Banned by YouTube, thriving on Rumble
During NewsGuard’s Rumble search project, analysts were fed more videos posted by accounts tied to “War Room” host Bannon and to Dan Bongino, another conservative commentator who hosts a podcast called “The Dan Bongino Show,” than by any other account. YouTube previously banned both commentators for violating its standards.
Twenty-two of the 200 Rumble search results (11 percent) were published by the Rumble account for Bannon’s “War Room” podcast.
YouTube banned the “War Room” account on its platform in January 2021, telling The Wrap that month that the podcast had “repeatedly violat[ed] our Community Guidelines.”
Another 17 Rumble search results were videos published by accounts tied to Bongino, an early Rumble investor. Bongino’s website, Bongino.com, is Red-rated by NewsGuard, receiving a score of 49.5. YouTube told The New York Times in January 2022 that it banned Bongino, and said his accounts were posting videos disputing the efficacy of masks and “circumventing our terms of service by posting a video while there was [a]…suspension associated with the account.”
Jan. 6: An ‘inside job’
When searching for “Blake Masters” and “Mark Kelly,” the candidates running in Arizona’s 2022 U.S. Senate race, NewsGuard found Rumble’s top results included videos making false and misleading claims about news that could affect the 2022 elections.
Two videos were posted by “The Charlie Kirk Show” and included claims about the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol and the August 2022 FBI search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort. Kirk’s podcast airs on Real America’s Voice. Kirk’s website, CharlieKirk.com, has a NewsGuard score of 0.
One video was titled “J6 Pelosi Tape Drop and VA Dems Lose Their Gender Affirming Minds | Mark Finchem, Julie Kelly, AMA” and was the ninth result when a NewsGuard analyst searched for “Mark Kelly,” the Democratic senator seeking re-election in Arizona. In the video, posted on Oct. 14, 2022, Kirk interviewed Julie Kelly, a writer for American Greatness, a conservative blog that is Red-rated by NewsGuard with a trust score of 42. In the clip, Julie Kelly referred to the attack as an “inside job … a massive stunt, a massive entrapment operation to draw these Trump supporters there.”
There is no evidence that federal agents helped plan or participated in the attack on the U.S. Capitol or that Trump supporters were “entrapped.” Video footage from throughout the attack shows that the rioters climbed scaffolding, busted doors, smashed windows, and shoved past barricades to get into the Capitol. Some attacked police officers in the process. Images captured that day depict numerous rioters inside the Capitol wearing clothing with pro-Trump wording.
The sixth-highest result shown to NewsGuard when an analyst searched for “Blake Masters,” the Republican running to unseat Mark Kelly, was an August 2022 episode of “The Charlie Kirk Show” titled “Exposing Garland’s Deep State Cabal + Kari Lake & Blake Masters.” While discussing the execution of a search warrant at former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate near the start of the episode, Kirk said: “Barack Obama has boxes of National Archive records at Martha’s Vineyard.”
Kirk’s claim contradicted a statement the National Archives had issued three days earlier: “The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) assumed exclusive legal and physical custody of Obama Presidential records when President Barack Obama left office in 2017, in accordance with the Presidential Records Act (PRA),” the National Archives said. On Sept. 8, 2022, the archives released another statement saying that it “is not aware of any missing boxes of Presidential records from the Obama administration.”
‘Supreme Court cancels the midterm elections’
In NewsGuard’s search analysis, Rumble videos produced by sources not rated by NewsGuard also yielded egregious examples of misinformation, including false claims related to the QAnon conspiracy theory.
For example, four of the top 10 results returned when a NewsGuard analyst searched for the term “U.S. Midterm Elections” were posted by fringe accounts advancing the QAnon conspiracy. QAnon supporters contend that Trump and an anonymous government operative who goes by the name “Q” are engaged in a struggle to take down a “deep state” network of child sex traffickers.
The first “U.S. Midterm Elections” search result was posted by @QNewsPatriot, a QAnon influencer who posted a video on Oct. 7, 2022, that declared, “Supreme Court Cancels USA Midterm Elections.” The video’s narrator said: “The information that I was given today, October the 7th, 2022, is that the Supreme Court of the United States has canceled the November midterm election. Those elections will not happen.” The Supreme Court has not canceled the 2022 midterms and they are, indeed, slated to occur. Even so, the video had been viewed over 176,000 times as of October 2022.