Trump’s 5-year disinformation war led to the deadly Capitol attack

Cindy L. Otis

Social media and financial platforms are taking unprecedented action after last week’s violent siege on the Capitol building, which was openly planned and promoted online. However, the reality we must contend with is that the insurrection was the result of a massive, five-year disinformation campaign waged by Trump and his supporters who have weaponized lies, conspiracies, and the reach of social media to gain and attempt to hold onto his power and to distort reality.

The false claims have been consistent, and often militaristic, from the beginning:

You can’t trust election results unless Republicans win.

Democrats and the media are our enemies.

You can only believe Donald Trump.

Be prepared to fight.

An entire ecosystem was created online over the years to parrot those talking points, through vast networks of self-proclaimed “independent news” websites, Facebook pages and groups, forums, social media influencers, and fringe platforms advertised as the place for uncensored speech. The Trump campaign went so far as to create a “Trump Army” that many, we see now, took quite literally. 

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