Tuesday, March 02, 2021

Some Republican lawmakers spread misinformation about Capitol riots, coronavirus pandemic

Many Republican lawmakers are spreading false or misleading information about the Jan. 6 Capitol riots and the coronavirus pandemic, highlighting journalists' critical role in keeping the story straight for the public.

"A legion of conservative activists, media personalities and elected officials are seeking to rewrite the story of what happened at the Capitol on Jan. 6, hoping to undermine the clear picture of the attack that has emerged from video and photo evidence, law enforcement officials, journalistic accounts and the testimonials of the rioters themselves: that a pro-Trump mob, mobilized by the former president’s false claims of a stolen election, stormed the seat of American government to keep Trump in power through violent means," Mike DeBonis and Jeremy Barr report for The Washington Post. "Six weeks after the attack, some are taking advantage of fading memories and unanswered questions to portray the riot in a different, more benign light. The effort comes as federal authorities begin prosecuting scores of alleged marauders, congressional committees seek to plug obvious security failures, and lawmakers consider establishing an outside commission to examine the matter."

Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., for example, "spent much of his allotted time reading a firsthand account from Jan. 6 suggesting the violence was perpetrated by a small cadre — including left-wing extremists — who were out of character in an otherwise jovial crowd," DeBonis and Barr report. "The campaign to minimize or deny the events of Jan. 6 has been weeks in the making, with the efforts to muddy the waters about what happened and who participated taking shape on pro-Trump television networks while rioters were still on the grounds of the Capitol." Other popular talking points include casting doubt on whether the rioters were armed and seeking to validate the rioters' motivations.

The misinformation campaign, including widespread attempts from conservative news media and lawmakers to pin the blame on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, is an attempt to "deflect attention from Trump’s central role in stoking the fundamental motive for the riot — the false claim that the November election was stolen from him," DeBonis and Barr report.

Meanwhile, many Republican state lawmakers are promoting misinformation about the coronavirus pandemic. "In their own comments or by inviting skeptics to testify at legislative hearings, some GOP state lawmakers are using their platform to promote false information about the virus, the steps needed to limit its spread and the vaccines that will pull the nation out of the pandemic," Julie Carr Smyth and Becky Bohrer report for The Associated Press. "In some cases, the misstatements have faced swift backlash, even getting censored online. That’s raised tough questions about how aggressively to combat potentially dangerous misinformation from elected officials or during legislative hearings while protecting free speech and people’s access to government."


SCP Liz said...

I appreciate this posting... Many rural areas have Republican representatives and the Republican Political Party has morphed into an unrecognizable group of "if you lie often enough it becomes an alternate truth" cemented in individual quests for money and power, having nothing to do with representing their constituents.

Cwe222 said...

What a ridiculous piece. Beginning with the lede using the words “some” and “many” basically side by side. The sitting VP said she wouldn’t take or recommend a vaccine produced under the previous administration. The proclaimed top infectious disease doctor openly admitted that he misled the public intentionally at the onset of the pandemic to “save resources.” Florida is supposedly super dangerous and irresponsible and the governor of New York is getting awards, despite Florida being a statistically resounding success with the virus and New York an absolute tragedy. The reason there was enough pressure built to cause the situation at the Capitol in the first place is because the so called “journalists” protecting us from misinformation are actually actively engaging in misinformation from one of the two political parties and constantly dragging the other through the mud. The media industry in this country is gaslighting the American people constantly and absolutely shoveling propaganda for one party in particular down our throats. If you are honest with yourself, you would admit this story was written to make the GOP look bad and create a narrative. Neither of those are the responsibility of any journalist. If not, where is the equivalent story written about the misinformation from the other party and the current administration? I have a journalism degree and the current state of the industry makes me embarrassed to say I do. There is no seeking truth anymore, only helping to strong-arm one particular party out of power under the guise of “truth.”