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Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke January 12, 2021

No, NPR didn’t write about the Capitol breach before it happened

If Your Time is short

  • NPR reported on supporters of President Donald Trump gathering in Washington to protest election results in a story at 9:33 a.m. Eastern time. 
  • After some of those supporters stormed the Capitol, the story was updated and the headline was changed, but the timestamp still said 9:33 a.m.

We’ve already fact-checked claims that the Capitol riot was staged and found that there’s no evidence to support that allegation. 

Purported evidence spreading on social media that the event was orchestrated by the so-called Deep State is also wrong.

"NPR accidentally released an article at 9am about Trump supporters clash with police and Congress electoral count of votes being halted, HOURS before anything like this ever occurred," reads a screenshot of a Parler post that’s being shared on Facebook

It includes a picture of NPR’s website with the headline "Trump supporters storm U.S. Capitol, clash with police." The date and timestamp are "January 6, 2021" and "9:33 AM ET."

This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

The image of NPR’s website is authentic. You can still see that headline, date and timestamp here.

Ben Fishel, a spokesperson for the news organization, told PolitiFact that the original story was posted at 9:33 a.m. with a different headline: "Diehard Trump supporters gather in nation’s capital to protest election results." 

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An archived version of the story before it was updated at 3:08 p.m. Eastern Time confirms this.

The URL also includes sequences of words that reflect the original headline and the fact that it was a developing story that was updated over the course of the day:

  • "Congress-electoral-college-tally-live-updates"

  • "diehard-Trump-supporters-gather-in-the-nations-capital-to-protest-election-resul."

And featured prominently at the top of the article is this notice: "Updated 3:08 p.m. ET."

Including timestamps for both the original publication time and the latest update "is standard practice in a developing story," Fishel said. "I can confirm that NPR is neither clairvoyant nor were we part of a (false) conspiracy of people who staged the events of Wednesday January 6th." 

We rate this post False. 

This fact check is available at IFCN’s 2020 US Elections #Chatbot on WhatsApp. Click here, for more.


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No, NPR didn’t write about the Capitol breach before it happened

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