“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. Jonathan: I’ve read your slippery piece about “the narrative.” Shame.

    You provide many links but omitted one to the cbs poll. So, you start by hiding the ball.

    You claim as a fact that it was “a protest that became a riot.” But you state that 2 different ways in the first paragraph. You say that “76%” believe that, but don’t tell us where that number comes from. You say that cbs offered only 4 options, not including that one, so it appears that you’re not relying on the cbs poll to assert the “76%” fact.

    Even if you have some plausible source for the “76%” fact, you don’t enable us to see the context, so we don’t know whether the 76% believe it was at least “a protest that went too far” or at most “a protest that went too far.” From all i can tell, your sample was a bunch of folks at a trump rally.

    Overall, it’s a slipshod job you’ve done. You claim to be a practicing lawyer, but you know you wouldn’t have gotten away with that kind of junk in a courtroom. You’ve given your readers an example of “advocacy journalism.”

    1. “. . . omitted one to the cbs poll. So, you start by hiding the ball.”

      It took me all of 0.46 seconds to find that poll. Lazy much?

  2. Someone remarked that the Supreme Court was the last institution with some mystique about it.


    Not so much anymore.

    Several of the justices sounded as if Rachel Maddow, or maybe Al Sharpton, or Biden was their primary source for Covid information.

    The display of ignorance was widely noticed. I hope Maddow covers it so the justices will at least find out and be embarrassed.

    I posted some views yesterday. Here are some more observations: https://meaninginhistory.substack.com/p/scotus-mandate-day-twitter-roundup

    One has to wonder if they are this ignorant and stupid on cases the public doesn’t watch closely.

    No more mystique.

    What impact does this have on respect for their decisions? Nothing good for them or the Roberts’ Legacy, or for the country.

    Thank God for Justices Thomas and Alito. At least two real jurists showed up for oral argument.

  3. ATS, you are being deceptive when you say “The 150 or so law enforcement who were injured by the rioters are just imagining their injuries.” Relatively few had significant injuries and those that intentionally caused such injury were put in jail. You are blowing up the numbers to be deceptive. Every scratch and bruise is supposed to be reported.

    ATS, you are a liar.

    1. “Every scratch and bruise is supposed to be reported.”


      Basic worker’s compensation law–employees report every workplace injury , even if it is minor.

  4. “The sad thing is: the J6 detainees are treated better than most people in the DC area jails. ”

    Anonymous the Stupid is making claims that are untrue and that he can’t prove. He did this under his disposable address, knowing that it would be deleted. But his former stupidity was not deleted. See Anonymous the Stupid proving himself to be incompetent and a liar again. Follow the thread to see how he lies.


    Remember, ATS goes under anonymous icons that are not deleted and other icons and names.

    1. Allanonymous the Stupid is ATS.

      If Allanonymous weren’t so stupid, he’d know that you don’t need an address to post comments.

      Notice that Allanonymous the Stupid can’t bring himself to name any names that he thinks are all a single person. Allanonymous the Stupid assumes this because he himself posts under more than one name (S. Meyer and Mark N. and Allan are all other names he’s used). He prefers to delude himself into thinking that multiple people are just one person than deal with the truth.

      1. “he’d know that you don’t need an address to post comments.”

        That is correct. We all know. Many have mentioned that they didn’t put their name or address in the area provided. Lin just made that error.

        The problem for you, Anonymous the Stupid, is that you intentionally try to deceive by using the generic anonymous, pretend friends, other icons and names. You not infrequently slip up, revealing yourself.

        “Notice that Allanonymous the Stupid can’t bring himself to name any names that he thinks are all a single person.”

        You were the green anonymous that had discussions with Karen and Jeff (along with others). Today you still use another icon and name. Intermittently you have still used other names and icons. They were pointed out previously.

        Everyone knows I am Allan S. Meyer or S. Allan Meyer. When I had to change my alias and address, I kept the Allan name when I posted my initial response to a new op-ed. I am not concerned that one recognizes who I am. When I write to you anonymously, I frequently include your name, Anonymous the Stupid or ATS, so I should be easy to recognize. However, I am not alone in using either of those names, which can get confusing under an anonymous label.

        However, you should avoid calling people stupid like you did to Young and me when you screwed up what the SC justices said.


        Like elsewher,e you proved yourself to be both a liar and a fool. Keep it up.

        1. Here, Allanonymous the Stupid admits that he was lying or stupid when he said “He did this under his disposable address,” when he now claims that everyone knows that no address was used, and he shows that he can’t provide a single other name besides “anonymous.” He deludes himself into believing that all the anonymous comments he disagrees with come from a single person, because he apparently can’t cope with multiple anonymous people disagreeing with him, and he follows all of them around carping endlessly. They’re living rent free in his head. There’s space for several, since his brain doesn’t take up that much room.

          1. “He did this under his disposable address,” when he now claims that everyone knows that no address was used, and he shows that he can’t provide a single other name besides “anonymous.” “

            IP address

            Green anonymous.

            You want me to provide names. Maybe later.

