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PBS documentary on the January 6th Insurrection is worth watch, but they leave out key information about the far right in Michigan

January 6, 2022

If people have not seen it, we would encourage you to watch the documentary film on the January 6th, 2021 insurrection at the US Capitol, entitled, American Insurrection.

The documentary provides fairly sound analysis on the far right groups that were involved in the attempted insurrection, but it fails to provide crucial information about key players on the far right when the documentary shifted to talking about far right terrorism in Michigan.

At 40:10 into the film, they begin talking about the threats against Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. There was footage of the vacuum cleaner store in Grand Rapids, where far right people involved in the attempted kidnapping of Whitmer had met. Then at 43:07 into the documentary it cuts to a rally in Allendale organized by the American Patriot Council, with a shot of their co-founder Jason Howland. 

What is unfortunate about the PBS documentary is that they never mention the American Patriot Council, nor do they name Jason Howland or mention Ryan Kelley, the other co-founder of the American Patriot Council. This is not a small omission, since Kelley and Howland organized the rally in Allendale that is included in the film. In addition, there is footage and discussion about the anti-lockdown protests at the State Capitol in Lansing, which were also organized by the American Patriot Council, with Ryan Kelley being one of the speakers at each of the anti-lockdown rallies in April and May in Lansing and one in Grand Rapids in mid-May, which we also reported on. 

Circling back to the Allendale rally that the American Patriot Council hosted in late October of 2020, it is unfortunate that the PBS film correspondent who attended the Allendale rally, failed to mention that there was a well attended counter-protest that same day, with an equal, if not greater number of counter-protesters. Why weren’t  those involved in the counter-protest interviewed as well? There were organizers with the Michigan Association of Civil Rights Activists that had been trying to get a Confederate statue taken down in Allendale, which Ryan Kelley supported.

In addition, Ryan Kelley was part of the so-called Stop the Steal protests after the 2020 Election, specifically going to Detroit and Lansing, a mere two months prior to the January 6th insurrection in Washington, DC. 

Lastly, since the the documentary film American Insurrection was produced in 2021, months after January 6th, the producers of the film should have included the following: 1) that Ryan Kelley, co-founder of the American Patriot Council, which organized the anti-lockdown protests at the Lansing State Capitol, with hundreds of armed White Nationalists – seen by some as a prelude to January 6th; 2) Ryan Kelley and the American Patriot Council were instrumental in organizing Stop the Steal protests in Detroit and Lansing in late 2020; 3) both Kelley and American Patriot Council co-founder Jason Howland participated in the January 6th insurrection; and 4) Ryan Kelley had announced in early February 2021, less than a month after the January 6th insurrection, that he was running for Governor of Michigan.  All of this information would have been extremely valuable for the producers of American Insurrection to include.  

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