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NYT reporter criticizes colleagues 'traumatized' by Jan. 6 riot in hidden camera sting

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Win McNamee/Getty Images

New York Times reporter Matthew Rosenberg called media coverage of the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol "overblown" and criticized his colleagues' response to the events of that day in a hidden-camera sting video released by Project Veritas.

Rosenberg, a national security correspondent for the Times, has extensively reported on the riot and accused former President Donald Trump and his supporters in conservative media of using "a furious array of rumor, innuendo, partial facts and outright lies" to create "alternative narratives" making excuses for the violent mob that trespassed at the Capitol Building. But in excerpts from a recorded conversation with one of Project Veritas' "undercover journalists," Rosenberg admitted that the left has spun a narrative too, in the opposite direction.

“It’s not a big deal as they are making it, because they were making too big a deal. They were making this an organized thing that it wasn’t,” Rosenberg said in excerpts of the video published Tuesday.

He also said that the left's overreaction to Jan. 6 gave people on the right an opportunity to downplay what happened.

"The Left's reaction to it in some places was so over the top that it gave the opening the Right needed to start introducing the idea of, 'Whoa, these people are out of control. Like it's not as big a deal as they're making it.' Cause [the Left] were making too big a deal. They were making [Jan. 6] some organized thing that it wasn't. And that gave the opening for the lunatics in the Right to be like, 'Oh, well, nothing happened here. It was just a peaceful bunch of tourists,' you know, and it's like, but nobody wants [to] hear that," he said.

He also made comments acknowledging that there were "a ton of FBI informants amongst the people who attacked the Capitol."

NYT Reporter: Jan 6 Media ‘Overreaction,’ FBI Involved; Traumatized Colleagues are "Fu*king Bit*hes" www.youtube.com

Project Veritas did not disclose when the video was recorded, but founder and CEO James O’Keefe said it was filmed around the same time Rosenberg was working on an article titled, "The Next Big Lies: Jan 6 was No Big Deal, or A Left-Wing Plot." The article was one of several features published by the Times in January for the one-year anniversary of the Jan. 6 riots.

In other clips from the video, Rosenberg harshly criticized some of his colleagues for acting like "f***ing b****es" by claiming to have been traumatized by the violence.

"I know I'm supposed to be traumatized, but like, all these colleagues who were in the building, and they're young and are like, 'Oh my God, it was so scary,'" Rosenberg said. "I'm like, 'F*** off.'" He also said that "[the Times is] not the kind place I can tell somebody to man up, but I kind of want to be like, 'Dude, come on, like, you were not in any danger.'"

Rosenberg was one of several journalists the Times dispatched to cover former President Donald Trump's "Stop the Steal" rally. While he never entered the Capitol building, Rosenberg interviewed several protesters that day, including Bigo Barnett, the rioter who broke into House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office and stole a letter from her desk.

In public reflections on his experience for another one of the Times features on the anniversary of the riot, he made very different statements, saying he too was "scared" by how "the most ordinary people were often the most violent." He even compared what he witnessed to overseas conflicts in military hot zones like Iraq and Afghanistan.

"I spent 15 years overseas in some fairly violent places – Afghanistan, Iraq, Sudan, Somalia. At moments, Jan. 6 was intense," he said in a Jan. 6, 2022, discussion with his colleagues. "Not the entire day, and certainly not everyone who was there. But there were folks in the crowd who were ready to fight."

According to Project Veritas, Rosenberg responded to the video, saying, "Will I stand by those comments? Absolutely."

In the video, O'Keefe promised to release additional videos featuring Rosenberg in the future discussing the "turmoil and inner workings of the New York Times."

Project Veritas and the New York Times are in the middle of a legal battle over whether the paper can publish certain memos and documents obtained from the nonprofit group. In a Feb. 10 court ruling, a judge said the Times could publish some documents but not other ones. Project Veritas is also suing the Times for defamation. The paper has accused Project Veritas of engaging in "deceptive practices, including the use of fake identities and hidden cameras to embarrass liberals, the news media, and others."

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