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Thursday, January 4, 2024

Believing J6 Myths

Tom Jackman, Scott Clement, Emily Guskin and Spencer S. Hsu at WP:
Twenty-five percent of Americans say it is “probably” or “definitely” true that the FBI instigated the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, a false concept promoted by right-wing media and repeatedly denied by federal law enforcement, according to a new Washington Post-University of Maryland poll.

The Post-UMD poll finds a smaller 11 percent of the public overall thinks there is “solid evidence” that FBI operatives organized and encouraged the attack, while 13 percent say this is their “suspicion only.”

Among Republicans, 34 percent say the FBI organized and encouraged the insurrection, compared with 30 percent of independents and 13 percent of Democrats.

The results confirm that misinformation about Jan. 6 is widespread as the United States heads into a presidential election year, during a campaign in which the former president and leading 2024 Republican candidate Donald Trump has repeatedly expressed support for those who participated in the insurrection. Despite a detailed congressional investigation and more than 725 completed federal prosecutions of Jan. 6 participants that did not yield evidence of FBI involvement, a substantial minority of Americans still embrace conspiracy theories not unlike the ones that drove many rioters to storm the Capitol three years ago.

“The people that went there to express their views, to support Trump, were peaceful,” said Richard Baum, 61, an independent voter from Odessa, Tex. “The government implants were the violent ones: the FBI, the police people that were put in there, the antifa and BLM hired by George Soros; everybody knows that.”

The Post-UMD poll finds 39 percent of Americans who say Fox News is their primary news source believe the FBI organized and encouraged the Jan. 6 attack, compared with 16 percent of CNN or MSNBC viewers and 13 percent who get most of their news from ABC, CBS or NBC. The poll finds 44 percent of those who voted for Trump say the FBI instigated the attack.