            In the meantime I will continue to watch you make a fool out of yourself.

            1. Allanonymous the Stupid, you think Darren is unable to block a single address that you call “disposable” and he’s manually deleting comments posted from that address later? If that’s happening, then WordPress must have pretty sh*try moderation tools.

              Or are you instead imagining that someone is using a bunch of IP addresses and for some unspecified reason Darren is deleting comments from those addresses but leaving other comments from the same person posted from one or more other IP addresses?

              All you’re doing is further demonstrating how you invent nonsensical explanations.

              Your assessment of who looks foolish here is self-serving.

              1. I can’t be precisely sure of what has been done, but I can be pretty sure I am right about you most of the time. You are a nasty dude and have proven it repeatedly, so I think it is entirely within reason that one of your IP addresses is canceled in some fashion, automatic, semi-automatic or manually. It’s not very important. We already know who and what you are. That is what is important.

                Take note of how you act stupid and lie. Just go back to yesterday, where you had the video and transcript along with being provided the audio, and you couldn’t figure out that the comments of SC Justices were accurate. You were Stupid multiple times in the same mini thread where you proved your lack of intelligence and laziness.


                1. Your certainty is just a sign of Dunning-Kruger.

                  I know for a fact that you’re wrong. I can be gone for weeks at a time, and whether I’m here or not, you’re merrily calling multiple anonymous commenters ATS. But you, Allanonymous the Stupid, are the true ATS. You’re so obsessed that you can’t think straight. BTW, I picked up the name Allanonymous from another anonymous commenter who you’ve attacked. He called you Allanonymous, and I thought it very fitting.

  5. Why is it that Ray Epps,seen on numerous videos encouraging protesters to go to the capitol,has not been arrested or investigated.Was this guy an FBI plant?

    1. You have no idea who’s being investigated. They don’t make investigations public unless they charge someone.

      What do you want Epps charged with? Do you want Alex Jones, who also “encouraged protesters to go to the capitol,” charged with the same thing?

      1. Anonymous the Stupid, why was Epps on the FBI’s wanted list with 20 other names? Why was his name removed even though he was seen and filmed while he encouraged riotous behavior. Why was Epps at one of the gates that was being breeched while he was communicating with others. You are a liar, ATS. Why was Alex Jones filmed trying to get the people NOT to do things that were illegal?

        You called Young names because he pointed out certain statements of the Supreme Court Justices. You lied and said they didn’t say those things yet he had provided videos and I provided a part of the transcript where those things were said. You are a liar.


  6. And I bet you think soccer is a tough sport. Where the players fall down and have to be carried off the field on stretchers. (this sentence was sarcasm!)
    Compare that to the wimps playing Ice Hockey. I once watched a player collect several of his teeth from the ice… and play on.
    You really need to pay close attention to what constitutes an injury. Like when there is a bus accident and 50 injuries reported but that is only for cya & insurance purposes.

    On the other hand on Jan 6th two crimes were committed.
    1) An innocent woman was murdered by a cop.
    2) Another crime (mass election fraud) was covered up and a PotUS was installed who should not have been. And had been rejected several times before because he was clearly unsuitable,

    1. How was that woman innocent (location, actions, companions)? And which of the Republican election authorities, who all verified their elections, were lying or incompetent? You need to be “burdened” with a bit more integrity, and honesty!JC

  7. In case on questions the bad treatment of Jan 6 prisoners”

    Attorney for Jan. 6 defendants says his client is at risk of death due to lack of medical care
    Christopher Quaglin is one of many Jan. 6 detainees who have complained of civil rights abuses and inhumane conditions of incarceration.

    defendant in connection with the Jan. 6 Capitol riots is sick and at risk of dying because he’s being denied adequate medical care and a special diet for his celiac disease, his attorney says. JTN

  8. January 6, 2021 was a protest at the Capitol, not a ‘riot’ or ‘insurrection’.

  9. “The vast majority are charged with relatively minor offenses of trespass or unlawful entry”.
    Every single comment on the subject of the people charged and languish in jail for almost a year needs to also include the fact that the FBI et.al. are responsible for removing barriers and getting on bullhorns telling people to “go in”.

  10. isaiah 50:10. who among you fears the LORD and obeys the word of his servant? Let the one who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the LORD and rely on their GOD.AMEN!!!and GOD is there!!!

  11. Why don’t you ask the question why the FBI tried for 4 years to overthrow the Trump presidency, KNOWING full well that the Russia angle was a hoax perpetrated by the Dem party and Clinton camp? Thus can we now trust ANYTHING the FBI does going forth? I think the FBI had agitators and other minor actors who are the ones who invaded the Capital and got others to start going in. This was a planned op, you know it Turley, you also know thee clowns stole the election and tat the are commies. You are a Liberal like JFK, or Wilson, but not a commie. Those who stayed silent in the 30s buoyed Hitler.

