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It’s Clear the Capitol Riot Was a Dark Day in a Number of Respects
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The invasion of the Capitol on 6 January now stands alongside 9/11 as an act of war against American democracy. Unsurprisingly, news coverage of the incursion has come to resemble war propaganda. All facts, true or false, are pointed in the same direction with the aim of demonising the enemy and anybody who minimises its demonic nature.

The three-hour takeover of the Capitol building by a pro-Trump mob is portrayed as a “coup” or an “insurrection” egged on by President Trump. The five who died during the events are seen as evidence of a violent, pre-planned plot to overturn the result of the US presidential election. Film spliced together and shown by prosecutors during the impeachment proceedings gives the impression that what happened resembled a battle scene in Braveheart.

Does it matter what really did occur? Many people feel that anything damaging to Trump and his fascistic followers is all right by them. They may suspect privately that accounts of Trump’s plot against America are exaggerated, but the fabricator of 30,573 falsehoods over the last four years is scarcely in a position to criticise his opponents for departing from the strict truth. They argue that he is an unprecedented threat to American democracy, even as it becomes clear that what actually happened in the Capitol on that day was radically different from the way elements of the media reported it.

But what is reported matters and particularly so when it risks exaggerating violence or deepening fear and a sense of threat. If the US government really was the target of an armed insurrection, then this will be used to justify repression, as it was after 9/11, and not just against right wing conspiracy theorists. By becoming partisan instruments for spreading fake news, the media undermines its own credibility.

A problem with a giant news story like the Capitol invasion is that at first it is over-covered before we know the full facts, and then it is under-covered when those facts begin to emerge. This has been true of US media coverage. But even at the time it seemed to be a very peculiar armed insurrection. Only one shot appears to have been fired and that was by a police officer who killed Trump supporter Ashil Babbitt who was involved in the storming of the Capitol. In a country like the US awash with guns, this absence of gunfire is remarkable.

Five people died during the takeover of the Capitol building and this is the main proof of deadly intent by the rioters. But one of the dead was Babbitt, killed by the police, and three of the others were members of the pro-Trump mob, who died, respectively, from a stroke, a heart attack and from being accidentally crushed by the crowd.

This leaves just one person, Capitol policeman Brian Sicknick, as the sole victim of the Trump supporters who allegedly beat him to death with a fire extinguisher. On 8 January, the New York Times ran two stories about his death, quoting anonymous law officers as describing how pro-Trump rioters had struck him on the head with a fire extinguisher causing “a bloody gash on his head”. He is then reported to have been rushed to hospital, placed on life support but to have died the following day.

This graphic story went around the world and was widely picked up by other news outlets – including The Independent, the BBC and USA Today. It was also separately reported by the Associated Press. It gave credibility to the idea that the pro-Trump mob was willing to kill, even if they only killed one person. It also gave credibility to the idea that vice president Mike Pence, House speaker Nancy Pelosi and senator Mitt Romney had only escaped being lynched by seconds.

Yet over the last seven weeks – without the world paying any attention – the story of the murder of Officer Sicknick has progressively unravelled. Just how this happened is told in fascinating detail by Glenn Greenwald, the investigative journalist and constitutional lawyer, who concludes that “the problem with this story is that it is false in all respects”.

It was always strange that, though every event that took place during the riot was filmed, there is no video of the attack on Sicknick. He texted his brother later that day and sounded as if he was in good spirits. No autopsy report has been released that would confirm his alleged injuries. Conclusively, the New York Times quietly “updated” its original articles about the murder of Sicknick, admitting that new information had emerged that “questions the initial cause of his death provided by officials close to the Capitol Police”.

Since these officials were the only source for the original story, this – though readers might not guess it – amounts to an admission that it is untrue.

The misreporting of the Capitol invasion also included: a man carrying zip ties – that were taken to be evidence of a possible organised plan to detain political leaders – were in fact, according to prosecutors, picked up from a table within the Capitol, likely to ensure police could not use them. It is significant because it is part of a decline in media reporting everywhere, but particularly in the US. Trump is both a symptom and cause of this decline since he is a past master of saying and doing things, however untruthful or absurd, which are usually entertaining and always attention-grabbing. He guarantees high ratings for himself and the television channels, Trump haters and Trump-lovers alike, to their mutual benefit.

