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How an internet lie about the Capitol invasion turned into an instant conspiracy theory

False claims that the invasion of Congress was staged spread at breakneck pace—thanks to activists, the media, and Republican politicians.
by Tate Ryan-Mosley and Abby Ohlheiser

Just as well-known, easily identifiable far-right figures livestreamed themselves invading the Capitol in Washington, DC, a lie started spreading around the Trump-supporting internet: What if the mob was actually a group of antifa activists trying to make the president’s supporters look bad? The rumor was false, and debunked repeatedly—not least by the words and actions of the MAGA personalities who were leading the charge in front of a live audience.

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