How It's Going

Hey now, hey now, don't dream it's over

Yesterday started out with Illinois Rep Mary Miller saying: "Hitler was right on one thing. He said, ‘Whoever has the youth has the future,’” and incredibly it only got worse from there. America has definitively entered the "How It's Going" phase, and I have to admit I don't have a lot of jokes about it.

What Happened?

As always with American political news, the clearest and least self-deluded coverage tends to be British. Robert Moore at iTV turned in the most harrowing and comprehensive seven minutes I have seen. If you'd prefer print, The Guardian's Julian Borger also covered it well. If you need an enormous amount of raw footage, here's a large and growing archive (click the "Capitol Hill Riots" link and then "Tree View"). 

One question I had all day was: has this ever happened before? According to this thread on Reddit's "AskHistorians," the answer is no, not at the federal level, although there are several comparable state-level events. 

Who Could Have Predicted This?

Charlie Warzel:

As a reluctant chronicler of our poisoned information ecosystem, to me none of this is very surprising. It is the culmination of more than five years of hatred, trolling, violent harassment and conspiracy theorizing that has moved from the internet’s underbelly to the White House and back again.

Arieh Kovler, in Israel, who tweeted this on December 21st:

This guy wearing a "MAGA CIVIL WAR, January 6, 2021" t-shirt:

Jane Lytvynenko and Molly Hensley-Clancy, who chronicled the weeks of open online planning that preceded this attack. The online planning continues right now, by the way, in case you think it's over. 

What Did the Platforms Do?

Ryan Mac reports on the internal discussions at Facebook, which managed to craft a response for its advertisers long before eventually deciding that instigating a coup constituted "two policy violations" and locking Trump’s account for 24 hours. This morning Mark Zuckerberg announced Facebook is now locking the accounts "indefinitely." Twitter locked Trump's account for 12 hours after he removes three tweets that were finally too coup-y even for Jack, and threatened a permanent ban if he refuses to namasté. As of press time Trump hasn't tweeted since yesterday.

And Twitch did... whatever this was:

What Are We Calling It?

When they were milling around on the Mall it was safe to call them "protesters," but when they started breaking windows and flooding into the Capitol, a lot of live news operations had to shift language very quickly. The Washington Post decided on "mob" by midafternooon, CBS News went with a broader, more whimsical palette that included "protesters" and "mob," optionally modified by the synonyms "violent" and "pro-Tump," but not "coup" or "insurrection.". CNN went with good old "domestic terrorism," using a favorite news-jargon adjectival synonym for "white."

By this morning, all the newspapers had more or less converged on the noun phrase being "Trump-Incited Mob" which had done the verb "Storm" to the object "Capitol."

Thanks a whole lot to Ben Smith and Max Tani for giving me a tiny dumb #newsbiz detail to cling to when I felt like I was losing my mind yesterday.

Was There Anything Funny At All?

Yes, just one thing:

So Now What?

I have two closing tabs and one word of advice for you.

Inauguration Day may still come on time, and the voters may see Joe Biden sworn in as president. But it won’t be because the system survived.

Then read this Medium post from November by Indi Samarajiva about living through the 2018 Sri Lankan coup:

The tragic thing which you do not understand — which you cannot understand — is that you’ve already lost. You cannot know exactly what — that’s the nature of chaos — but know this. You will lose more than you can bear.

My advice is: prepare yourself. This isn't over. Democracy didn't win yesterday. A mob interrupted the transfer of political power, made a lot of social media content, then went home with no consequences. After the mob voluntarily released the Capitol back to the legitimate government, over 50% of the Republican House delegation voted in support of their goals. Trump still occupies the White House. The House and Senate have adjourned until after the inauguration. This isn't over.

Take care of yourselves everyone.

Today’s Song: Guns ‘N Roses, “Civil War”

It feels pretty crass today but subscribe or share this with someone if you got anything out of it. I tweet as a brand @TodayinTabs and as a person @fka_tabs. See you Monday.

Join the conversation

or to participate.