MISLEADING AND MISLED: Greg from Wisconsin knows what happened!

MONDAY, JUNE 13, 2022

So does Laurence Tribe: Yesterday morning, Jesse was the moderator for C-Span's Washington Journal. At 7 A.M. Eastern, he started the program's daily, hour-long, soul-crushing "Viewer Calls" feature.

In all honesty, the question for the day was a bit non-specific. It went exactly like this:

"Is it important to find out what happened on the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol?”

The question was perhaps a bit vague. But at precisely 7:30 A.M., Jesse threw to Greg from Ridgeville, Wisconsin—and Greg's point of view was quite clear:

GREG FROM WISCONSIN (6/12/22): Good morning. Thank you for taking my call. Thank you very much.

Well, we need to see what happened on January 6. And I think there is plenty of video that shows the lack of security, the open invitation, the open doors, the security people not protecting the Capitol. That was the biggest thing.

If they had protected the Capitol, none of this would have happened. And thank you for C-Span for being such a liberal mouthpiece, funded by the government, that does not present both sides.

You, my friend, are allowing both sides to be presented because the videos are clear. The Capitol Police stepped back, opened the doors, and actually invited people in.

Greg felt he knew what had happened that day. The Capitol Police had "stepped back, opened the doors, and actually invited people in." 

C-Span hosts rarely challenge the statements of C-Span callers. In line with that policy, Jesse asked Greg what the committee should do with the information it had gathered.

He even ignored the ludicrous claim that C-Span doesn't present "both sides" of an issue! In response to Jesse's question, Greg from Wisconsin entered pure repetition mode:

GREG FROM WISCONSIN: Well, I think the biggest thing is, is that they improve the security! Because when you look at what happened and the videos, the videos are very clear that the invitation of the entrance to the Capitol, the Capitol Police stepped back, opened the doors, and in some cases waved people in. It's obvious! That's what happened to start the whole intrusion to the Capitol. 

If the Capitol Police had secured the doors, not allowed people to come in, and allowed them to peacefully protest outside, we would not be talking about this now. Do you agree?

It was obvious! If only the Capitol Police had allowed the "Proud Boys" to stage their peaceful protests outside, this whole thing wouldn't have happened!

By now, a certain irony obtained, as you can see by watching the C-Span tape. Even as Greg was repeating his statements about the way the Capitol Police had invited the rioters in, C-Span was playing  videotape of some actual events of that day.

That videotape showed police officers getting bashed over their heads and windows being smashed as the rioters forced their way inside the Capitol building. Creating a bit of dark "found humor," Greg continued his monologue as this contradictory videotape rolled on.

That said, Jesse was nothing if not patient on this particular day. He now took his third pass at the caller, asking Greg if he thinks we need 8-foot security fence around the Capitol complex, as some people have suggested.

Greg began his reply:

GREG FROM WISCONSIN: Well, if we're talking specifically about the January 6 event, I don't think they need to put up fences. They just needed to keep the doors closed...

As he continued, Greg from Wisconsin accused Jesse of "confusing the topics." 

"Let's stay on focus to January 6," he said. "On focus to January 6 and the fact that the Capitol Police failed miserably, who were being led by Nancy Pelosi."

There may have been some factual errors in there, but Jesse returned to his question about the possible need for permanent 8-foot fencing around the Capitol complex. Once again, did Greg from Wisconsin think this fencing was needed? 

With that, Jesse fell for the fourth time. In all candor, why had he bothered to ask?

GREG FROM WISCONSIN: I do not think that permanent fencing needs to be put up. We've never had this issue before, and I think we're talking apples and oranges. Because, if you have better security that would have prevented what happened on January 6, that the Capitol Police were not waving people in, we would not have this conversation, my friend.

It's really very simple, and you are creating an apple and orange scenario.

On this occasion, Greg's reply didn't quite parse. That said, we think his basic picture of what happened that day remained fairly clear.

By now, a bit more than four minutes had passed—and Jesse was finally prepared to stop creating his "apple and orange scenario."

Greg had stated his claims four times. At long last, Jesse said this:

JESSE: All right, let's go to Lorraine, who's calling from Greenlawn, New York. Lorraine! Good morning!

With that, the latest soul-crushing, four-minute phone call was finally brought to an end.

This four-minute phone call was one small part of our failing nation's flailing attempt to discuss what happened on January 6.  On this occasion, an observer could conceivably criticize C-Span's "the viewer is always right" policy. 

Such an observer might also claim that Greg from Wisconsin had come to the nation's C-Span viewers from the increasingly familiar realm of the misleading and the misled.

 Even as videotape of the mayhem unspooled atop his statements, Greg kept repeating his standard claims. It could conceivably seem to some that Greg had somehow managed to miss a great deal of "what [actually] happened on the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.”

Quite sensibly, we blue tribe members might gnash our teeth when regular people like Greg present such misleading analyses. On the other hand, we saw Laurence Tribe make this claim on MSNBC this past Saturday night:

TRIBE (6/11/22): There was a huge group at the Ellipse. Long before [Trump] fired up that group, the Proud Boys, who he had told to stand by and stand back, and the Oathkeepers had engaged in reconnaissance of the Capitol with the help of members of Congress who acted essentially as insiders in the Capitol...

