On Monday night’s edition of NBC Nightly News, anchor Lester Holt decided to run a news package by their leftist internet gossip reporter Brandy Zadrozny maligning conservatives who care about local political and cultural issues as violent rioters in the mold of those who stormed the United States Capitol on January 6.
Holt opened the segment by reminding viewers that it was Trump supporters who stormed the Capitol: “This week marks one year since a mob of Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol. In the time since the January 6th riot, domestic extremists have shifted strategies. Brandy Zadrozny explains how in our series state of extremism.” Zadgrozny’s segment opened with footage of the rioters chanting “stop the steal”, a reference to the belief the 2020 election was stolen from former President Trump.
Zadrozny then aired a video of a conservative activist named Denise Aguilar who claimed to be at the Capitol on January 6 bragging about how “we stormed the capitol, and patriots broke open the doors.” Zadrozny subsequently reported how Aguilar claimed she “never breached the building, nor participated in violence.”
In a soundbite, Aguilar described how the goal she and her fellow activists were trying to achieve was "all about local legislation, your local school districts, your city council, board of supervisors, so it kicked off as a national movement that it’s now, parents are realizing we need to start coming to the local government."
That was all Zadrozny needed to suggest any conservative running for a local position (or anyone not supporting the liberal agenda in schools) was an extremist. And to back up her warped premise, she talked to Jared Holt from the Atlantic Council to smear local conservative activists by tying them to Aguilar and white nationalists.
According to Zadrozny, Aguilar’s shift in focus from national politics to local issues is “part of a broader trend" of "domestic extremism" as studied by Holt and his "nonpartisan think tank." In their interview, Holt claimed the “adaptations that we’ve seen came in the form of kind of decentralizing these national movements.” Holt also made sure to bemoan how activists are re-engaging “in the broader conservative culture war.”
After playing a clip of Aguilar again denying any intentions of violence, Zadrozny played a clip of Alt-Right white supremacist podcaster Nick Fuentes praising the shift in focus towards school boards. Zadrozny also sought to tie conservatives to the “Proud Boys”, another Alt-Right group:
Groups like the Proud Boys responding taking to the streets of towns in Long Island and North Carolina to protest public health measures.
At the end, Zadrozny asked Holt if we are in a better place now than we were on January 5 of last year? In which Holt replied that he believed we are but “the undercurrents and the conditions that, led to January 6, this popularization of conspiracy theories, of extreme sentiments and ideologies is maybe more pernicious than it was last year.”
This segment of NBC News tying local conservative activists to white nationalists and violent rioters was brought to you by Progressive and Salonpas. Their information is linked so you can let them know about the biased news they fund.
To read the relevant transcript of this segment click “expand”:
NBC Nightly News
LESTER HOLT: And this week marks one year since a mob of Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol. In the time since the January 6 riot, domestic extremists have shifted strategies. Brandy Zadrozny explains how in our series state of extremism.
Rioters: Stop the steal! Stop the steal! Stop the steal!
BRANDY ZADROZNY: January 6th, 2021.
Rioters: USA! USA!
ZADROZNY: Crowds marched to the U.S. Capital building. Throngs of people grew into thousands. Denise Aguilar posted to social media that day saying she was there.
DENISE AGUILAR (ACTIVIST): The revolutions here, guys. We stormed the capitol, and patriots broke open the doors.
ZADROZNY: Aguilar later said she never breached the building, nor participated in violence. And since then she's taken her fight back home.
AGUILAR: It's all about local legislation, your local school districts, your city council, board of supervisors, so it kicked off as a national movement that it’s now, parents are realizing we need to start coming to the local government.
ZADROZNY: Her shift is part of a broader trend, according to Jared Holt, who studies domestic extremism at the nonpartisan think tank the Atlantic Council.
JARED HOLT: Domestic extremism is really like a fluid that matches the container that it's in at any given moment.
ZADROZNY: In a new report, Holt says that following backlash and hundreds of arrests connected to the attack on the capitol, far-right activists have shifted their focus from national politics to local.
HOLT: A lot of the adaptations that we’ve seen came in the form of kind of decentralizing these national movements.
ZADROZNY: What are these extremists all talking about at the local level? What is the content?
HOLT: A lot of them are taking it upon themselves to re-engage in the broader conservative culture war.
AGUILAR: We are here to protect the children of our community.
ZADROZNY: For Aguilar, who we met outside a local school board meeting in California, it's opposition to mandates.
AGUILAR: We figured out that going to the capitol and working that particular piece doesn't do anything because these legislators have already made up their mind.
ZADROZNY: She is a founder of a group called Mamalitia and says her activism is peaceful.
AGUILAR: Do we look violent to you? Do we look like we're trying to storm any place? Have I ever done anything violent in the capitol? Absolutely not.
ZADROZNY: Like many who share her goals, Aguilar uses alternative social media platforms like Telegram to organize and strategize.
NICK FUENTES: This is what they’re doing at the school board meetings
ZADROZNY: Those go local tactics, also being embraced by prominent white nationalists.
FUENTES: This is the right approach. Going to the school board meetings, going out to protests.
ZADROZNY: Groups like the Proud Boys responding taking to the streets of towns in Long Island and North Carolina to protest public health measures.
HOLT: Extremist groups have always seen the culture wars as a place that has enough anger and division already that it can be fruitful for them.
ZADROZNY: Are we in a better place now than we were on January 5th of last year?
HOLT: I do think there have been some reassuring signs, but the undercurrents and the conditions that, you know, led to January 6th, this popularization of conspiracy theories, of extreme sentiments and ideologies is maybe more pernicious than it was last year.
ZADROZNY: And with the focus off the nation's capitol, for now, the impact of that extremism can be felt anywhere. Brandy Zadrozny, NBC News, Washington.