My social media feed is packed with fellow conservative activists and acquaintances who believe they have uncovered “the truth” about a couple of the most visible rioters from the Capitol today: they weren’t MAGA supporters; they’re really Antifa and Black Lives Matter (BLM) agent provocateurs! Dozens of my friends have posted photos “proving” that these guys are with Antifa or BLM. Hundreds of thousands of people (by this point, likely millions) have shared these photos on social media. It sure looks bad. Just take a look at the photos above and below! Clearly these guys weren’t MAGA!
It’s complete BS. Neither of the men are BLM or Antifa. Rather, they are both well-known far-right activists and Trump supporters. There is absolutely no doubt about it. Here’s the proof.
The first photo at the top of this article was shared by pro-Trump lawyer Lin Wood (Sidney Powell’s right-hand man, who MC’d the Stop the Steal rally in Georgia) on Twitter. It seems to provide slam-dunk evidence that the man in the photo on the right (which comes from phillyantifa.org) and the man in the photo on the left (which was taken today at the Capitol) are the same man. And you know what? THEY ARE. The same man, that is.
The man’s name is Jason Tankersley. The photo does come from PhillyAntifa.org. Here’s a link to the photo on their website. But here’s the thing: The photo comes from an article about how Tankersley is a prominent white supremacist skinhead.
That’s right. Wood simply cut and pasted the photo from phillyantifa.org in a way that deceptively left the impression that Tankersley is an Antifa activist. In fact, the Antifa website that contains his photo was exposing Tankerlsey for being a skinhead.
So what was Wood thinking? Well, Wood is the same guy who called for Pence to be executed by firing squad a few days ago. So, you know, he’s not exactly the cream of the crop of society, and not entirely trustworthy.
So what about the other photo? The one of the guy in the Viking hat with his face painted? I mean: hell, he was at a BLM protest in Tempe, wasn’t he? Uh, yeah. He was. As a QAnon supporting counter-protester.
Here’s the uncropped photo of the man from the BLM protest in Tempe:
His name is Jake Angeli. He’s a prominent QAnon and Trump supporter. You can read all about him in this article in AZCentral:
Jake Angeli walked the lines of people at Veterans Memorial Coliseum waiting to see Trump on Feb. 20. On his head was a fur bonnet from which protruded two horns. His face was painted black and white. He was shirtless and shouting. He carried a sign that read: “Q sent me.”
“You all know who Q is?” he yelled.
Occasionally, he stopped and answered his own question, explaining Q was a government agent who wanted to “take the country back” from pedophiles and globalists.
The claim that these two men were Antifa or BLM provocateurs is spreading like wildfire. Lin Wood’s Twitter post claiming that Jason Tankersley is an Antifa activist has over 41 thousand retweets, and over 70 thousand likes right now. Other posts Wood has posted about Jake Angeli, claiming he’s a BLM activist, have also been liked and shared tens of thousands of times.
And that’s just one of the many, many people who are posting these false claims.
They are a lie. Don’t contribute to misinformation by sharing these false claims. Fact-check.
It is incredible to me, as a committed conservative, to see so many of my fellow conservatives unthinkingly sharing these claims. From the time the first of these posts appeared on my social feed, to the time when my feeds on Facebook and Twitter were flooded with these claims, was a matter of less than an hour. It took me only a couple of minutes to track down the identities of the two men. Most people who believe these claims will never learn that they are wrong. When they see the inevitable Facebook “fact checks”, they will simply dismiss them as liberal propaganda.
A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth even gets its shoes on. We can do better than this.