Americans divided on the news of January 6, poll finds

We are one America divided into two almost completely separate media worlds. This should be the starting point for discussions on the country’s political dynamics and media regimes.

This new investigation by one of my favorite groups, the Public Religion Research Institute, points out. “We asked who is to blame for the violence of January 6, now that some time has passed”, the group noted. “Most countries blame white supremacist groups, Donald Trump and the conservative media for spreading misinformation. Except Republicans. “

Republicans generally blame Antifa and other left-wing activists for January 6, despite all evidence to the contrary. “But no all Republicans, “said PRRI -” the media they consume matters. In this case, those who trust the information disseminated are much more like the rest of the country. Fox News and far-right Republicans are driving the trend. “

These same media consumers tend to believe (or pretend) that President Biden lost the election and that Trump won, an opinion that Trump constantly tries to reaffirm. Adherence to QAnon conspiratorial thinking is also a factor in this regard, as the new investigation show.
So right now we live in one America, two media worlds, with hardly any overlapping space. Like Robert P. Jones, CEO of PRRI, noted, the new findings are “worrying” for democracy.
One of the results is the ugly fence protecting the Capitol ahead of Saturday’s right-wing rally.

Trying to rewrite history

“In less than 48 hours in Washington, DC, there will be a rally of supporters of the former president who are now trying to rewrite the history of what happened on January 6,” CNN’s Anderson Cooper said Thursday. evening. “It is a rally of support for those who are currently being prosecuted for their role in the attack, and it seeks to portray many of those being prosecuted as political prisoners of some sort.”

Security agencies take the rally very seriously. The United States Capitol grounds are again surrounded by fencing and other precautionary measures. And “according to information obtained by CNN,” Cooper said, “the Department of Homeland Security warns of the potential for violence not only on the day of this rally but also the day before.” Saturday’s gatherings will likely be quite small. But a pro-riot rally near the original crime scene is objectively a big deal, which is why it’s so revealing that Fox didn’t mention it at all on Thursday. Not even once. This happened once on Wednesday night, when host Laura Ingraham suggested the gathering was irrelevant; then laughed at the security “hysteria; And said other media were “alarmist” about it.

Meanwhile, on One America News Wednesday night, one of the rally organizers said media attention is an explicit goal: Previous attempts to hold rallies supporting the Jan.6 “political prisoners” were “Largely ignored,” said Matt Braynard, “we have gone to the one place where the media in this country cannot ignore us.”

The editorial dilemma

Whatever happens on Saturday is likely to be on a small scale – nothing like the March for Life or the Women’s March or other social action magnets. Trump will not encourage people to attend. He “echoed messages from potential rally fans,” Politico’s Myah Ward Noted, while he also said in a maintenance with The Federalist that it is “a montage”.
Either way, the anti-democratic currents are real. The emotions of the GOP base are real. And “if the purpose of this weekend’s rally is to elevate a sympathetic view of rioters, it doesn’t matter if it fails. After all, that elevation is already happening in the attention-seeking right-wing media ecosystem. “, Philippe Bosse written for the Washington Post Thursday.
Earlier this week, Politico’s Olivia Beavers cited a GOP lawmaker from a safe red seat, speaking anonymously, conveying what he hears from voters: “The majority of the Republican base believes January 6 was justified. And because these people had no weapons , they should not be incarcerated at this time. ” The lawmaker added: “Every day I hear the word ‘civil war’ – every day.” It’s history.

“Soften the ground”

Let’s dig deeper into the PRRI data. Washington Post opinion columnist Greg Sargent noted “The big finding of the poll is that people who rely heavily on Fox News and other right-wing media are extremely likely to believe the election was stolen from Trump – and are much less likely to blame Trump for the insurgency. – than those who do not. “

Sargent argues that these views, taken together, “add to something really toxic: the” belief “that the election was stolen, and the simultaneous refusal to attribute responsibility for an effort to violently overthrow our constitutional order, suggest that right-wing propaganda may soften the ground for a more concerted abandonment of democracy in the future. ”

In the months following the attack on the Capitol, MAGA media sources spent relatively little time covering the aftermath: arrests, prosecutions, threats of further violence. Ingraham, the 10pm host on Fox News, is a perfect example of this: she sought to downplay the importance of the riot and alienate the rest of the Republican Party from its more extreme elements.

But the lack of media coverage of the fallout from the riots means there hasn’t been an honest calculation with what happened or who is responsible. The riot is not a story in the past, as much as the MAGA media might want it to be. “It remains excruciatingly real to the people who were there”, like this new NYT interview series proves it.
And the continuing threat to democracy is also a story in the present. Daniel Dale’s latest story for CNN illustrates that: “State swing by state swing,” Trump is trying “to ensure that the people who attempted to overturn the 2020 election are chosen to run the 2024 election.”

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