This symbiotic relationship between Trump and the media means that they do less and less reporting, allowing Trump and his supporters to provide the action while they provide the talking heads who thrive on venomous confrontation. Even American reporters on the ground have turned themselves into talking heads, willing to waffle on endlessly to meet the needs of 24/7 newscasts.

ORDER IT NOW

Events on Capitol Hill provided damning evidence of this decline in American journalism when Robert Moore, ITV News’s Washington correspondent, was the only television correspondent to make his way into the Capitol in the middle of the turmoil. He later expressed astonishment that, given the vast resources of US television and the thousands of journalists in Washington, that it should be “a solitary TV crew from Britain that was the only one to capture this moment in history – it’s bizarre”.

Bizarre, but not surprising. As a news event, the Capitol invasion showed that when it comes to spreading “fake facts”, the traditional media can be even more effective than the social media that is usually blamed.

(Republished from The Independent by permission of author or representative)
 
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  1. Mr. Cockburn, you are among the only Unz writers who have shown the courage to condemn Trumpenstein and his philosemitic mob of Vandals. I have spent every day during my office hours the past month scouring bit-chute, various livestreams and trying to assist in IDing the Capitol protestors in an effort to see them removed from public life.

    I can only pray (and donate to PACs, of course) that 2022 is a landslide victory for the Dems so they can begin the long road to unreasoning these violent, Anti-Democracy extremists.

    • Disagree: Old Prude
    • LOL: Wally
  2. Cowboy says:

    Holy shit! Is it possible that undead libtards are capable of recognizing the miasma of their own making? I figured the probabilities of monkeys reading was far more likely than a libtard coming to knowledge.

    • LOL: Bro43rd
  3. botazefa says:

    It is significant because it is part of a decline in media reporting everywhere, but particularly in the US. Trump is both a symptom and cause of this decline

    This sounds true, but it falls apart under scrutiny. The decline of journalism and reporting is the direct result of the Second Industrial Revolution. Better known as the Internet. There is little direct reporting because there are relatively few trained and paid full time journalists/reporters remaining. What we have now is basically social science graduates skimming social media for stories that they then ‘report’ on. ‘Whatever news FANG is Fit to Print’ should be their motto.

    This terrible loss of on-the-ground reporting has been evident in Texas during our recent cold weather disaster. 40% of the City of Austin was without power for 72 hours. For the first 48 hours the local media (owned by non-local conglomerates) were reporting on rolling blackouts but had no idea people were freezing in their homes and without power. The majority of Austin then had 48+ hours without water and the media still missed the story. Why? ERCOT and City of Austin Water weren’t being transparent and their Twitter feeds were obfuscating. Apparently there weren’t enough local journalists to both present AND find the stories. Even local radio was flat footed. That the local media didn’t even have water or power themselves wasn’t apparently enough breadcrumbs toward the truth for the majority of these empty suits.

    None of this failure is due to Trump. The plutocratic oligarchy has decided we don’t need a robust impartial Press. Woke ideology has decided that the identity of leadership outweighs the need for competent leaders. Public and Private Education is more interested in stopping the hate than literacy and numeracy. Our foreign policy exists entirely as a police force for private interest (oil), paid for by the citizen taxpayer. Our Police are demonized as sacrificial lambs.

    No, Jan 6 was not an insurrection. A beaten people who can’t organize and face being fired for crimethink can’t overthrow their sociopathic leadership. And they know it.

    Now, predictably, some dimwit will retort that it’s all the Jews’ fault. Or the fault of Blacks. meanwhile, the plutocrats laugh at the American people, woke fools and hate-filled right wingers, alike.

    • Agree: Bardon Kaldian
    • Replies: @Spanky
  4. Anyone who truly believes that a disorganized group of what were more tourists than protestors being intentionally allowed to enter by Capitol police constitutes a “riot”, let alone an “insurrection”, has to be the most pusillanimous and stupid screeching wuss in the history of the world.

    As for the Capitol itself, it would be a fine thing if any mob of any political persuasion were to storm and trash it. That needs to happen more often.

    The only exception, of course, is the daily rioting of corporate lobbyists and their Congresswhores. These are the only true looters and vandals in the Capitol.

    • Agree: botazefa, Old Prude
    • Thanks: Bill Jones
  5. jsinton says:
    @Supply and Demand

    Failed reading comprehension. Did you read the article?

    • Thanks: Radicalcenter
  6. botazefa says:
    @Supply and Demand

    I can only pray (and donate to PACs, of course) that 2022 is a landslide victory for the Dems so they can begin the long road to unreasoning these violent, Anti-Democracy extremists.

