimony that we have, the committee coaches Ray Epps on how to answer questions about his involvement. 'I was in the front with a few others. I also orchestrated it. I helped get people there.'"
Let's hope when Republicans have a turn to ask questions shortly we might be able to get better answers.
WND is quite obsessed with Ray Epps, even though there's no actual evidence to frame him as the FBI plant Farah wants him to be.
Cherry-picked riot video
A Feb. 23 article by Peter LaBarbera tried to rehash an old story about the Capitol riot:
Newly surfaced Jan. 6 video footage shows D.C. police firing stun grenades into a crowd of peaceful, pro-Trump protesters, raising the specter that police brutality and reckless, provocative actions by incompetent officers enraged the crowd and led people to rush past them into the Capitol.
Another video shows D.C. police accidentally showering themselves with tear gas, causing them to flee from protecting the Capitol. Conservative Charlie Kirk's Rumble page description sums it up this way: "Bodycam footage shows a cop shooting a tear gas grenade *into police lines* causing them to retreat."
The shocking videos, obtained by the group "Investigate J6," undermine the Democrats' and the media's dominant "insurrection" narrative by showing the crowd reacting to the police show of force, rather than engaging in any kind of planned or aggressive "assault" on the nation's legislative body. The group's GiveSendGo page states, "Investigate J6 is a coalition of forensic video investigators, attorneys, journalists and intelligence analysts. Your funds will help the investigations of many dedicated patriots and bring much needed truth to light."
The initial Investigate J6 tweet states: "What led to the storming of the US Capitol on January 6th? #FollowTheTimeline. POLICE BRUTALITY evidence thread."
"You know what happens when you launch multiple stun grenades into peaceful J6 crowds?" O'Handley says in his next tweet. "The same thing that happens when you rattle a dog's cage. This is why they don't want more J6 videos released. It exposes their setup VC: @InvestigateJ6"
But it's long been known that police used flash grenades and tear gas to disperse the agitated pro-Trump crowd outside the Capitol during the riot -- it was reported the day of the riot -- so there's no actual news here. Given that police correctly believed that the rioters were a possible threat, efforts to disperse them were justified, and no independent evidence was provided that the crowd was "peaceful."
This ended up being a prelude to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy giving access to unreleased video from the riot to then-Fox News host Tucker Carlson. Bob Unruh was quick to hype the footage Carlson aired in a March 7 article:
There long have been reports that some of the "rioters" during the Jan. 6, 2021, events at the U.S. Capitol, in which there were some election protesters who did vandalism, were allowed into the building by security officers.
Now video showing exactly that has been revealed.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy granted "Tucker Carlson Tonight" access to some 40,000 hours of security camera film from the Capitol video that has been concealed by Democrats from the public for over two years and it shows, Carlson explained, that "lawmakers and the media were 'lying' about the events that took place on Jan. 6," Fox News documented.
"Capitol police officers were seen escorting Jacob Chansley, a Navy veteran widely referred to in the liberal media as the 'QAnon Shaman,' around the building without incident. Carlson reported that officers were seen showing Chansley around, even trying to open locked doors for him. At one point, at least nine police officers were seen in close proximity to Chansley, and none of them slowed him down, as Carlson noted," the report said.
The Daily Mail confirmed, in fact, in footage screened on his show, Chansley was apparently seen being escorted into the Senate by Capitol police officers.
In fact, that video was taken out of context. Prosecutors responded that the "video did not show Chansley, who was sentenced to 41 months in prison for his actions on January 6, facing off with officers for half an hour outside the Senate chamber or when Chansley refused to be escorted out of the Capitol by an officer and only left after being forcibly removed," adding: "Chansley was not some passive, chaperoned observer of events for the roughly hour that he was unlawfully inside the Capitol. ... He was part of the initial breach of the building; he confronted law enforcement for roughly 30 minutes just outside the Senate Chamber; he gained access to the gallery of the Senate along with other members of the mob (obviously, precluding any Senate business from occurring); and he gained access to and later left the Senate floor only after law enforcement was able to arrive en masse to remove him.”
The Capitol Police also pointed out that the video Carlson showed "conveniently cherry-picked from the calmer moments of our 41,000 hours of video. ... The commentary fails to provide context about the chaos and violence that happened before or during these less tense moments."
Carlson also reported Democrats used Capitol police officer Brian Sicknick’s death for their political agenda.
The media alleged Sicknick was "attacked" by the mob and falsely claimed was hit in the head with a fire extinguisher.
"Sicknick was seen walking normally while guiding Trump supporters out of the building as he wore a helmet, which appears to contradict the media narrative that he died of a head injury," the report said.
In reality, Capitol Police Chief Thomas Manger attacked Carlson over his cherry-picked footage of Sicknick, as did Sicknick's family:
"Finally, the most disturbing accusation from last night was that our late friend and colleague Brian Sicknick’s death had nothing to do with his heroic actions on January 6. The Department maintains, as anyone with common sense would, that had Officer Sicknick not fought valiantly for hours on the day he was violently assaulted, Officer Sicknick would not have died the next day."
Sicknick’s mother and two brothers responded to Carlson's characterization of the officer's death by saying Carlson's "'truth' is to pick and choose footage that supports his delusional views that the Jan 6th Insurrection was peaceful."
But pushing right-wing narratives is more important to Unruh than telling the truth, so these rebuttals went ignored. Interestingly, Fox News itself largely ignored Carlson's videos, suggesting that even its highly compromised "news" operation knew this was a nothingburger and it was just red meat for far-right, pro-Trump partisans -- like WND.