The day after the siege of the US Capitol: what the media is saying

·4-min read
Workers clean damage near an overrun Capitol Police checkpoint a day after a pro-Trump mob broke into the US Capitol January 7, 2021, in Washington, DC.

On Wednesday, January 6, viewers around the world were glued to their screens as the US Capitol in Washington DC was stormed by MAGA Trump supporters. After their evacuation, proceedings eventually resumed, with Biden's win certified and Trump stating that transition would be orderly, though continuing to disagree with the outcome of the election. While some of the dust has settled, it's clear that the dramatic events of the day will have a long-term impact on America's identity and role, at home and around the world. A look at some of the analysis the day after.

As the rioters took selfies of themselves inside the US Capitol buildings with various statues and historic elements and media photographers covered the surreal events, many viewers got their first glimpse of the inside of these iconic places. Curbed takes us through a visual mapping of the sites in " Visualizing a Riot: Where Today's Attacks on the Capitol Played Out: How the insurrection moved toward, into, and through the building ," with a helpful aerial image complete with numbers of the progression and corresponding images that detail the route they took. Over the portico, up the Senate staircase, inside the House chamber and finally inside Nancy Pelosi's office, the publication's selection of snaps show the chaos in this normally staid environment associated with dignified proceedings and history.

Although it may have been the first time many of us were seeing inside these hallowed buildings, the world has been a longtime spectator of "the awesome power of the American empire [and] its leaders" in Hollywood movies and TV series, which makes the events of Wednesday "not simply pathetic but important" for Tom McTague writing for The Atlantic from London."...[T]he sheen has come off," he writes in " Donald Trump's Unexceptional America. " "America no longer feels as special. The austere marble at the heart of imperial democracy is sprayed with graffiti. The institutions don't look as secure, nor does the stability of the system.
"Oddly, the weirdness of the moment normalizes America. It is becoming just another country, richer and more powerful than the rest, but less so than it was."
It's a reflective opinion piece that presents a stark contrast between how the US has been viewed in the past and what we witnessed on Wednesday, and how this dulling will be Trump's legacy.

But what happened on Wednesday has its roots in a movement that started well before Trump, Cas Mudde outlines in the Guardian, and it also goes well beyond the United States. In " What happened in Washington DC is happening around the world," Mudde draws parallels with far-right uprisings in Europe and details how these movements take hold of the discourse as well as the role of the media in their amplification. "In the past decades rightwing politicians and pundits have opportunistically pandered to the far-right electorate by defining them as 'the real people' and declaring this loud minority to be an allegedly victimized silent majority. While this is again a much broader process, it has played out very strongly in the US, where it was amplified by a booming "conservative" media network..." Mudde outlines before calling for "liberal democratic journalists, politicians, and pundits finally see the far right for what it is: a threat to liberal democracy."

In another opinion piece, this time in the New Yorker, Masha Gessen muses on "why the Capitol Police failed to prepare appropriately or to respond forcefully" and the nature of fear of the Other, those who are inside and those who are outside. In " The Capitol Invaders Enjoyed the Privilege of Not Being Taken Seriously , " Gessen draws a powerful portrait of the differences between other protests and protestors at the Capitol in the past, often women and often minorities, and those of Wednesday: "the protesters of the past wanted to disrupt proceedings by appealing to members of Congress publicly and attracting media attention, in the hopes that Congress would do its job differently; the invaders wanted to prevent members of Congress from doing their jobs at all, and to destroy any part of the machinery of American democracy that they could get their hands on."