“Preserve the Narrative”: The Public Rejects the “Insurrection” Claim in New Polling

In the day long events commemorating January 6th, Speaker Nancy Pelosi made a telling statement to her fellow members and the public at large. Pelosi declared “It is essential that we preserve the narrative of January 6th.” Part of that narrative is that this was not a riot but an “insurrection,” an actual “rebellion” against our country. Pelosi’s concern over the viability of that narrative is well-based as shown by a recent CBS News poll. The majority of the public does not believe that this was an “insurrection” despite the mantra-like repetition of members of Congress and the media. The public saw that terrible day unfold a year ago and saw it for what it was: a protest that became a riot. (For full disclosure, I previously worked as a legal analyst for CBS News).

Not surprisingly, the poll received little comparative coverage on a day when reporters and commentators spoke of “the insurrection” as an undeniable fact. Yet, when CBS asked Americans, they received an answer that likely did not please many. Indeed, CBS did not highlight the answer to the question of whether the day was really a “protest that went too far.”   The answer was overwhelming and nonpartisan.  Some 76% believe that this was a protest that went too far.

That, however, was not one of the four options to the matinee question featured by CBS. It did not allow the public to call this a riot when it asked them to describe “What happened at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021?” Why? There was the ever present “insurrection” and “trying to overthrow government.” However, the other two options were “patriotism” or “defending freedom.” That is perfectly bizarre. The most obvious alternatives to an actual rebellion in a violent clash would be a protest or a riot. However, the public was simply not given those options.

The result was predictable. Some 85% of Democrats dutifully checked “an insurrection” or “trying to overthrow government” while only 21% and 18% of Republicans agreed respectively.  For those who did not see the riot as an act of patriotism or defending freedom, they were simply left without a choice.

The poll perfectly captured the state of our media. There is no choice. Using the term insurrection is now a litmus test.  In the age of rage, one’s legitimacy is based on your volume and fury. After the attack, I wrote that this was not an insurrection, but it was a desecration of our constitutional process. When I have used “riot” in columns, I have received a torrent of emails objecting to the characterization as proof of being an apologist or “Trumper.”

Yet, “insurrection” and “sedition” are legal terms. They have a meaning. The FBI investigated thousands after January 6th and charged hundreds. Not one is charged with insurrection or sedition or conspiracy to overthrow the country. The vast majority are charged with relatively minor offenses of trespass or unlawful entry or property damage- the type of charges that are common in protests and riots.

None of that takes away from the disgraceful conduct of these people or the legitimacy of their prosecution. It is simply not an insurrection. This was a protest fueled by reckless rhetoric that was allowed to become a full riot by a shocking lack of security preparations by the Capitol police and the District of Columbia. A large national guard deployment was rejected and critical intelligence not shared by officials planning for the long-planned protests. Again, the fault still remains with the rioters themselves but this would have remained a protest if Congress had taken obvious steps of fencing and guard deployments. Indeed, those measures were used previously in Lafayette Park when the White House security was almost breached by rioters.

Yet, there remains a determined effort to keep the “insurrection” narrative “preserved.” The New York Times recently declared “Every Day is Now Jan. 6.” This is not simply important for political purposes. Democratic members and groups are again calling for members (and Trump himself) to be disqualified from running for future offices under the 14th Amendment. The “disqualification clause” was created for actual rebels who attempted to overthrow the government in the Civil War. Self-described “pro-democracy” advocates like Marc Elias believe that nothing says democracy like barring people from voting for the candidates of their choice.

If January 6th was an insurrection, then members challenging the electoral votes were little more than Confederate rebels. As with villages in Vietnam, it seems that democracy will be saved by destroying it.

The problem is that the public is not buying it. Even when the public is not given the choice by CBS of calling this a riot rather than an insurrection, the truth emerges like water finding a way out. The poll also shows the limits of not just Speaker Pelosi but the mainstream media in preserving such narratives. Despite the endless drumbeat of coverage referring to the day as an “insurrection,” the media cannot get the public to ignore what they witnessed — any more than getting viewers to accept reporting on largely “peaceful” protests with images of burning buildings in the background.  When the media was instructed to call the violent riots of prior summers “protests,” the effort to “preserve the narrative” failed with almost comical results.  This is why the “Let’s Go Brandon” movement is as much a criticism of the media as it is the President.