Our own tribe was back to the claim that Republican members of Congress had led the rioters on day-before reconnaissance tours of the Capitol. For the record, Tribe was responding to this question:

 "What were your big takeaways from the committee's first prime-time hearing?"

In fact, no one said, at that first committee hearing, that any such tours took place. It may turn out that such tours did take place, but no one said or suggested any such thing during the committee's first presentation.

Meanwhile, Tribe isn't some random caller from a tiny town in Wisconsin. Tribe is a highly influential Harvard Law School professor—one who flipped on the meaning of the Second Amendment back in the 1990s, in a way which might have facilitated his appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court if George W. Bush hadn't slid into the White House, thanks to all the lunatic claims aimed at Candidate Gore!

The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but ours is a land which is currently ruled by the misleading and the misled. The committee makes its next presentation today.

We'll continue to monitor the committee's very important work. We'll also speak, all this week, about the ways we the people, along with our various neighbors and friends, frequently get misled.

Tomorrow: What Tucker Carlson said


  1. Doors opened, doors closed, who cares.

    What's clear is that some of the governed, at the time, decided that their government severely lacks legitimacy.

    Yes, dear Bob, and apparently a lot of them still feel this way.

    We'll see where it goes from here...

    1. What's clear is that some of the governed, at the time, decided that their government severely lacks legitimacy, because black peoples votes counted in the 2020 Presidential Election.

      Fixed it for you.

    2. Yes, dear dembot, counting dead people's votes is a part of it. Plus mountains of fake liberal drivel everywhere.

      ...and we know it's true, because it was all explained to us in the letter signed by 51 former "intelligence" officials...

    3. What dead people's votes were counted? I asked you before, What intelligence officials? You are unable to provide any facts to what you are saying. Of course, this is nothing new for you.

    4. Committee testimony just addressed those supposed dead people votes and the fact that the investigation found no support that even 8 dead people votes were counted, much less 8000+ as claimed. They also showed the death threats sent to the officials who conducted the investigation and found no support for claims of fraud.

    5. Did Mao vote?
      He's been braindead since long before November 2020.

    6. Oh wow. This totally impartial show-trial found no evidence. Imagine that.

      ...was it a letter signed by 51 former "intelligence" officials, that said that there is no evidence? Of course it was.

      Thank you, dear dembot: we are totally convinced now...

    7. Totally impartial committee hearing in which Republican members of Trump's administration attested to the absence of vote fraud, described meetings in which they told him so, and told how Trump ignored their input and continued to fund-raise and engage in a coup to stay in power.

      If you are not convinced, you are being played for a fool by Trump, who is still fund-raising while his supporters try to stay out of jail for their own attempts to help overthrow a valid election.

    8. Sure, sure, dear dembot. Never mind us; keep up your good work. More dem-spam, please.

    9. Mao, an obsessive wingnut challenges someone else's objectivity. Good one!

  2. Don't worry, we liberals can turn to a warmongering Republican to sort it all out for us. It's so nice to have a Republican who loves giving hundreds of billions of dollars to the military-industrial complex as much as we do be our leader in getting to the bottom of this. I just love being a Democrat so much. I'm the proud boy!

    1. No, unfortunately the majority of voters turner reactionary radical conservative under Reagan. Clinton did the best he could to push back as much as he did. He was extraordinarily competent the likes of which we will not have for a long time.

    2. The worst Dem is still better than the best Republican.

  3. In fairness, Lawrence Tribe didn't say (in the excerpt) that the 1/6 hearing said there were tours. We know about at least one of the tours because the 1/6 committee requested info from Loudermilk, a congressmember who admitted leading a tour, saying (after denying it previously) that it was a family group who he took on a tour the night before the insurrection. The Proud Boys were part of the documentary footage shown by the committee last Thursday, and that clearly occurred before the rally. There was also footage shown of the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys leadership meeting the night before the rally, in a parking garage.

    That makes the Tribe assertions much better grounded than the things said by Greg on C-SPAN, which Somerby considers to be equivalent "misinformation." Tribe was not misinformed at all -- this all hangs on a technicality about what was in the hearing footage as opposed to other information obtained by the 1/6 committee in its investigations.

    But notice the way that Somerby casts Tribe's info as equivalent to the talking points now being spread by Republicans to counter the hearing itself. As if liberal viewers are wrong about the FACTS being shared by the hearing, when we are not, and neither was Tribe.

    Today's essay shows Somerby working hard to promote the Republican line (exemplified by Greg), without himself contesting what Greg was saying (which is NOT factual)


    1. Somerby always puts his thumb on the scale, is always certain he is right in everything.

      Somerby's life has included being physically intimidated by a Black youth and being romantically rejected by a White youth, and as a result now we Angry Somerby, mad at the world, hell bent on manufacturing ignorance.

