• The Disappearing “Insurrection”, And Disappearing Republican Reporters

    January 17, 2024

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    Strapped to a lie detector, many Americans – and a sizable chunk of President Joe Biden worshippers – might admit that the riot at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021 was not an insurrection. Most recently, even the Associated Press (AP), rarely friendly to once and future chief insurrectionist Donald Trump, has used other less inflammatory expressions in its news accounts.

    Here are a few January 2024 AP headlines mentioning “riot” rather than “insurrection”:

    Trump downplays Jan. 6 on the anniversary of the Capitol siege and calls jailed rioters ‘hostages’

    Former President Donald Trump campaigned in Iowa and spent time there marking the third anniversary of the Jan. 6, 2021 assault on the U.S. [sic Capitol building].

    To plead or not to plead? That is the question for hundreds of Capitol riot defendants

    Hundreds of people charged with storming the U.S. Capitol three years ago have had a powerful incentive to plead guilty rather than go to trial.

    On Jan. 6 many Republicans blamed Trump for the Capitol riot. Now they endorse his presidential bid

    Democracy scholars warn that political parties must accept the results of fair elections, reject violence and break ties to extremists. They say in the Trump era, Republicans have violated all three rules.

    Hundreds of convictions, but a major mystery is still unsolved 3 years after the Jan. 6 Capitol riot

    Three years after the Capitol attack, Washington’s federal courthouse is flooded with trials, guilty plea hearings and sentencings stemming from what is now the largest criminal investigation in American history.

    Proud Boys member who went on the run after conviction in the Jan. 6 riot gets 10 years in prison

    A member of the Proud Boys extremist group has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol.

    Headlines from December were similar. During the last couple of months, the widely reported “insurrection” has given way to a widely reported – and certainly more accurately reported -- “riot”.

    Chiefly for political reasons, the term “insurrection” will be bandied about in courts and among politicized prosecutors who hope see Trump frog-marched into jail, where he will no longer be able to torment neo-progressive Democrats. Prosecutors have not charged Trump with insurrection. Republicans are hoping that a clarifying Supreme Court decision will be handed down on the 14th Amendment’s use of the term “insurrection” months before bewildered voters march to the polls on November 2024.

    Not only have the insurrection hawkers changed their verbiage, reporters across the fruited plains have abandoned the Republican Party altogether, according to a recent survey of the former ink-stained wretches conducted by Syracuse University titled “The American Journalist Under Attack,” soon to be issued as a book. The Syracuse University study was based on an online survey of 1,600 U.S. journalists in various media organizations conducted from January to April 2022.

    An Executive summary extract of the survey tells us:

    More Journalists Say They Are Democrats

    “Compared with 2013, the percentage of full-time U.S. journalists who claim to be Democrats has increased 8 percentage points in 2022 to about 36 percent, a figure higher than the overall population percentage of 27 percent, according to a 2022 ABC News/Washington Post national poll. This is the third highest percentage of journalists saying they are Democrats since 1971. Journalists who said they were Republicans continued to drop from 18 percent in 2002 and 7.1 percent in 2013 to 3.4 percent in 2022. This figure is notably lower than the percentage of U.S. adults who identified with the Republican party (26 percent according to the poll mentioned earlier) in 2022. About half of all journalists (51.7 percent) said they were Independents, which is about 12 percentage points above the figure for all U.S. adults (40 percent). Overall, U.S. journalists today are much more likely to identify themselves as Independents rather than Democrats or Republicans—a pattern similar to 2013.”

    At some point, one hopes, some objective school of journalism will set itself the task of accounting for this stunning migration of reporters from one party to another. The more important open question is: Do party preferences among journalists indicate a political bias in news reporting?

    Surveying the survey, The Epoch Times noted, “According to an October Gallup poll, 39 percent of Americans did not trust the mass media, while 29 percent held very little trust. Only 32 percent reported having trust in the mass media.”

    To what extent, then, is the extensive mistrust of the media among the American public – nearly 70 percent -- related to the ingrained ideological preferences of reporters? And, assuming anyone is willing to correct the imbalance, how may the trust of the American people in its journalists be most quickly restored?

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    Don Pesci

    Don Pesci is a political columnist of long standing, about 40 years, who has written for various state newspapers, among them The Journal Inquirer, the Waterbury Republican American, the New London Day, the Litchfield County Times, the Torrington Register Citizen and other Register Citizen papers. He maintains a blog, among the oldest of its kind in Connecticut, which serves as a repository and archive, for his columns; there are approximately 3,000 entrees in Connecticut Commentary: Red Notes From A Blue State, virtually all of them political columns stretching back to 2004. He also appears once a week Wednesdays on 1080 WTIC Newstalk radio with Will Marotti.

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