NYTimes video short films about January 6 (Proud Boys involvement), and Russian army in Ukraine

Trump rally Nov. 14, 2022

Late Friday evening, the New York Times tweeted a series of some of its “visual investigations”, really short films in a similar style to the op-docs.  I want to mention two of them. I can give the links, but neither is embeddable. 

The firs (also called a “story portrait”) is “How the Proud Boys Breached the Capitol on Jan. 6: Rile Up the Normies”, reported by By Natalie Reneau, Stella Cooper, Alan Feuer and Aaron Byrd (17 min.)  You can watch it at this link (may require paywall or subscription).   Well, it is on YouTube new (free, but age-restricted).

NY Times video on Proud Boys Jan 6

The film traces their movements around the Capitol Building on Jan. 6, 2021.  They showed up looking a but ragtag and ordinary near the Monument early in the morning but had specifically recruited their troops.  They spread out to various points around the Capitol and some had the task of stirring up the other people (the “normies”) into extreme behaviors.  The hearings his past week showed how at one point they may have been within forty feet of a hidden Mike Pence, who could not afford to be seen leaving the Capitol under Secret Service Protection. Over the last several years, the Proud Boys had sometimes convinced others that they were a necessary block of destructive extremism on the Left (Antifa, as in Portland). It’s true, Left wing activism is sometimes more disruptive to ordinary citizens (like owners of small businesses) in a neighborhood (with its clenched-fist demands that ordinary people join the mass movements), whereas generally right-wing extremists may aim to stage far larger and more destructive events.

NBC reinforces this information with an excerpt from recent testimony before Congress:

NBC on Jan 6 hearings

PBS includes testimony about the Oath Keepers.

PBS on Jan 6 hearing

I attended a couple of events, a “stop the steal” gathering at the GOP HQ near the Capitol South Metro Station on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020 – for “journalistic” purposes.  I kept some distance and filmed, and then had an outdoor lunch nearby where I could watch.  Apparently I was there shortly after Ford Fischer (News2Share) had left. Then on Saturday, Nov, 14, 2020 I watched and film some more of the big pro-Trump rally near Freedom Plaza.  I rode in on the Metro, masked, but many people weren’t and were shouting. I walked around the crowd and one guy screamed into my face.  At one point, the core of the PB walked past.

Nov 14 2020 rally

I had thought of the Proud Boys as silly, with their rituals and denial of masturbation.  Some people say some of them are incels.  At one point, Milo Yiannopoulos was canceled (I think by Patreon) when a “background investigation” indicated he had once gone to a meeting of them.  At the time, I thought it was silly to cancel someone just for being in the presence of a suspect group.  I remember seeing Milo once at Harry’s Bar in the Harrington in downtown DC the weekend of July 6, 2019 (pre-pandemic) when he had actually dressed in drag to give a right-wing speech.

Another journalist friend begged me on Twitter to get tested for COVID after spending these days there.  I’ll say this.  I got my first two Pfizer shots on Feb. 27 and March 18, 2021.  After the second one, my sense of smell took off, and I could smell everything any apartment from a hallway in my building.  That’s pretty good circumstantial evidence that I had just had the infection (without other symptoms) and the vaccines shut it down (essentially turning into a monoclonal antibody treatment).  I might have been in real trouble without the shots.  I lived in a high rise the whole COVID period, in a zipcode with very high infection, but was never ill.  I think I had been building some immunity with small exposures (through the masks).

I’m not sure how the Oath Keepers fit in.

Recall, YouTube disallowed videos that mentioned “Stop the Steal” after the Dec. 8 2020 electoral college meeting, unless the video contained countervailing views within the videos, even if just spoklen by an obviously excitable protester or shown on a sign.  This gets into the philosophy of who gets to call themselves press and a journalist, which I’ll come back to later.  But in early and mid November I was intellectually willing to listen to their (Trump) claims.  They had not yet gone through the courts and wild attempts. 

On Dec. 20, someone (a Facebook “friend”, female) asked if I would help her find a place to stay. I told her, look for motels.  But the tone of the message seemed urgent, as if by even that date there was considerable intention to disrupt the Jan. 6 electoral count as if the world would come to an end for them if Biden got “power”.  It made no sense.

The other film is “Under Fire, Out of Fuel: What Intercepted Russian Radio Chatter Reveals” by Robin Stein, Christiaan Triebert, Natalie Reneau, Aleksandra Koroleva and Drew Jordan, about a Russian attack in late February on a suburb of Kyiv, link here (paywall).

There is a video.

Russian troops in Ukraine NYTImes

At one point, a Russian tank shoots at a civilian car and blows it up, killing both.

The translated Russian shows how poorly equipped is the Russian military.

Will the NYT submit these to film festivals?

(Posted: Saturday. June 18, 2022 at 4:30 PM EDT)