  4. C-SPAN has never contested what viewers say on its viewer call in portion of its broadcasts. It does this to prevent that portion from devolving into argument. Those who call in are divided into Republican, Democrat and Independent lines. I have frequently noted how Republican talking points are repeated by Republicans who deliberately call in on the Democrat phone line, misrepresenting their political perspective in order to get extra time to spread Republican views. This is a tactic on the right, because they do not respect fairness and tend to work whatever system they are part of. Somerby doesn't comment on this and never has.

    I also notice that Greg already knows the attack line against the hearing. We Democrats know it too. Here is a partial rebuttal from Friday (especially of the part about Nancy Pelosi being in charge of the Capitol Police):


    Somerby wastes no time telling us how specious it is to argue that a break in would not have occurred if the doors had been locked, when the 1/6 videos show the break in happening. But Somerby pretends that Greg is a typical Republican man-on-the-street and not an operative spreading the Republican line. He spends most of his article repeating Greg's excuse for the riot, and a comparatively much shorter time telling us what Tribe said or that Tribe's info was correct while Greg's was nonsense.

    In essence, Somerby is performing the same function here on his blog as Greg did on C-SPAN, spreading the Republican word, and NOT discussing relatively information value, but blithely equating the knowledge gained by the committee with the Republican lies being spread to combat the committee. That makes Somerby part of the problem, an extension of Republican propaganda efforts, not any kind of media critic.

    If I had access to Tribe's fuller remarks, I suspect I might even hear Tribe attribute the tour information to the committee investigation and not the first 1/6 hearing. Somerby is not beyond misrepresenting Tribe's source, concealing it, and has done that before. You cannot trust his clips without verifying the context. Just as no one can go back and find "Greg"'s remarks to verify them either, but we can see what the Republicans have been saying over on Fox.

    Shame on Somerby for being so obviously a shill for the right wing, deliberately choosing to further misinformation from the right instead of defending our democracy and suggesting that viewers continue to watch the next installment of the 1/6 committee hearings -- as responsible media and bloggers are doing.

  5. Remembering where you heard something is not the same kind of memory as remember what you heard. Remember where you heard something is called source memory. At worst, Tribe may have confused where he heard about the tours, thinking it came from the Thursday hearing instead of from other reporting about the 1/6 Committee's request from Loudermilk, who admitted that he did lead such a tour. That doesn't make Tribe wrong, or spreading misinformation. It means he confused one 1/6 Committee source with another -- getting the content itself right.

    This is a huge nitpick. People regularly confuse their sources, especially when they hear similar things from multiple sources, as occurs with news. Somerby's use of something like this to "discredit" Tribe is mendacious.

    Why does Somerby think various congress members were requesting blanket pardons, if they hadn't participated in the planning and execution of the 1/6 insurrection and other efforts to steal the election for Trump? THAT fact was announced at the first hearing and it will be revisited in subsequent hearings, according to the 1/6 committee.

    Somerby will fool very few liberals with today's subterfuge, but he apparently feels obligated to try. That is the truly pathetic thing about Somerby these days -- that whatever he used to be, he is now reduced to shilling for the lowest of the low, those who would attack our democracy on behalf of Donald Trump.

  6. Here is the Trump plan:

    "1. President Trump engaged in a massive effort to spread false and fraudulent information to the American public claiming the 2020 election was stolen from him.
    2. President Trump corruptly planned to replace the acting attorney general, so that the Department of Justice would support his fake election claims.
    3. President Trump corruptly pressured Vice President Pence to refuse to count certified electoral votes in violation of the U.S. Constitution and the law.
    4. President Trump corruptly pressured state election officials, and state legislators, to change election results.
    5. President Trump’s legal team and other Trump associates instructed Republicans in multiple states to create false electoral slates and transmit those slates to Congress and the National Archives.
    6. President Trump summoned and assembled a violent mob in Washington and directed them to march on the U.S. Capitol.
    7. As the violence was underway, President Trump ignored multiple pleas for assistance and failed to take immediate action to stop the violence and instruct his supporters to leave the Capitol."

  7. "MISLEADING AND MISLED: Greg from Wisconsin knows what happened!"

    No, Greg from Wisconsin does not know what happened. Why would Somerby suggest that?

  8. Note to Greg: There is no other side to an insurrection. It is treason and should be punished accordingly. However, sticking to the right wing's typical response of never taking responsibility for what they do, I can see where he is coming from.

    1. When you suffer from unresolved childhood trauma, admitting you are to blame is extremely difficult.

    2. I don't think that talking about unresolved childhood trauma is any more useful than calling Trump crazy.

    3. Calling Trump crazy does not lead to solving any societal issue, nor likely has any electoral benefit for Dems.

      Understanding the root cause of why right wingers exist can lead to both improvements to society as well as electoral benefits.

      Stopping one person from smoking will not do much for society but understanding why cigs are unhealthy and addictive can help society.

  9. The Committee finished by describing Trump's fund-raising campaign to investigate vote fraud and support lawsuits and his lies about how the money would be used. The committee showed where the money actually went. The "bombshell" is that it partially funded the rally on 1/6.

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