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WND's Gateway To Capitol Riot Misinformation, Part 2

WorldNetDaily continued to outsource highly misleading and factually deficient profiles of Capitol rioters to the discredited Gateway Pundit. Another dubious right-wing website, The Blaze, contributed as well.

By Terry Krepel
Posted 6/17/2024

WorldNetDaily has long tried to whitewash the crimes and violence of those who participated in the Capitol riot by relying on Gateway Pundit, a discredited website who is currently being sued for defaming two Georgia election workers by falsely accusing them of adding election ballots from a suitcase -- an editorial decision that only adds to WND's reputation for publishing fake news and bogus conspiracy theories. Despite that, WND has continued to do so. An Dec. 31 article attempting another whitewash was written by by former WND writer and current Gateway Pundit writer Alicia Powe:
The U.S. Bureau of Prisons acts as the coercion arm of the politically weaponized Department of Justice, torturing J6 political hostages to coerce them into flipping on Trump in exchange for their freedom.

Viral photographs of Samsel allegedly locked in a “hard cell” in FDC Philadelphia are a glimpse of the cruel and unusual treatment he’s endured in a series of assaults by correctional officers in pretrial custody and attempts by dirty cops to manipulate him with enhanced interrogation to cooperate in a plea agreement.

During multiple interrogations, FBI agents allegedly pressured Samsel into taking a deal that entailed affirming their bogus narrative claiming the January 6 “insurrection” was conspired by the Proud Boys and President Trump to go home or pay the price.

As in previous Gateway Pundit articles WND has republished, Powe refused to explain to readers what, exactly, Samsel is accused of doing during the riot — specifically, knocking over a Capitol Police officer while trying to destroy barricades around the Capitol, causing her to suffer a concussion. And Powe definitely won’t tell readers about Samsel’s history of criminality and violence, including the fact that at the time of the riot, he had an open warrant regarding accusations that he broke into a woman’s house to attack her and was on parole for brutally assaulting his pregnant girlfriend. Samsel also reportedly wrote a letter talking about getting rid of politicians with a woodchipper, and he has previously made several statements about stabbing or punching FBI agents.

But at the Gateway Pundit, just as with WND, narrative is more important than facts, so Powe went on to repeat unsubstantiated claims about Samsel’s purported mistreatment in prison. Powe also complained that the the fact that nothing Samsel said has been proven was called out:

State-run fact-checker Snopes immediately tried to delegitimize Samsel’s story about being tortured, citing a public affairs official at the Federal Bureau of Prisons who claimed the photos where he is locked in the hard cell “do not depict a cell at FDC Philadelphia.” Jail personnel including BOP public affairs officials have a history of demonstrably lying to this publication.

An article published by 1776 titled, “The Tangled Web of J6 Truth And Lies In The Case of Ryan Samsel” claims the photos were not real, blasting TGP for publishing “malarkey.” Using a voice-changing device, two men who claimed to be inmates told the publication Samsel’s story was “fabricated” and the photos were taken in a janitor’s closet.

“All of the stories recently on The Gateway Pundit — his interviews with eyepatches saying his arms don’t work, and a picture of him laying down in some broom closet –they are completely fabricated,” a man with a concealed voice told 1776 Returns reporter Mel Hawley. “When I saw that picture I started laughing my ass off. I’m like, he’s in a fucking janitor’s closet... The fact that everybody is blowing it up with this story and I’m sitting back here going really guys — you’re really going to fall for this?”

“I haven’t heard from Ryan in a minute. Maybe he’s just back in the janitor’s closet,” Hawley reports. “Which guard was cleaning out your potty bucket? Who took these pics? How did these pics get ‘leaked?’ Was the janitor mad that his closet was appropriated?”

“All those who were fooled into thinking this is not the American prison system. Think again. This is real,” Samsel said in response to the “fact-checks.” “I’m not the only one who was caged in that cell, it was just my turn. People don’t believe this is a real thing. This is the American prison system.”

Still, Powe offered nothing to substantiate Samsel’s claims or to prove the 1776 Returns article incorrect.

Interestingly, when Samsel was convicted on riot-related charges a couple months later along with four others, WND was completely silent — not even bothering to regurgitate Gateway Pundit propaganda about it.