The failure to “preserve the narrative” is due to the fact that media is now locked into echo chambers of their own making. We have seen the rise of advocacy journalism where the narrative, not the news, controls the reporting. As Stanford journalism professor Ted Glasser explained “journalists need to be overt and candid advocates for social justice, and it’s hard to do that under the constraints of objectivity.”

The media, however, has become less and less relevant to public opinion. Despite the censorship of social media companies and the support of a legion of willing academics and experts, the coverage is largely self-contained. Most networks and newspapers have effectively written off half of the country. They are singing to the choir. That is reflected in the CBS poll.  The public was given the same options that viewers are given every night on network and cable programs: either call this an insurrection or join the Proud Boys and call it an act of patriotism.

The disconnect is dangerous. The effort to disqualify Trump or Republican incumbents is unlikely to succeed. That will not diminish the damage. Indeed, it will only further fuel the anger and, yes, the potential for violence on both sides.  Despite the CBS poll, there is a choice for the public. It can still reach its own conclusions . . .  increasingly without the help of the media.


355 thoughts on ““Preserve the Narrative”: The Public Rejects the “Insurrection” Claim in New Polling”

  1. Today’s Democratic Party are lice on a otherwise beautiful head of hair.

  2. Main stream and social media networks have lost credibility with the public. Lockdowns have effectively awakened many more discerning Americans to chronically distorted data over “fair elections,” “a deadly pandemic,” “racial inequity,” “renewable energy,” “economic recovery,” and “secure borders.” Our nation’s capital was barricaded for months to install a new administration after the J6 staged “insurrection” scorched our democracy. What happens to Justice if the torch of Liberty is extinguished?

    1. Statistics are in the eyes of the beholders. The state of sociology and political science as academic disciplines is terrible. The author here points out something scary – that surveys are usually poorly designed, often not because of incompetence but to support agendas. And people don’t understand that, because the surveys themselves are never published along with the “data.” So ridiculous theories make their way into the mainstream (e.g., gender ideology) while objective data collection and analysis (rare) gets buried.

      1. The book, “How to Lie with Statistics” is essential reading for corrupt, dishonest bureaucrats everywhere.

    2. Justice is dead but what we make on our own. There is no justice through the corrupt government anymore.

      1. But we have checks and balances! Don’t we? Oops. They are all corrupt! Who is doing the checking? It ain’t the Fake News.

        What a Charlie Foxtrot.

  3. Well duh, no one should. I will freely admit I may have made a mistake. So what term(s) did I use that you believe I don’t understand?


    “Get to the front line dammit!”

    – Covert operator with earpiece and megaphone.

    1. Over at Althouse this morning, she dives into the NYT attempt (spoiler alert, they fail)to falsify the Epps participation. Interesting look from a mostly “just the facts maam” Law prof. retired.

      1. She refuses to go to Revolver and read those 2 articles herself. She is trusting in the NYT’s who has been lying to us for years. The commenters make that blog…

  5. One purpose of the “insurrection” mantra is fundraising–pure and cynical.

    The other purpose is framing. The Democrats want to “blue pill” the military into hating anybody who defies the Democrats. If the Democrats succeed in that, packing the court and hijacking election law are not far behind.

  6. “’Preserve the Narrative’: The Public Rejects the “Insurrection” Claim in New Polling”

    – Professor Turley

    Preserve America: The Founders Reject the “Rebellion” Claim – they rejected “Crazy Abe” Lincoln’s claim that secession was unconstitutional.

    Make America Right Again – Every tyrannical and dictatorial act of Lincoln was wrong; every communist act subsequent to Lincoln’s “Reign of Terror” was worse.

    The entire American welfare state is derived from the treasonous, anti-American, anti-Constitutional acts of “Crazy Abe” Lincoln.

    The Constitution held dominion and freedom reigned until the onslaught – the carnage – of “Crazy Abe” Lincoln.

    “There is no provision in the U.S. Constitution which prohibits a state from seceding from the union.”

    “James Madison rejected a proposal which was made at the 1787 Constitutional Convention to grant the new federal government the specific power to suppress a seceding state.”

