Storming the Capitol

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Storming the Capitol
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This top story is from our daily newsletter which was published on January 8, 2021. To have this and more delivered directly to your inbox scroll down and enter your email or click here to sign up.

Top story from the Wall Street Journal: “Just after 2 p.m. Wednesday, senators were in their chamber debating an objection to President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College win. One floor below, a mob of President Trump’s supporters, who had been amassing outside since the morning, smashed glass and pushed their way past police to gain entry to the Capitol.” The mob seized the presiding officer’s chair in the Senate, the offices of the House speaker, and the Senate dais. Ultimately, President Trump released a video on Twitter in which he urged his supporters to “go home.” He said, “we have to have peace. We have to have law and order, we have to respect our great people in law and order,” adding later: “These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long.” Twitter, Facebook, Snap, and Google’s YouTube began taking steps on Wednesday to limit Trump’s posts on their platforms. Ultimately, Facebook and Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, blocked President Donald Trump’s accounts “indefinitely and for at least the next two weeks until the peaceful transition of power is complete,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Thursday. Four people died during the protests, including a 14-year Air Force Veteran. D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) extended the public emergency she declared on Wednesday for the next 15 days. Yesterday, after Congress certified Biden’s election victory in an overnight vote shortly before 4 a.m., President Trump promised an “orderly transition” to a Joe Biden presidency. Top Senate Democrat, Chuck Schumer, called for President Trump to be immediately removed from office, joining a growing number of lawmakers pressing for the president’s ouster after the remarkable day. The situation is still unfolding, but here is what both sides are saying about the events that transpired on Wednesday: 

On the Left: As expected, there was unanimous condemnation of the events from Democrats and left-leaning outlets. The New York Times Editorial Board said, “Trump Is to Blame for Capitol Attack” adding, “There must be consequences.” The Washington Post’s Editorial Team led with something similar saying: “Trump caused the assault on the Capitol. He must be removed.” They believe, “The president is unfit to remain in office for the next 14 days.” In an opinion piece for USA Today, Noah Bookbinder wrote, “Trump is an enemy of democracy and his Capitol enablers are co-conspirators. Scott Martelle, an editorial writer for the Los Angeles Times titled his take: “A Trump mob stormed the Capitol. Now what, America?” He then asked the same questions that were being repeated on CNN and MSNBC: “Why were the people responsible for securing the Capitol building overwhelmed and overrun? What efforts are being made to identify and charge the Trump ‘patriots’ who attacked police, broke into and vandalized the Capitol and attempted to stop Congress from carrying out the people’s business? Should Vice President Mike Pence and the Cabinet invoke the 25th Amendment and remove Trump from office before Jan. 20? As mentioned, Schumer did call for Trump’s immediate removal from office and compared the events to the attack on Pearl Harbor, saying Jan. 6, 2021 will “live forever in infamy.” Keep reading from Amy Sorkin of the New Yorker: Rioters Are Gone, But Republicans’ Crisis Has Only Begun.

On the Right: There was a near total condemnation of the protests on the right as well. If anything, outlets like Newsmax shared articles that gained a lot of traction in which they said the “Media have hypocritical double standards on Trump vs BLM protests.” Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called it an insurrection. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said “Enough is enough” regarding election fraud allegations. Conservative podcast host, Ben Shapiro titled yesterday’s show: “The Worst Day In Modern American Political History.” The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board labeled the day a “disgrace”. They described the events that unfolded in DC saying they “sound like a dispatch from some foreign correspondent in an unfortunate land. Instead, it was President Trump’s parting gift to Washington, and the country, for denying him a second term.” The board says, “Mr. Trump’s refusal to accept his loss, and the false hope he gives to his supporters, is validating the worst things his critics have said about him.” On his show Wednesday night Tucker Carlson of Fox News also condemned the violence but asked his audience to zoom out. He said, “Millions of Americans sincerely believe the last election was fake. You can dismiss them as crazy. You can call them conspiracy theorists. You can kick them off Twitter. But that won’t change their minds. He said, “in order to fix” what happened we really need to “pause and learn.” Lastly, the Washington Examiner noted that “Republican lawmakers such as Reps. Matt Gaetz and Mo Brooks blamed undercover antifa supporters for the violence.” Keep reading from the Dailywire’s Matt Walsh: Democrats And Media Want Us To Forget They Encouraged Rioting For Months. We Shouldn’t. 

Flag This: Just 2% of people who voted for Joe Biden – and an equally small percentage of Trump voters – say those who voted for the opposing candidate understand them “very well,” according to Pew Research Center’s November post-election survey. Why is that? According to legal scholar and behavioral economist, Cass Sunstein the internet is largely to blame. In his book titled, “#Republic: Divided Democracy in the Age of Social Media,” he says, “As the Internet grows more sophisticated, it is creating new threats to democracy. Social media companies such as Facebook can sort us ever more efficiently into groups of the like-minded, creating echo chambers that amplify our views. It’s no accident that on some occasions, people of different political views cannot even understand each other. It’s also no surprise that terrorist groups have been able to exploit social media to deadly effect.” When the word “terrorist” is used it evokes images of jihadists in the back of a Toyota truck waving ISIS flags in the middle of Syria. These minds have obviously been corrupted but the extremism is also closer to home than we think. The vandalism and looting following the death of George Floyd will result in at least $1 billion to $2 billion of paid insurance claims, the most in history, according to Axios. The mob that stormed the capitol Wednesday made a mockery of the United States on the world stage. Chinese media called the Capitol chaos a “beautiful sight.” Echo chambers lead to “confirmation bias” which is “the natural human tendency to seek, interpret, and remember new information in accordance with preexisting beliefs.” A combination of echo chambers and confirmation bias breeds hypocrisy on both sides. On November 7, 2018 Turning Point USA Founder Charlie Kirk said: “Hey liberals, do you notice that when conservatives lose races we don’t riot, scream, smash windows, burn cars, assault people, or need days off of work? It’s amazing how mature and civil conservatives are. Please remember this and take notes when we get Trump re-elected in 2020.” On the complete other end of the spectrum, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said on December 2, 2020: “The whole point of protesting is to make ppl uncomfortable. Activists take that discomfort w/ the status quo & advocate for concrete policy changes. Popular support often starts small & grows. To folks who complain protest demands make others uncomfortable… that’s the point.” Where were both of these thoughts posted? Twitter. How do we combat confirmation bias? Science journalist David McRaney says we should “seek disconfirmation, a term for information that actively contradicts preconceived opinions.” Disconfirmation is the ENTIRE point of this newsletter: exposure to “every view represented by the red, white, and blue.” We’ll keep doing our best to highlight arguments from both sides of the aisle.