David Klepper at AP:
Several different conspiracy theories have emerged in the year since the insurrection, according to an analysis of online content by media intelligence firm Zignal Labs on behalf of The Associated Press. Unfounded claims that the rioters were members of antifa went viral first, only to be overtaken by a baseless claim blaming FBI operatives. Other theories say the rioters were peaceful and were framed for crimes that never happened.
Conspiracy theories have long lurked in the background of American history, said Dustin Carnahan, a Michigan State University professor who studies political misinformation. But they can become dangerous when they lead people to distrust democracy or to excuse or embrace violence.
“If we’re no longer operating from the same foundation of facts, then it’s going to be a lot harder to have conversations as a country,” Carnahan said. “It will fuel more divisions in our country, and I think that ultimately is the legacy of the misinformation we’re seeing right now.”