FACT CHECK: Was Capitol Attack 'Staged'? Did NPR Report Siege Hours Before it Happened?

Social media users claimed NPR published an article reporting pro-Trump supporters' storming of the U.S. Capitol hours before the insurrection took place on Jan. 6, 2021.

As Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, news publications across the country raced to accurately report the events as they unfolded with some outlets offering live updates.

In the wake of the insurrection, some social media users pointed out that that NPR (National Public Radio), an American non-profit media outlet published an article with the headline, "Trump Supporters Storm Capitol, Clash With Police" hours before it happened.

The story was time-stamped Jan. 6, 2021, 9:33 a.m. ET – more than three hours before the federal building was breached by Trump supporters. This led right-wing extremists and conspiracy theorists to push the claim that the attack was "staged."

NPR article on Capitol Riots
A screenshot of the NPR article on the Capitol riots time-stamped Jan. 6, 2021, 9:33 a.m. ET. NPR

The Capitol Invasion was 'Staged,' Claim Netizens

"If 'Trump Supporters' supposedly stormed the capital because they weren't happy with the vote that happened at 1:00 PM. How did NPR publish this headline at 9:33 AM?!? If you can't see that this entire event yesterday was A STAGED EVENT..... open your eyes," a Facebook user wrote.

"Can someone please explain to me how NPR published this headline at 9:33 am this morning?" commented Instagram user KrisAnne Hall.

Fact-Check: NPR Article Was Updated Throughout the Day

However, these claims are misleading and does not accurately represent the several iterations that the article published in the wake of developments on the day of the siege. Although the original article was indeed published at 9.33 a.m. EST but with a different headline that read, "Diehard Trump Supporters Gather in the Nation's Capital to Protest Election Results."

NPR story
The same NPR article with a different headline. Wayback Machine

The story was then updated several times throughout the day and the headline was altered to reflect the same. The first line of the article also mentions that the story was last "Updated at 3:08 p.m. ET."

The Wayback Machine, a tool that captures webpages at various points in time to create an "internet archive," also provides a look at the article earlier in the day.

NPR Senior Publicist Ben Fishel confirmed that the original story's headline had been updated to accurately reflect the turn of events on Jan. 6, and that this is NPR's "standard practice in a developing story."

"I can confirm that NPR is neither clairvoyant nor were we a part of a (false) conspiracy of people who staged the events of Wednesday [Jan. 6]," wrote Fishel.

READ MORE