On Monday, the Associated Press reported that far-right cable network Newsmax, an alternative to Fox News that has grown in popularity with conservative viewers in recent years, has told at least 40 false claims or outright conspiracy theories about the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol since June, when the House Select Committee's public hearings on the event began.
"Many of the falsehoods, presented by anchors, reporters and guests who include Republican members of Congress, have been repeatedly debunked. Newsmax did not comment on the report," reported Amanda Seitz. "Anchors and guests have claimed that there were only a few hundred rioters or that they were 'unarmed,' despite photos taken from that day and federal charges that show some were armed with guns or used pepper spray, flagpoles and stun guns as weapons. The Department of Justice estimates at least 2,000 people entered the U.S. Capitol."
"Another false claim that Trump ordered National Guard troops to the scene, only to be blocked by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., was repeated 11 times since the Jan. 6 committee began its hearings on June 9, for example," continued the report. "That misinformation was proven false more than a year ago: Pelosi doesn’t direct the National Guard."
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Jack Brewster, an analyst for NewsGuard, told the AP that this rate of misinformation is significant: “If you’re watching Newsmax, you may come away with an entirely different feeling of what happened at the hearings, and what happened on Jan. 6.”
This comes as Newsmax faces a defamation lawsuit from Dominion Voting Systems, an elections equipment company that the network suggested secretly switched votes away from former President Donald Trump. Courts have rejected repeated efforts by Newsmax to get that litigation dismissed.
Trump has increasingly moved to giving interviews on Newsmax, viewing it as a friendlier venue than Fox News. However, even Newsmax has at some points been cowed by the threats of legal action for false claims, moving to cut the former president's conspiracy theories about election fraud during one interview at the end of June.