The Media’s Favorite Jan. 6 Conspiracy Theory Just Fell Apart

Capitol protester. (Photo by Brent Stirton. Getty Images)

Melanie Wilcox Contributor
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The FBI found little proof that the Jan. 6 Capitol riot was caused by a coordinated plan to upend the presidential election, four current and former law enforcement officials told Reuters.

The FBI does not believe that a “centr[al] coordinat[ion]” between far-right groups or supporters of then-President Donald Trump preempted the riot, according to Reuters. The sources either were directly involved in or routinely briefed on the investigations, Reuters said. (RELATED: ‘More Totalitarian Talk’: Candace Owens Slams Joe Biden For Suggesting Capitol Riot Worse Than Civil War)

However, the media had a different narrative after the Capitol riot occurred.

“A violent mob … stormed the U.S. Capitol … in a stunning attempt to overturn America’s presidential election,” an Associated Press (AP) article from January said. AP further wrote that the “events were particularly astounding … because of the underlying goal of overturning the results of a free and fair presidential election.” AP followed up with reporting that stated it was an organized plot. In March, a headline read, “US narrows in on organized extremists in Capitol siege probe.”

NBC wrote an article detailing how social media posts it found raised “questions” about the FBI’s position; at the time, the FBI had not yet determined “whether anyone planned the [Capitol] attack in advance.”

A Washington Post article from January claimed that an “FBI probe,” which included social media posts, amounted to “evidence detailing coordination of an assault.”

The position of the media was also reflected by Democrats.

Democratic Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse said, “This information … paints a clear picture of a planned and coordinated violent attack,” according to NBC News.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said about Jan 6. that “the evidence is that it was a well-planned, organized group with leadership and guidance and direction. And the direction was to go get people.”

Maxine Watters claimed that the Trump campaign was behind the attack. She said, “Where did the money come from to send busloads of people in? Who supported them in all of this? … I am told that there was organizing taking place right in the Trump campaign.”

However, former senior law enforcement official who spoke with Reuters said that most of the rioters were lone wolves who banded together

The official said, “90-99% of these [were] one-off cases,” according to Reuters.

“Then you have 5%, maybe, of these militia groups that were more closely organized. But there was no grand scheme with Roger Stone and Alex Jones and all of these people to storm the Capitol and take hostages,” the official continued.

Both Jones and Stone participated in pro-Trump events in Washington, D.C., that occurred before the riot.

The FBI found that there was scant evidence that the rioters who broke into the Capitol had “serious plans” of what they would do within the building, sources further told Reuters.

Prosecutors filed conspiracy charges against 40 of the defendants, including a Proud Boy leader who allegedly recruited members and encouraged them to stockpile military-style equipment leading up to the Jan. 6 riot, according to Reuters.