Pro-Trump insurrectionists sacked the U.S. Capitol on January 6 in a brutal assault on American democracy on behalf of President Donald Trump. But Sinclair Broadcast Group national correspondent James Rosen lied to local news viewers in over a dozen states, pushing the debunked conspiracy theory that leftist, anti-fascist activists had engaged in the attack.
The attack on the Capitol came after Trump repeatedly urged his followers to gather in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday to oppose Congress’ certification of the Electoral College vote that he lost. Lawmakers were in session when the Capitol went into lockdown, and they were evacuated by Capitol police. Four people died, including one woman reportedly supportive of the QAnon conspiracy theory who was shot by law enforcement inside the Capitol building.
Some right-wing media and pro-Trump figures were quick to baselessly claim “antifa members” were responsible for the attack. A few Republican lawmakers also falsely blamed antifa. Sinclair’s Rosen joined in on this malicious attempt to shift the blame away from Trump and his supporters, a narrative which has since been debunked. In his initial report, Rosen falsely claimed that the mob attacking the Capitol was “likely augmented by far-left infiltrators” and that one attacker had participated in “BLM and antifa actions as far away as Arizona.” (The person in question is actually a Trump and QAnon supporter.)
Rosen’s report aired on at least 14 Sinclair-owned or -operated stations in at least 18 states, according to a transcript search of the Kinetiq video database.
But Sinclair later began airing another version of Rosen’s report, which removed his lies about “far-left infiltrators” and a supposed anti-facist activist. Rosen also deleted a tweet containing the first version of his report -- though an earlier tweet making a similar insinuation remains up on his account.
On Thursday morning, Rosen posted the “updated version” of his report to Twitter without mentioning or apologizing for the lies in his first report.
Sinclair should perhaps begin fact-checking all of Rosen’s segments before broadcasting them on its huge network of local TV news stations -- especially given his trend over the past year of pushing pro-Trump propaganda in his reporting.