The False and Exaggerated Claims Still Being Spread About the Capitol Riot

Damage is seen inside the US Capitol building early on January 7, 2021 in Washington, DC (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)

By Glenn Greenwald

What took place at the Capitol on January 6 was undoubtedly a politically motivated riot. As such, it should not be controversial to regard it as a dangerous episode. Any time force or violence is introduced into what ought to be the peaceful resolution of political conflicts, it should be lamented and condemned.

But none of that justifies lying about what happened that day, especially by the news media. Condemning that riot does not allow, let alone require, echoing false claims in order to render the event more menacing and serious than it actually was. There is no circumstance or motive that justifies the dissemination of false claims by journalists. The more consequential the event, the less justified, and more harmful, serial journalistic falsehoods are.


After publication of these two articles, this horrifying story about a pro-Trump mob beating a police officer to death with a fire extinguisher was repeated over and over, by multiple journalists on television, in print, and on social media. It became arguably the single most-emphasized and known story of this event, and understandably so — it was a savage and barbaric act that resulted in the harrowing killing by a pro-Trump mob of a young Capitol police officer.

It took on such importance for a clear reason: Sicknick’s death was the only example the media had of the pro-Trump mob deliberately killing anyone.


The problem with this story is that it is false in all respects. From the start, there was almost no evidence to substantiate it. The only basis were the two original New York Times articles asserting that this happened based on the claim of anonymous law enforcement officials.

Despite this alleged brutal murder taking place in one of the most surveilled buildings on the planet, filled that day with hundreds of cellphones taping the events, 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.

Not only was there no reason to believe this happened from the start, the little that was known should have caused doubt.




7 thoughts on “The False and Exaggerated Claims Still Being Spread About the Capitol Riot

  1. absolutely right. news malpractice. calling this riot an insurrection. matches the medical malpractice of the covid hysteria. a new name for the period we have just entered. the 20th century had its roaring 20s. what we have in the 21st is the hysterical 20s.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Excellent article. I’ve noticed myriad holes in media reporting, specifically by the NYT. I ascribe it to what I’ve begun to call “Agenda.” It’s not only the NYT, though, but the “Agenda” seems to come from the enclave of “GoverCorp” insiders, based in New York City and Washington DC, whose greatest fear appears to be that of losing the control they believed they had.

    No, it wasn’t an “insurrection.” It was an attempt to be heard by those who still believe in “government by the people.” They are not willing to concede that we have “government over the people.” as recent events show.


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