    – Lubbock Avalanche-Journal

    “A Union of states containing such an ingredient seemed to provide for its own destruction. The use of force against a state would look more like a declaration of war than an infliction of punishment and would probably be considered by the party attacked as dissolution of all previous compacts by which it might be bound.”

    – James Madison, 1787

    “Where powers are assumed which have not been delegated, a nullification of the act is the rightful remedy.”

    – Thomas Jefferson, Federalist Papers

  7. An interesting thread that mentions Turley and offers a $50K wager to anyone re: evidence of things such as:
    1/ There is unambiguous video evidence of coordinated direction of the crowd at the Capitol, to move sides in prep for new breaches.
    2/ Alex Jones & Ali Alex received explicit direction to walk to the Capitol, and DOJ / J6 Committee can prove it.
    3/ militias coordinated in advance of January 6, and DOJ will make that case in upcoming conspiracy charges.
    4/ communications were made from the Captiol to planners on J6.
    5/ at least one high-ranking official at DoD has been lying about the events of January 6.

  8. After all, it was “mostly a peaceful” insurrection. Leftists love a good petard! Boom!

  9. Perhaps the next poll should be whether you agree with Trump that the real insurrection took place on Election Day November 3, not January 6.

  10. Preserve the handmade tale.

    There was no actual or planned insurrection, but the evidence supports a probable Whitmer-closet (i.e. entrapment) a la Watergate. A senior Capitol Hill “hero” elected to abort, with plausible cause, an unarmed woman in a prone position. The riot was forced when MPDC officers attacked old and young, male and female people… persons present. Pelosi et al denied hearing a delegation of the assembled people’s voice. The MPDC attack was only possible without outside monitoring, which explains why Pelosi et al would reject the President’s offer to increase security, if only for crowd management.

    Demos-cracy is aborted in darkness.

  11. Natacha you hit the nail on the head! He is drowning in the middle of the ocean with no help in site and is quibbling about whether it is the Atlantic Ocean or the Pacific Ocean. What difference does it make if that attack on the Capitol was legally sedition or just a riot?

    What matters is that it was organized, encouraged and gleefully watched by a corrupt, egotistical individual who put himself above what is best for the country.

    1. Your connection to reality seems tenuous, at best. Seek professional help immediately.

    2. Actually, it was only “organized” by the undercover FBI agents/assets and a few (the FBI said a “handful”) of riotous horrendous idiots. The rest went in, walked in, crashed in (because the Capital police were right there allowing it – Ashlii Babit had 2 police just behind her (looking nonplused) and a few were ahead of her, way down the hallway and they did NOTHING, she went for it. After all, much worse was done ALL SUMMER LONG and DEMS said nothing (not even at their own DNC convention!) about it and this is the Capital/THE PEOPLE’S HOUSE, not a prvately own biz or home. The people of the USA own it, not the politicians, although they ACT like they own it. Btw, MOST who were there, JUST WALKED IN. And BTW, since were are a Constituitonal Republic it matters an F of a lot that it’s a riot that went too far and NOT an insurrection/overthrow of the government. But Dems don’t care about the law, the truth or our Constitution; that’s been abundantly clear for a while now.

      1. Yes, a probable Whitmer-closet, which would explain Pelosi et al denial of independent monitoring.

    3. Actually you misspelled himself. It is spelled “herself.” In this case her name is Pelosi and she was ultimately responsible for the security in question. She did basically EVERYTHING wrong (refusing help, etc) and if you look at which people involved they are NOT looking for you have to wonder if they know the role of those people in instigating the riot and dont WANT to find them (because of their affiliation). But keep on telling yourself that it was an insurrection, ye who has probably never seen a shot fired in anger let alone REAL civil unrest.

    4. Who was that “…corrupt, egotistical individual who put himself above what is best for the country…,” General Secretary “Crazy Abe” Lincoln?

      In a society of laws, laws are best for the country.

      President Donald J. Trump Made America Great Again by freeing the laws.

      “Crazy Abe” Lincoln circumvented the law, seized power, imposed martial law, shredded the Constitution, confiscated private property, failed to enforce immigration laws, initiated communist dominion in America, and killed one million Americans.

