Two years after the January 6th attack, the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers – two of the groups that stormed the Capitol and tried to overturn an election – are on a mission. This time, their goal is more subtle but just as sinister. Although individual Proud Boys and Oath Keepers are on trial for conspiracy and a heap of other crimes, the federal government has been slow to call the groups extremists. In courtrooms, on Twitter, and in media reports the groups are trying to clean up their image, and people are buying it.
Today we’re going to explore how the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers use propaganda – calling themselves a “drinking club,” “patriots,” and “constitutionalists” – to control their own narrative and hide their violent, extremist views. Calling out these lies, and understanding how they work, is key to holding the groups accountable for the January 6th attack and exposing their continued messages of hate.
Joining us are Meghan Conroy and Jon Lewis. Meghan is a Fellow with the Digital Forensic Research Lab and a former Investigator with the January 6th Committee, where she focused on the role of social media in the Capitol attack. Jon is a Fellow at the Program on Extremism at George Washington University, where he studies domestic and homegrown extremism. They wrote a recent Just Security piece analyzing the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers propaganda efforts and why they’ve been successful so far.
Listen to the podcast (transcript available as well) by clicking below.