  12. EVERYONE needs to read about “Ray Epps.” the FBI-assisted implant in the Jan. 6 crowd. I found this “Meet Ray Epps-the FBI Provocatuer…” under a site called “Revolver” which looks like a right-wing site but you can’t deny the videos…looks more and more like the FBI wanted Trump to look bad…

  13. “Some 76% believe that this was a protest that went too far.”

    Some of us feel it was a protest that didn’t go far enough…


      1. Lol, a mostly peaceful protest, you know, like the ones by Antifa and BLM where people died and billions of damage was done.

      2. If this really was an “insurrection”, we would have brought guns instead of grandkids. And things would have turned out markedly different.

        It was barely a riot, despite the efforts of agents provocateur and FBI plants intent on stirring up violence. I don’t recall any incidents of looting, or arson, or assaults, or shootings. No churches were burned. The only two people killed were killed by the Capitol Police.

        Notably, the only people lying about these events are Democrats, the FBI, the DOJ and the media.


        1. Nacho, Anonymous the Stupid’s comment was removed, but he hyped the numbers of police being injured. He forgets about the two murders of Trump supporters, Ashley Babbitt and another. He forgets about the continuous beating of a woman in the west tunnel. Videos are available. There were many more injured by police that were uncharacteristically more aggressive than they usually are.

          One has to consider that the exuberant police brutality came from higher up (like Nancy Pelosi), and the police were encouraged to act with force above and beyond what most police officers want to use.

          These actions are consistent with the nature of ATS. He gets off on people being killed. See his comments about Ashley Babbitt.

    1. Some of us believe that this was a trap, set by Nancy Pelosi, complete with government instigators and police, waving people in.

      1. Rob Dew, Alison Wonderland, Matt Baker, Truthzilla January 6th Roundtable



        Jan 6, 2022
        The Truthzilla Podcast
        The Truthzilla Podcast

        We had the honor and privilege of having a meeting of the minds with the powerful Rob Dew from


        Elsewhere, rumor has it current & former govt agents/contractors with security clearances are working with lawyers to get their whistleblower protection in place so they can go public/in the courts to expose corruption leading up to, Jan 6 2021 & later.

      2. Nancy is the only person strong enough to make that event happen the way it did. That’s why they are keeping all those people in jail. Trying to keep Nancy out of jail.

  14. If people think Jan. 6 was an insurrection, wait until you see what happens if Trump is reelected.

    1. You’ll soon find out. He will be put back in the White House. Hopefully this time without the constant harassment of the loonies on the left who can’t handle that a non-politician made them look as inept as they truly are and that includes both sides.

      If you can’t handle the tweets of a man who is a New Yorker and only dealt with Unions his entire career then you won’t have to worry since twitter took his account down. He secured our borders and we had the lowest unemployment in every race category in the history of this country. He also would never leave Americans to die in foreign countries like democrat administrations seem to always do.

      So I’m a female who is locked & loaded if it turns to civil war because democrat bully’s aren’t getting their way on the elementary school playground. Screw them all, I used to be democrat and now I’m ashamed I was that stupid. Republicans are weak kneed cats too, the whole lott needs replaced.

  15. Rather than discrediting Trump or the right, the media has only managed to discredit itself. I no longer listen to any of them.
    Calling that pitiful riot on Jan 6th an insurrection is a bogosity on a grand scale. One person (1) was killed and it was a protester shot by capitol police.
    Somehow that officer got off without charges despite the simple fact a 130 lb soaking wet unarmed worman is no threat to anybody or anyting.

    1. There was a second murder of a lady beaten to death by the cops. However, the BS narrative is that she died of an overdose. I watched the video. What you see is an enraged cop ferociously beating someone… To death. But a corrupt system, in this case a corrupt coroner in league with The Left, called it an overdose. Yeah. Right.

  16. Jan. 6: “A day which will live in . . .”

    the fevered imagination of the Cackling Queen.

    That execrable creature (aka KH) had the effrontery to equate Jan. 6 with 9/11 and Pearl Harbor.

    Gin up Covid — to spread panic, make people submissive, and to rationalize government controls.

    Gin up Jan. 6 — to spread more panic, make people more submissive, and to rationalize more government controls.

    I think there’s a pattern, here.

    1. Sam says:

      “Gin up Jan. 6 — to spread more panic, make people more submissive, and to rationalize more government controls.”

      I agree that the Democrats are exploiting 1/6 to a large extent by calling it an “insurrection.” I presume that you would say the same about Trump’s use of the word “insurrection,” for Trump stated:

      “The Unselect Committee of partisan Democrats, and two very weak and pathetic RINOs, should come to the conclusion after spending many millions of dollars, that the real insurrection happened on November 3rd, the Presidential Election, not on January 6th—which was a day of protesting the Fake Election results.”

      11/3 was the “real insurrection?” Yes or no?

  17. Breaking News: President Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and members of their senior staffs reportedly contacted representatives of noted director Leni Riefenstahl to produce a documentary commemorating the ceremonies held at the Capitol on 1/6. The project was tentatively titled Triumph of the Vaxxed. Ms. Riefenstahl was unavailable for comment.

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