    5. Henry Of Color:
      Sure, now if you just had some proof of that you wouldn’t be a caricature. The Left are such clowns.

      1. Of you think there’s no evidence of organization, you should take capitolhunters up on his $50K offer. See the tweet I linked to at the top, 11:08pm.

    6. “What difference does it make if that attack on the Capitol was legally sedition or just a riot?”

      Play with words much?

      “Sedition” is a credible plan or action to overthrow the government by physical force. The penalty is up to 20 years in prison. The D’s entire fascist playbook depends on framing Jan. 6 as “seditious” or as an “insurrection.”

      A “riot” is a group of people using violence to disturb the peace. The federal penalty is up to 5 years in prison.

      If Jan. 6 is just a “riot,” then it’s probably number 50 on the list of the some 50 riots (in about 47 states) during the preceding year.

      If Jan. 6 is just a “riot,” then the obvious question for Pelosi, et al. is: Why are you investigating this riot, and *not* the others? And the obvious question for the MSM is: Why are you hyperventilating over this riot, and *not* the others (where there was far more destruction)?

      The D’s entire political calculation — to sideline Trump, to smear his supporters as “domestic terrorists,” to silence political opposition — that, and much more, all depends on them “narrating” Jan. 6 as “sedition.”

      *That* is why it matters. Words have precise meanings, and consequences.

  12. “We have seen the rise of advocacy journalism where the narrative, not the news, controls the reporting. As Stanford journalism professor Ted Glasser explained “journalists need to be overt and candid advocates for social justice, and it’s hard to do that under the constraints of objectivity.”
    It appears to me that Professor Glasser is more interested in turning out “press agents” for the DNC rather than journalists.

    1. Journalists scarcely exist today. The correct name for a media asset of the uniparty is presstitute. Major media outlets, such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, etc., will only employ presstitutes. Any presstitute even attempting to practice actual journalism on his or her spare time will be fired.

  13. The fate of the country is in the hands of these ignoramuses. Do they skip the briefs and get all of their information watching Joy Reid?

    “This is just absolutely astonishing. “100,000 children in serious condition,” per Sotomayor. Where do these people obtain their misinformation? The current national pediatric COVID census per HHS is 3,342. Many/most incidental.”

    “J. Sotomayor says Omicron is as deadly as Delta. ”

    Not even close.

    “Sotomayor: “Why is a human not like a machine when it is spewing bloodborne (!) viruses?”

    B.S. She is less informed than a homeless bum with a free cellphone.

    Breyer: “Hospitals are full almost to the point of the maximum.”

    “These people know absolutely nothing. Zero.”

    “Kagan: “We know the best way to prevent spread is for people to get vaccinated.”


    There is literally zero evidence that these vaccines prevent Omicron infections.”

    FIND IT HERE: https://hotair.com/ed-morrissey/2022/01/07/todays-deep-question-will-twitter-suspend-sotomayor-for-covid-misinformation-n439995

    1. Those so-called justices don’t hold their positions because of any abilities they have in applying the law or in fact finding, as such justices as Kagan, Sotomayor, and Breyer lack any recognizable skills in those areas. However, they are terrific at making up their own laws and facts that contradict the actual laws and facts. And that’s why they were put on the SCOTUS.

    2. “The fate of the country is in the hands of these ignoramuses.”

      This is a problem when the leaders and the people live in two different worlds.

    3. I wonder if the three of them will get kicked off social media, for spreading “disinformation” about Covid.

      1. “Your article is lying to you,”

        Anonymous the Stupid, we see that you have made a lot of Stupid comments under your other address that has been deleted.

        This comment of yours is still here. I wonder why? Could it be that what you linked to is a 1hr26min audio that no one will listen to, NOT EVEN YOU.

        You are proving yourself a liar once again. No one has to even know the facts. Your lie is straight forward whether using this alias, your pretend friends or the several aliases you have used in recent times.

        1. Allanonymous the Stupid is too stupid to see that the Supreme Court page linked to in the 10:14am comment also includes a link to a transcript from the oral arguments that everyone can read, and that transcript is totally searchable and also has an index at the end.

          Allanonymous the Stupid is too stupid to search the transcript to confirm for himself that YTS’s article is lying about what was said.