    Have you any concern about the summer riots? Have you spent any time on bitchute trying to ID BLM/antifa violent rioters?

  7. @botazefa

    Come on man,we don’t let the facts get in the way of the truth…
    It’s an armed insurrection,that’s why we need walls that don’t work.
    It’s a huge blue wave,not a stolen election.We’ll unite these
    deplorable,racist,unequal,uneducated,red-necks with another 2 TRILLION$
    of tax payer funded debt if you’ll allow us to adjust the SCOTUS,
    add a few more states,increase immigration and lockdown the threats…
    Follow the science, we pay for,with your money.We’ve got the power???

    • Thanks: botazefa
  8. “The invasion of the Capitol on 6 January now stands alongside 9/11 as an act of war against American democracy.”

    If you’re going to dip into your Ludicrous Bin, why not say Jan. 6 will “Live in Infamy” alongside the Fall of the Roman Empire, the Hundred Years War, The War Between the States, WW I, WW II, Hiroshima, Chernobyl, the Vietnam War, Iraq Wars I & II, the invasion and destruction of Libya, 20 years in Afghanistan? Why not compare it to the nova of the Sun 4 billion years from now that will consume the solar system?

    Idiot!

    • LOL: Thomasina, Old Prude
    • Replies: @Resartus
    , @Verymuchalive
  9. @botazefa

    absolutely not, why would I?

    • Troll: tgordon
    • Replies: @botazefa
  10. Resartus says:
    @Harryfreeloader

    why not say Jan. 6 will “Live in Infamy”

    Personally, believe, every 4 years, xx Jan (when they count the Electoral College)
    should be celebrated the same as “Guy Fawkes Day” in the UK…..

  11. Dan Hayes says:

    Bravo!
    For once Patrick emulated his late brother Alexander in reporting unpleasant facts. In this instance about what actually occurred in the purported DC insurrection!

  12. The three hour protest in the Capitol building was a powerful, photogenic event. As a public demonstration, it succeeded spectacularly. The entire world was on notice the Americans were angry at a blatantly stolen election.

    As an ‘insurrection’ it was a nothing-burger. It did not hold up the work of the elected officials, who carried on the certification of Biden that same evening.

    The next day dawned quiet over the mall, the protestors long departed from Washington DC for home, family and employment.

    Against this peaceful backdrop, ‘someone’ was meeting to plot the crazed response that would send federal agents across the country to make arrests, and place national guardsmen around the Capitol.

    Who was driving this process? Who was out of their mind with insane rage, and had the power to engineer this crackdown after the fact? Inquiring minds want to know.

    • Replies: @animalogic
    , @Patricus
  13. @Beavertales

    “Who was driving this process? Who was out of their mind with insane rage, and had the power to engineer this crackdown after the fact? Inquiring minds want to know.”
    I know, I know! It was Satan! Or the msm-democrats-establishment-deep state…. Like I said, Satan…..

    • Replies: @beavertales
  14. @animalogic

    Who are the significant names driving the prosecution of the Capitol protestors?

    Michael Sherwin, (January 7): “We’ve got, literally, hundreds of people [working] to determine who exactly breached, and what they did, and they will be brought to justice,” (interim US attorney for the District of Columbia Michael Sherwin) said at a news conference the day after the attack.”

    FBI D.C. field office director Steven D’Antuono: ” “The FBI is quite familiar with large-scale, complex investigations …we are up to the challenge,”

    Nancy Pelosi: “This morning (January 9), I spoke to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley to discuss available precautions for preventing an unstable president from initiating military hostilities or accessing the launch codes and ordering a nuclear strike,” Pelosi wrote in a letter to her Democratic Party colleagues in the House of Representatives.

    Pelosi may or may not have tried to co-opt the US Marines, going behind the POTUS’ back.

    This was happening before Trump left office, and implies an usurpation of power. Anyone involved with this post-Capitol protest investigation should be told not to destroy or conceal briefing notes or emails which could become evidence at some later date.

  15. Oh please…this was clearly choreographed. Those that went in didn’t ‘get it’ that this was waaay too easy and, that was ‘on them. Seemingly at least one of the bunch would have thought…‘wait a minute…I think we’re being punked here’.

