Trump and his allies strive to rename January 6 rioters as patriots, heroes, and martyrs

WASHINGTON (AP) – A cocktail of propaganda, conspiracy theory and disinformation – the kind to intoxicate the masses in the darkest turns in history – is fueling the illusion of the agonies of January 6.

Hatred is “love”. Violence is “peace”. Pro-Donald Trump aggressors are patriots.

Months after supporters of the then president stormed the Capitol on that winter day, Trump and his cronies are taking this revisionism to a new and dangerous place – that of martyrs and war heroes, and revenge . It’s a place where cries of “blue lives matter” have turned to cries of “f – blue”.

The siege reversal of fact is the latest in Trump’s twisted ‘big lie’ compendium, the most specious of which is that the election was stolen from him, when he was not. summer.

See: McCarthy proposes to 5 Republicans, including Jim Jordan, to sit on the January 6 committee

It’s rooted in the formula of powerful propaganda through the ages: say it loud, say it often, say it with the weight of political power behind you, and people will believe. Once circulated through pamphlets, posters and word of mouth, and now spread by the touch of a finger on smartphone screens, the result is the same: passionate and unconditional follow-up.

The techniques of glorifying your side and demonizing the other with skewed information, if not outright lies, have been in play at least since World War I, when the US government sparked sentiment for the cause with posters depicting the German soldier as an ape-man with a slender American girl in his claws.

It pales next to what followed years later with the terrifying use of propaganda by Nazi Germany for the slaughter and subjugation of millions of people.

Whether deception fuels warmongering or just the ego of a defeated president, some of the methods are the same, such as repeating the same fabrication over and over until it sticks.

Trump has perfected the art of rehearsal – about “election hoax”, “rigged elections” and “massive voter fraud,” without any of these accusations being substantiated in dozens of court cases and official post-election audits, but nonetheless imprinted in people’s minds. of his ardent supporters.

See: How to deal with ‘deniers’ and adherents of the ‘big lies’ is an ongoing challenge for mainstream media outlets

Also: The ‘big lie’ allegiance dividing Republicans between Trump loyalists and a Cheney-Romney-Kinzinger wing

Then-President Donald Trump speaks at a rally on Jan.6 against Congressional certification of the Electoral College victory by Joe Biden, whose presidential inauguration took place two weeks later.

AP / Evan Vucci

Four years ago, Trump appeared to equate white supremacists and racial justice protesters in Charlottesville, Va., With his comment that there were “great people on both sides.”

This time, in this story, the very good people of January 6 were on one side: his.

For the other side – the police, submerged for hours and bloodied by the insurgency – Trump has only one question in the face which is coupled with a four-word conspiracy theory: “Who killed Ashli Babbitt?

Keywords: Paul Ryan: Trump “screwed up” Charlottesville’s response

These words have become a viral mantra intended to uplift Babbitt as a righteous martyr for the cause of freedom. They ricochet off major social media platforms where Trump is banned for spreading disinformation, but his supporters still sympathize. The woman died from a bullet fired by a police officer as she attempted to climb through the jagged glass of a shattered window into House’s bedroom during the riot.

Directors of Democratic House released a video compilation of the January 6 riot on Capitol Hill to kick off the Senate impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump. The video included clips of Trump encouraging his supporters to march to Capitol Hill.

Babbitt has become a face of the insurgency – sporting T-shirts and acclaimed in hotel basement ballrooms across the country where conspiracy theorists congregate. In Washington’s Georgetown neighborhood, flyers are plastered on lampposts and building facades, telling of the unveiling of a statue of Babbitt in Alexandria, Va. On July 27 at “high noon.”

Margin : Kmart and Sears remove ‘Ashli ​​Babbitt American Patriot’ t-shirts after backlash

Trump and many Republicans have gone through various characterizations of the insurgency, with each iteration being entirely different from the last. The attackers are said to be disguised left-wing antifa supporters. Then it was said that they were over-excited tourists. Now they are presented as infantry for freedom.

See: Democrats denounce “revisionist history” as Republicans play down Capitol riot at hearing

Each iteration forced Americans to ignore the rage they saw on their screens and some lawmakers to ignore that they were among the shocked targets of attackers that day. The hunted now hire the hunters.