          Allanonymous the Stupid is too stupid to tell people apart and invents fiction to explain the things he doesn’t understand.

          Allanonymous the Stupid is ATS.

          1. Anonymous the Stupid, I will provide one quote,

            Justice Kagan, pg 57 line 24
            Justice Kagan “So you have to get — “you have to get vaccinated so that you’re not transmitting the disease”

            You are a liar and a poor researcher. You waste people’s time and you probably even had one of your pretend friends give you a +100.


            There is something very wrong with you. You desperately need psychiatric care. You can see only what you want to see. That is why you missed everything and I found what you missed in a matter of seconds.

          2. Anonymous the Stupid, are you too embarrassed to revisit this ugly post you made and correct it? The transcript you provided had the proof. Young’s site provided you with audio clips. You complained it was everyone else who was at fault.

            It wasn’t. It was your arrogance and blindness that you accused everyone else of. It was your dishonesty and lack of critical thinking skills.

      2. ATS,

        Audio clips are included in the articles I linked. Justices sound like senile, gossiping bingo players in a senior center with limited roaming privileges.

        1. YTS, you bizarrely want me to rely on an unreliable website’s so-called “clips” instead of relying on the full audio and full transcript on the Supreme Court’s website. You’re stupider than I’d realized.

          1. ATS- “you bizarrely want me to rely on an unreliable website’s so-called “clips”


            I don’t want you to rely on anything.

          2. Anonymous the Stupid, if you relied on the transcript and could do a decent search you would have found what I found. Young said the sound clips were included in the article, so you called the website unreliable without listening to the sound clips. Another mistake. That is what you always do. You impugn the integrity of whatever evidence is presented to you and in the process make a fool of yourself. Those sound clips can be compared to the actual video you provided.

            ATS or Anonymous the Stupid DOESN’T HAVE CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS.

  14. Translation . . .
    “Preserve the Narrative” = Deploy our uniparty’s subsidiaries, specifically our media presstitute assets including our social media presstitute assets, to promote our January 6 lies at every conceivable hourly opportunity throughout this election cycle, at a minimum.

  15. Let’s stop for a moment and consider this: Pelosi has said, “Preserve the narrative.” I was always amused with the declaration that there was “no WIDESPREAD fraud” in the2020 election” (emphasis mime)—a curious insertion of a term I had never heard anyone accuse anyone of in this matter. Now, one year later, the MEDIA is completely silent on some new rumblings about “ballot harvesting” in Georgia, along with video tapes as evidence, and Raffensperger complaining that it took one year for this evidence to come forward.The group making these claims noted in a public statement that similar complaints are being filed in fie other states (the group being called “True the Vote” or something like that). I of course have no idea whether this will pan out as legitimate, but I cannot help but think that if it were Republicans being accused-merely accused—of ballot harvesting (against the law in Georgia and other states), the MEDIA would have jumped all over the mere “scintilla” of accusatory sensationalism.

    1. U miss the point of the article; that is the growing irrelevance of the media. So as you ask, if this was a Republican issue wouldn’t the media be jumping all over it? Remember what the media from the right has been doing since the events of Jan. 6th – downplaying the consequences to the country for people just “touring the Capital”.

      1. I saw the video live and later, recorded. Some were “touring the Captital”!!!! It’s there many times in the 14,000 hours of vid that PELOSI IS REFUSING TO BE SHOWN!!

        1. And in all the video that you watched you saw no violence, just peaceful individuals touring the Capital?

          1. Anonymous the Stupid is acting up again. There was violence from a very few and they should pay for the violence. But we should also be arresting Epps and others that were inciting the crowd while working for the FBI in one fashion or the other. We should also arrest the leftists that were there doing the damage.

            When we are finished with that we should arrest and incarcerate all the violent offenders that caused death and destruction during the violent summer.

            You are the one that believes killing unarmed Ashley Babbitt was a good thing. That is the type of person you are.

      2. The consequences from an elected abortion of an unarmed woman, MPDC attacking and aborting other people assembled, and Pelosi et al denying people’s civil right to assemble and hear the voice of a delegation. For the sake of democracy, they had nothing to lose.

        Demos-cracy is aborted in darkness.

        1. I would introduce you to a rabbit hole but obviously you’ve already crawled down it.

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