    Since 9-11, at least, this place has been subtly hardened and protected in a way that can be viciously unleashed in a heartbeat. The fact that they smiled and opened the gates and let everyone in happened for one reason, it’s what they wanted. Their feigned ‘outrage’ is manufactured and disingenuous.

    • Agree: Spanky
  16. tgordon says:
    @Supply and Demand

    “Trump and his fascistic followers…”

    Mr. Cockburn and the commenter to which I am replying are clearly partisans with no regard for anything beyond a controlled and co-opted consensus which parrots the narrowest of unhinged and malicious interpretations of events. None dare call it Propaganda.

    Goodness gracious….goodness gracious…
    That’s all I got

  17. Resartus says:

    Makes you wonder what investigation “Bank of American” was Under/Facing,
    since they fell right in line and Doxxed their own customers…..

  18. botazefa says:
    @Supply and Demand

    Why would you care to compare and contrast Jan 6 with the 2020 summer riots?

    https://nypost.com/2021/02/21/there-shouldnt-be-a-double-standard-for-law-order-devine/

    Maybe you could at least admit that the MSM reaction to both the Jan 6 and Summer riots is entirely political; that your commentary is intentional partisan propaganda.

  19. It does not matter what happened; it only matters what people believe, and since the majority of Trump supports are deplorable, the only credible sources are Nancy Pelosi and BLM. (Stands for Burn, Loot and Murder)

    Yea, verily, we are doomed.

  20. Spanky says:
    @Supply and Demand

    I have spent every day during my office hours the past month scouring bit-chute, various livestreams and trying to assist in IDing the Capitol protestors in an effort to see them removed from public life. — Supply and Demand

    An interesting admission…

    Are you stiffing your employer by wasting time? Or does this activity fall within the scope of your employment?

    • Replies: @tgordon
    , @Grahamsno(G64)
  21. Spanky says:
    @botazefa

    Public and Private Education is more interested in stopping the hate than literacy and numeracy. — botazefa

    Public and Private Education is more interested in creating racial hatred than literacy and numeracy.

    FIFY

    https://www.zerohedge.com/political/morally-grotesque-whistleblower-smith-college-resigns-over-reverse-racism

    • Replies: @botazefa
  22. tgordon says:
    @Spanky

    My initial reaction to S&D’s plastic comments was “This one’s on the clock.” A paid agitprop agitator whose stock and trade is psyoptic bullshit. Basically a robot and a waste of time. I can’t help but to wonder if these creatures are true believers or simple mercenaries.

  23. Hans says:

    This was awful but one of his better efforts.

  24. LEM says:

    So our elected officials are corrupt and no longer work for the American people. But it’s wrong for the American people to try to get rid of the corrupt officials so their government to work for them again?

    • Agree: Old Prude
  25. Patricus says:
    @Beavertales

    It wasn’t even a riot. There are thousands of videos from the Capitol and freely available all over the internet. Try to find violent incidents. “Insurrection” is laughable. I happened to be there although not inside the building. We were not even aware that people were entering the building. There was certainly no violent incursion. That would have produced some noise or at least yelling and screaming. Those who talk about murderous sedition are clueless if not thoroughly dishonest.

  26. @Harryfreeloader

    You forgot to mention Pearl Harbor, although in that case FDR and the Deep State engineered the deaths of thousands of Americans. I’m surprised they didn’t shoot more unarmed female “insurrectionists” on January 6th. I think the “insurrectionists” were much better behaved than the Deep State operatives hoped.

  27. @Spanky

    He’s a self confessed Chinese Spy who claims that he got his current gig in China spying for them, that is his confession, handle him with great care and also he claims to be a white man, I’m not buying it more likely a passport American who committed research/industrial espionage and ran away to home country before getting caught like the tribe he despises does it.

  28. hillaire says:

    I always have a good laugh at this mendicants articles, I sit myself down in my old leather armchair that looks out to the woodland, pour a good measure of single malt whiskey ..

    and by the time I’ve worked through his ranting discognant scrawl the tears of laughter are just streaming down my cheeks…

    it’s an excellent giggle the guardian and its scribblers some of the most comically unhinged..
    Great Fun.

  29. botazefa says:
    @Spanky

    Public and Private Education is more interested in creating racial hatred than literacy and numeracy.

    Partially agree. Campaigns in school operating under the theme of ‘stopping hate’ will lay out their ‘curriculum’ around identifying race while simultaneously denying that race exists.