For a Feb. 21 article, WND called on Powe to perform a whitewash of another insurrectionist directly without going through Gateway Pundit. The tone was the same, of course:

The Federal Bureau of Prisons has barred J6 prisoner Joseph Biggs – a decorated war veteran and former Infowars reporter, but branded an imminent threat to national security by the Biden administration – from legally speaking to the American public, lawyers and other sources close to Biggs tell WND.

The years-long ongoing process of destroying Biggs’ free speech since his arrest has only become more severe in prison.

A decision on Biggs’ part to personally divulge even minute details about his case, or of his current incarcerated life as a “domestic terrorist,” could result in the immediate revocation of the few privileges – phone calls, the ability to leave his prison cell, visitation, even food – lawyers tell WND.

With the FBI employing the Bureau of Prisons to essentially torture the political hostages, speaking out or even providing WND with a comment for publication could result in a brutal beatdown by correctional officers and Biggs’ return to isolation in solitary confinement.

Media interviews require clearance by the U.S. Marshals Service, which facilitates the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ strict regulations that strip inmates of their constitutional rights.

Nearly all the prisoners incarcerated in FCI Talladega, an Alabama federal correctional facility where Biggs is currently housed, are serving decades in prison for homicide, rape, robbery, pedophilia and other heinous crimes.

Thus, the other inmates there were shocked and intrigued to find out that a former Army staff sergeant, who earned two purple hearts in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan and later became a well-known talk-show host, was now a political hostage and sentenced to 17 years in prison for walking through the Capitol building for approximately 15 minutes during the “Stop the Steal” protest on Jan. 6, 2021.

Powe made no apparent attempt to fact-check anything she wrote — his lawyers said it so it must be true, apparently. But then, putting narrative and stenography ahead of facts is the kind of “journalism” both WND and Gateway Pundit are known for. From there, Powe then tried to whitewash Biggs’ crimes:

Contrary to the narrative disseminated by the corporate media, it quickly emerged that the former Proud Boys leader is no “white supremacist” or “Nazi.”

Like nearly every high-profile Jan. 6 defendant that refused to cooperate with the government before being sentenced or accepting a plea deal that would directly incriminate former President Donald Trump, Biggs paid a big price. In his case, he was  locked in solitary confinement in a 6-by-8-foot, freezing-cold cell with no windows and practically starved for 17 months in the Alexandria Detention Facility.

At any time, he could have complied with prosecutorial coercion and accepted a plea arrangement that would have resulted either in his release, or a reduced sentence. But, as Biggs saw it, he chose to be persecuted rather than sell his soul.

Powe is censoring the fact that Biggs “served as an instigator and leader” during the riot and that his tearing down of a fence between police and rioters qualified him for a terrorism sentencing enhancement. Biggs also made a selfie video the day of the riot in which he declared, “January 6th will be a day in infamy.” instead, Powe went on to cheer that Biggs will indoctrinate other inmates with right-wing narratives:

His surprisingly warm reception in the “correctional” facility has prompted Biggs to begin executing the goal he vowed would become his life’s work, before he was found guilty of “seditious conspiracy”: He now sees constructively using the tragic circumstances in which he finds himself for having protested the theft of the 2020 presidential election as an opportunity to do good: Not just to push for prison reform, but to teach other prisoners about the U.S. Constitution and the American system that is rapidly being destroyed by the same forces that are putting hundreds of innocent patriots in prison.

Indeed, just like a large portion of lifelong Democrats across the nation, many of the inmates in the Alabama prison now support Trump and have recently abandoned their longtime support of the Democrat Party [sic].

Many barely finished high school and reportedly have very little understanding of basic American history or of the U.S. Constitution.

To that end, the article concluded with an editor’s note:

Editor’s note to WND readers: Please consider sending decorated veteran and J6 political prisoner Joseph Biggs books that will allow him to teach and spearhead a curriculum that facilitates actual rehabilitation of a kind not generally available in correctional facilities. In particular, it is known that Biggs would like any and all books by conservative commentator, writer and filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza. All books MUST come directly from Amazon or other online sellers, and not directly from the sender or they will not be delivered.

It’s telling of Biggs’ intent that he wants books from the discredited right-wing activist D’Souza — he’ll be spreading lies and misinformation to his fellow prisoners.

