Newsmax Uses Davenport Tragedy To Push Ukraine War Disinformation

Photo courtesy of Homan Photography

By Nikoel Hytrek

May 31, 2023

A right-wing media outlet capitalized on the tragic partial-building collapse in Davenport by claiming it was a Moscow building struck by drones from Ukraine.

Greta Van Susteren, host of the Newsmax show “The Record with Greta Van Susteren,” showed a few shots of the Davenport building and said, “This morning in Moscow, a city of 21 million people, there was a pre-dawn attack. Drone struck several buildings.”

While she said this, AP footage of the six-story apartment building at 324 Main Street in Davenport, Iowa, played. The disinformation was flagged by Media Matters For America, who grabbed video of the broadcast as did several Twitter users.


On Sunday evening, part of the Davenport building collapsed, trapping people in rubble, displacing residents, and prompting rescue efforts. As of publication, and as of the Newsmax broadcast, five people are still unaccounted for, and two of whom are suspected to still be in the building.

Seven people were rescued on Sunday. Another person was rescued hours after city officials said they believed the building was empty and demolition plans had been announced. That announcement, and the suspicion two people were in the building, prompted outcry and a protest outside the building.

Demolition plans have been put on hold.

The exact cause of the collapse is unclear, but residents said they weren’t surprised because the building wasn’t maintained and issues such as mold and water problems were often ignored by management.

A couple, one of whom was trapped in the rubble and had her leg amputated, said they noticed cracks spreading over their bathroom door on their fourth-floor apartment right before the collapse.

There was an attack in Moscow early on Tuesday morning, but three residential buildings were lightly scored or had windows broken. None had collapsed, and the mayor of Moscow said some residents were evacuated but no one was seriously injured.

The Russian government blames Ukraine, but Ukraine has denied involvement. Moscow is about 310 miles away from the Ukrainian border, and this is the first time drones have hit residential areas of the city, according to the New York Times.


Nikoel Hytrek


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  • Nikoel Hytrek

    Nikoel Hytrek is Iowa Starting Line’s longest-serving reporter. She covers LGBTQ issues, abortion rights and all topics of interest to Iowans. Her biggest goal is to help connect the dots between policy and people’s real lives. If you have story ideas or tips, send them over to [email protected].

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