Taken together, the revisionists and their believers “are swimming in a vast sea of ​​nonsense,” said Brendan Buck, one of Paul Ryan’s main collaborators during the Republican of Wisconsin’s presidency.

The currents of this sea are familiar to historians who study what makes certain conspiracy and propaganda theories compelling.

Once people buy into the lies, it’s impossible to convince them they’re not true, said Dolores Albarracin, professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania and co-author of an upcoming book, “Creating Conspiracy Beliefs: How Our Thoughts are Shaped. “

Despite the well-documented facts about what happened on January 6, believers often reject anyone who tries to right them by claiming they are being duped or part of the plot, Albarracin said.

“Belief contains a device that protects it,” she said. “Nothing can invalidate the conspiracy theory. Trying to disprove the theory proves the theory and signals you as a conspirator. “

DJ Peterson, authoritarian and propaganda expert, is president of Longview Global Advisors, a Los Angeles-based consulting firm, and has worked for Eurasia Group and RAND Corporation. He said that in an online world flooded with information and a real world torn by polarization, “you choose what you want to believe, including putting your head in the sand.”

Trump, Peterson said, is good at amplifying claims that galvanize his main supporters and turn them against other Americans.

“This is where the power of Trump resides,” he said. “He’s good at catching those discussion threads… that lower the level of trust and create divisions. “

Recent polls are consistent in illustrating the country’s division over Trump and his post-election histrionics. In essence, two-thirds of the population are against him; two-thirds of Republicans for him. In one of the latest, Quinnipiac found that 66% of Republicans consider President Joe Biden to be illegitimately elected.

This number and others like it in multiple polls represent tens of millions of people who have been deceived into believing allegations of electoral fraud which have been thoroughly investigated and refuted, including by the Attorney General’s own from Trump, William Barr. Trump’s fabrications have remained stalled and now underpin attempts by him and those close to him to glorify the Jan.6 crowd.

“The consequence of lying is that you sort of never go back to where you were before,” said Harvard historian Jill Lepore, whose podcast, “The Last Archive,” explores hoaxes, deceptions and what to do. arrived at the truth. “That is what is pernicious about this particular moment.”

Of Trump, she said, “His method is usually just to create chaos so people really don’t know which way to look. “

In the case of the insurgency, his supporters looked away. Aggressive amnesia seems to have set in over the ugliness of it all, even though the scenes broadcast and broadcast in real time are eternal.

Swarming on Capitol Hill after a staged rally where Trump told them to ‘fight like hell’ and falsely swore he would be there with them, attackers beat out largely overwhelmed law enforcement officials in numbers, injuring dozens. In one particularly gruesome case, an officer was crushed against a door by people pushing to enter, his mouth bleeding as the side of his face was pressed against the door glass.

Lawmakers inside ran for their lives, hiding for hours as crowds wandered the halls of Congress waving Trump flags. The attackers called House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., And wanted Trump’s vice president, who was also there. “Hang on Mike Pence,” they chanted.

Babbitt was among the group attempting to break down the doors to the house’s bedroom as Capitol Police officers cleared the floor of the house and some members were still trapped in the upper gallery. Officers used furniture to barricade the glass doors separating the hallway from the President’s lobby in an attempt to repel the assailants, who smashed glass with their fists, flag poles and other objects.

Only three policemen guarded the doors on the other side of the stacked furniture as at least 20 assailants tried to enter shouting, “F — blue! and “Break it down!” One smashed the glass of the door next to the head of an officer; another warned officers that they would be injured if they did not step aside.

A Capitol Police lieutenant pointed his gun. “Firearm!” cried the assailants as the hysteria peaked. They started to pick up Babbitt, to climb out the window. The officer fired a single shot. Babbitt was shot in the shoulder. She later died.

The officer was cleared and his name was not disclosed.

Trump now falsely states – and with a flood of repetitions – that she was shot “in the head.”

“They were there for a reason, the rigged elections,” he told Fox News a week ago.

“They felt the election was rigged. That’s why they were there. And they were peaceful people. They were great people. The crowd was incredible. And I mentioned the word love. Love, love in the air, I’ve never seen anything like it.

Read on: Twenty-one Republicans objected as the House voted to honor Capitol Police and DC officers for Jan.6 heroism

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