    I don’t think it is the intent of educators to create racial hatred, even if that outcome is obvious and predictable to many of us.

    • Replies: @Bill Jones
  30. @botazefa

    I don’t think it is the intent of educators to create racial hatred

    Really?

    How stunningly naive.

    • Disagree: botazefa
    • Replies: @Flying Dutchman
  31. After a lot of inflammatory language designed to reinforce the false narrative of “muh terroristic, insurectionary invasion of muh sacred temples of democracy by riotous coup-plotting bombers,” Cockburn grudgingly admits that the hegemonic narrative of the peaceful protests in DC on January 6th was a tissue of lies from start to finish. Gotta give him a little bit of credit for that, especially his open admission that the NYT deliberately lied about the Sickwick fire extinguisher canard, and that the zip ties thing was systematically mischaracterized.

    But this?

    ITV News’s Washington correspondent, was the only television correspondent to make his way into the Capitol in the middle of the turmoil.

    Fact check: FALSE

    Jade Sacker, a CNN narrative promoter, was an integral part of the terroristic, riotous, coup-like invasion of muh sacred temples of democracy… as documented on video by her coworker, CNN contractor John Sullivan, and posted by what should be an unimpeachable source to a shitlib like Cockburn — leftist jew Max Blumenthal:

    Note the screenshot of the two of them colluding with yet another CNN narrative promoter (Anderson Cooper) later that day:

    So CNN’s involvement in the so-called “riotous storming of the temples” was part of a “documentary project?” Who’s backing this “project?”

    None other than Bryan “Jewtopia” Fogel. Oy vey!

    Sacker is early life positive as well — note her reference to the long-discredited “pogroms” trope.

    The [now-deleted] “My work is intended to create evidence…” phrase is interesting as well.

  32. @Bill Jones

    “How stunningly naive.”

    The educators themselves tend to be myopic, instrumental and stupid in general, so it’s probable they think what they’re doing will help race relations.

    Of course those in charge of funding these educational institutions know the real goal is the opposite.

    • Thanks: botazefa
  33. @James Forrestal

    “The [now-deleted] “My work is intended to create evidence…” phrase is interesting as well.”

    Yes, quite the truth-telling slip.

    If it came from a better-known cadre that could become a classic like Mayor Daley’s 1968 “the policeman is there to create disorder.”

  34. Old Prude says:
    @Supply and Demand

    To the extent that “Democracy” now means leaving swamp-creatures and tax-eaters alone to suck the country dry, then, yes, these were anti-Democracy protesters. God bless them. What is taking Iran so long with their bomb?

  35. @James Forrestal

    Jade Sacker, a CNN narrative promoter, was an integral part of the terroristic, riotous, coup-like invasion of muh sacred temples of democracy… as documented on video by her coworker, CNN contractor John Sullivan

    Despite her direct involvement in the blasphemous, insurrectionary, terroristic invasion of the sacred temples etc., Sacker somehow escaped arrest for her demonic crimes — apparently due to her connections to the narrative promotion industry. Sullivan, who repeatedly engaged in (unsuccessful) attempts to incite the peaceful protesters to acts of violence, was briefly detained, but released on his own recognizance within an hour or two — despite being wanted for his previous involvement in organizing multiple gang assaults and the shooting of an innocent bystander at a BLM/ antifa riot in Provo, Utah in July 2020.

    Meanwhile, this man is being held without bail for [apparently far more serious] charges of “insurrectionarily sitting in a terroristic fashion,” “conspiracy to sit,” “violating the civil rights of a chair,” “interstate transport of an controlled sitting implement”… and blasphemy, of course.

    Oh, I almost forgot — Barnett has also been charged with the horrific, nearly unimaginable crime of (as kritarch Beryl Howell put it) “strutting into the office of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.” As Howell was quick to point out, that last one is a particularly grave offense that is specifically forbidden by the US Constitution — and the constitutions of almost all democratic republics — “lèse-majesté”.

    No word yet on when this man, who confessed on national television to exactly the same crime — insurrectionarily invading the sacred temple and riotously reposing in one of its holiest chairs — is due to be imprisoned for his grievous act of terroristic sedition…

  36. Wally says:
    @Supply and Demand

    TDS Cockburn said:

    “Trump is both a symptom and cause of this decline since he is a past master of saying and doing things, however untruthful or absurd, which are usually entertaining and always attention-grabbing.”

    No examples given of course.

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