Jacob Chansley, also known as the “QAnon Shaman,” was sentenced to 41 months in prison for participating in the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol, but he was released early to a halfway house on March 28 because of his plea agreement and prison protocols. Social media posts falsely claim that his release was due to videos shown by Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson.
On Jan. 6, 2021, about 140 police officers were assaulted during the Capitol riot, and 326 participants — more than 100 armed with weapons — have been charged. But Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson has used recently released video from that day to misleadingly minimize the violence at the riot and to distort the actions of the police.
Scientists say the experiments Pfizer has performed on the coronavirus are standard for the industry. Baseless claims that the company is mutating the virus for profit, however, have been circulating since the release of a popular undercover video from the conservative activist group Project Veritas.
The derailment of a freight train carrying toxic chemicals in eastern Ohio has sparked a slew of unfounded claims by conservative commentators. There’s no indication that this incident will rise to the level of a “domestic Chernobyl”; it has been covered steadily by the media; federal and state agencies are monitoring air and water quality and its impact on people and animals.
Mail-in ballots have become a popular way to vote in the U.S. But the unfounded claim persists that mail ballots lead to rampant fraud and, if counted after Election Day, they are suspect. By law, many states don’t start counting mail ballots until after polls close, and some continue to accept them for days after Election Day if they are postmarked by that date.
Vaccines are added to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s immunization schedule after consultation with an outside advisory group and when the benefits outweigh the risks. Contrary to claims from Tucker Carlson and others, the COVID-19 vaccines will not become mandatory in schools just by being added to the CDC schedule. States and local districts make those determinations.
John Fetterman, Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor who is running for the U.S. Senate, has tattoos on his arms, some of which memorialize victims of violence. But conservative pundits — including Newt Gingrich — claim, without proof, that his tattoos suggest drug use and ties to a violent street gang.
Viral claims have repeatedly misrepresented unverified data from a U.S. vaccine safety system that encourages reports of any potential side effects — whether they’re likely to be caused by the vaccine or not. Now we’re seeing the same phenomenon with a similar system in Germany. Some have wrongly claimed Germany found the COVID-19 vaccine caused “serious side effects” in a large number of people.