The whitewashing tradition continued with a republished Feb. 24 article by the Gateway Pundit’s Jim Hoft:

Chris Kuehne was sentenced on Friday for his actions on January 6, 2021 at the US Capitol.

Chris is a 22-year veteran who received numerous medals and awards, including the Purple Heart, a Navy Commendation Medal with Valor, and a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with Valor for actions in combat.

Chris has personally sacrificed his blood, sweat, and tears serving our country and has paid the price for his duty and continues to live with debilitating and invisible injuries. Even before this Chris has protected people and helped people in need. As a 9-year-old Cub Scout he was awarded the Boy Scouts of America’s highest honor, the Medal of Merit, for saving his young sister from a burning car.

On January 6, 2021, Chris went inside the Capitol but did not cause any harm or damage – in fact he cleaned trash off the floor, helped to stop theft of government property, asked people to leave the building, and went up to Capitol Police Officers to ask how he could help. Chris was also set-up by an FBI operative that day. Chris committed no violence and did nothing wrong.

Hoft doesn’t have the guts to tell his (and WND’s) readers the full story of Kuehne’s offenses. For that, we have to turn to an actual news organization:

The government said in its sentencing memorandum that Kuehne was a vocal advocate of violence regarding a potential confrontation with Antifa and Black Lives Matter in the lead-up to Jan. 6. “On January 3, in a planning chat with other Kansas City Proud Boys members and prospects, he told the group: ‘Be prepared not only to beat down but when you do action of violence so utterly massive that we send a message,’” the memorandum said. “He later continued: ‘This is going to get kinetic quick. If a soy boy or girl wants to get it on they need to expect a hospital trip…its the only thing they understand.’”

Kuehne drove to Washington with other Proud Boys from the Kansas City area, the document said, bringing at least one AR-15 style rifle with him on the trip. They stayed in a rental property on Jan. 5, it said, and Kuehne “continued to encourage and instruct the others in tactical preparations for the activities of the next day.” He stressed the importance of having a recognizable identifier, such as a piece of reflective tape, that would allow the group’s members to recognize one another in the crowd, the document said. The morning of Jan. 6, the government’s filing said, Kuehne and the others went to the national mall “outfitted for violence” and wearing orange tape Kuehne had bought and distributed. Kuehne could be seen in photos and videos from that day with two rolls of tape strapped to a backpack and a strip of tape on the back of the ballistic helmet he was wearing.


A group that included Kuehne and other Kansas City Proud Boys chased police officers out of the Crypt and into an area leading to the Capitol Visitor Center, the document said. Officers tried to escape to safety behind an overhead gate that was being lowered.


In the days after the riot, the government’s document said, Kuehne destroyed evidence of the crime and told others in the group to delete their messages and photos, keep a low profile and stop texting one another.

Rather than tell the truth, Hoft chose instead to portray a violent thug as victim by complaining about how he was arrested:

One month later, in the early morning of February 11, 2021 Chris, his four-year-old child, and his wife Annette, who was pregnant at the time were awakened to sirens, cell phone rings, and bursts of colorful lights reflecting through our windows.


Today we have exclusive video of Annette holding her crying son as armed FBI agents raided their home! Their boy was terrified and crying after FBI goons lit up his little face with red lasers and woke him up with armored vehicles surrounding their home.

We are losing America to these heartless tyrants.

The little boy is crying for his daddy. This was taken the morning of the raid.

Annette Kuehne was forced outside barefoot in February in Kansas. Annette miscarried their baby the next day.
Hoft failed to explain why anyone should have sympathy for a man who tried to overthrow the government. Instead, he still tried to portray Kuehne — who was a member of the violent Proud Boys, something Hoft failed to mention — as a victim: “For the record, Chris was setup by an FBI operative who was embedded in his Kansas City group before Jan. 6.” But as the actual news organization further reported, this “FBI operative” didn’t actually do much, and the government filed a motion saying the informant was an unreliable witness and that the “credibility of his reporting was impeached” on several issues, pointing out that the alleged informant “entered the Capitol building without authorization from his FBI handlers” and “had a profound incentive to minimize his own culpability and that of his companions.”

