A retracted right-wing media claim that facial-recognition software pinpointed anti-fascists participating in the pro-Trump insurrection at the Capitol was aired on dozens of local TV stations by Sinclair Broadcast Group.
The deadly attack on the Capitol last week, incited by outgoing President Donald Trump in an insane bid to overturn his election loss, was “overwhelmingly made up of longtime Trump supporters.” But on January 7, The Washington Times published an article, which was cited by some Republicans, claiming that “a retired military officer” reported that a facial recognition technology company had identified “antifa” members among the insurrectionists. The firm in question called the story “outright false,” demanded a retraction, and the Washington Times unpublished and retracted the story on January 8, before republishing it with a correction. Other Republican lawmakers, including Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), also suggested anti-fascists were involved in the Capitol attack.
However, Sinclair aired these false claims days after the retraction and correction were made. Gosar pushed these debunked claims in an interview on Sinclair’s America This Week which appears to have been recorded on January 7 -- before the Washington Times article was retracted. But it still aired on at least 66 Sinclair-owned or -operated stations in at least 39 states and Washington, D.C., several days later -- between January 9-11 -- according to a transcript search of the Kinetiq video database. Host Eric Bolling did challenge Gosar about the claim, before disavowing Sinclair's responsibility for spreading it:
Sinclair has been muddled on this topic. On January 6, a day before Bolling appears to have recorded this interview, Sinclair’s James Rosen also falsely reported that the Capitol attackers were “likely augmented by far-left infiltrators.” (Sinclair soon began airing an altered version of Rosen’s report in which this claim was removed, but the network didn’t actually correct the report.)
Bolling appeared to be trying to cover his bases by noting that “Sinclair doesn’t have that, so we’d like to make that clear that we’re not reporting that,” but he would have better served his audience by simply cutting that part of the interview.
Or better yet, Bolling should not have interviewed Gosar in the first place, as more recent reporting suggests that Gosar may have helped organize the pro-Trump event in Washington, D.C.