It can also be argued that if Kuehne had not traveled to Washington to try and overthrow the government, his wife wouldn’t have been traumatized by his arrest and miscarried. Hoft didn’t mention that possibility.

Further, While Kuehne did issue something of an apology, officials noted that he was merely trying to minimize his own conduct and made “no mention whatsoever of the injuries to persons and the damage to property that occurred on January 6, let alone the damage to the country’s democratic institutions.”

Kuehne got off pretty lightly for what he did — he was sentenced to 75 days in prison and two years of supervised release. Still, Hoft whined, “His son will forever be traumatized for this wicked act by his government.” Yes, Hoft thinks it’s “wicked” to hold people accountable for the crimes they commit — and, apparently, so does WND. And, apparently, Hoft doesn't believe it's "wicked" for a man to arm himself to take part in an insurrection.

The Blaze contributes

An anonymously written March 1 article called on a couple different sources for its whitewash than the Gateway Pundit -- The Blaze, which is somewhat more credible, and Lara Logan, who, um, is not. Still, the article tried to whitewash yet another Capitol rioter, this time by pretending that he was a “reporter”:

A report from The Blaze reveals that one of its reporters, investigative writer Steve Baker, has been arrested and shackled by the FBI for “his J6 reporting.”

The event captured the attention of investigative journalist Lara Logan, who called it “truly outrageous” and Donald Trump Jr., who said, “I guess now they’re arresting journalists to preserve democracy or something???”

The report said Baker was shackled during a court appearance but was expected to be released with a pending hearing set for March 14.

The Blaze publication’s own report said Baker for years “has been searching for the truth about Jan. 6, 2021, and believes the U.S. government has been targeting him for it — on Friday was charged with four misdemeanors related to his Jan. 6 coverage at the U.S. Capitol after turning himself in to the FBI in Dallas.”

The report listed the charges to include “knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building,” “disorderly and disruptive conduct,” “disorderly conduct in a capitol building” and “parading or picketing.”

The report said the DOJ kept the charges secret until the arrest, which his Dallas attorney, James Lee Bright, described as “really unusual.”

The anonymous writer then ramped up the victimhood by uncritically quoting Baker’s boss, Glenn Beck:

Glenn Beck, who co-founded Blaze Media, pointed out, “When the United States government can come after individuals, that’s when you know our republic is crumbling. I’ve always said that if they can go after Donald Trump, they will go after people like you and me. And now they are. But Steve Baker is not deterred, and neither are we.”

The report cited the expectation by lawyers of “retaliation” against Baker for his reporting, which has included several major stories about events that day.

Because the anonymous WND writer was performing stenography on behalf of the Blaze and had no interest in doing any actual reporting, what Baker actually did to get arrested was censored. As a much more credible media outlet reported:

After the riot erupted, Baker entered the Capitol through a broken door and joined the mob at the barricaded doors to the House chamber, according to an FBI agent’s affidavit. Shipley provided The Associated Press with a copy of the affidavit, which wasn’t immediately unsealed. 

In another part of the Capitol, the affidavit says, Baker “antagonized” police officers who tried to keep him on the other side of a doorjamb, repeatedly asking, “Are you going to use that (gun) on us?” He remained inside the building for approximately 37 minutes before police led him out of the Capitol, according to the FBI.


The FBI agent’s affidavit cites several statements that Baker made during and after the riot. After leaving the Capitol, he told a local television station that he was “quite excited to see this going on.”

“Do I approve of what happened today? I approve 100%,” he said, according to the affidavit.

Baker also told the station that approximately 20 to 30 people were inside then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office “at the time that I got there.” In a video uploaded to a YouTube channel on Jan. 6, Baker also referred to Pelosi with a sexist expletive.

“The only thing I regret is that I didn’t like steal their computers because God knows what I could’ve found on their computers if I’d done that. But by the time I got into Pelosi’s office, unfortunately there was some damage done,” Baker said, according to the FBI.

Does that sound like someone who was acting merely as a reporter? Nope. Sounds much more like a rioter who gave aid and comfort to his fellow rioters who announced he would have committed more crimes in the form of stealing data if the computers hadn’t been stolen by someone else first. But WND and The Blaze won’t tell you that fact because their dubious narratives on the Capitol riot are more important than the truth.

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