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Author: TheConversation

Criminal Sedition at the Capitol: How news sources frame unrest in realtime and influence public opinion

By Danielle K. Kilgo, John and Elizabeth Bates Cowles Professor of Journalism, Diversity, and Equality, University of Minnesota The chaos at the U.S. Capitol on January 6 was not typical. Nor was the coverage. Footage carried live by cable news and clips and photos shared across social media were jolting. One image showed a man who had broken into the building sitting in a chair, foot on desk, in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office. A video clip showed a crowd chasing a police officer as he retreated up the stairs. As a researcher of media and social movements, I...

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White Victimhood: What weeds will continue to grow from the ground Trump fertilized?

By Lee Bebout, Professor of English, Arizona State University Despite failed lawsuits, recounts and formal confirmation that President-elect Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election, President Donald Trump and his supporters continue to maintain that the election was rigged and that he and the American people are victims of massive voter fraud. This politicization of victimhood is nothing new to the Trump presidency. It was there from the beginning. When Trump descended the escalator in Trump Tower to announce his presidential campaign in 2015, he stoked fears of Mexican rapists and drug traffickers attacking U.S. citizens. The claims of...

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Extreme Anti-Semitism: The shocking symbols that Trump’s disciples used to celebrate their hate

By Jonathan D. Sarna, University Professor and Joseph H. & Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History, Brandeis University One of the many horrifying images from the January 6 rampage on the U.S. Capitol shows a long-haired, long-bearded man wearing a black “Camp Auschwitz” T-shirt emblazoned with a skull and crossbones, and under it the phrase “work brings freedom” – an English translation of the Auschwitz concentration camp motto: “Arbeit macht frei.” Another image, more subtle but no less incendiary, is of a different man whose T-shirt was emblazoned with the inscription “6MWE” above yellow symbols of Italian...

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Ku Klux Coup: America’s culture of White mob violence

By Alex Newhouse, Research Lead, Center on Terrorism, Extremism, and Counterterrorism, Middlebury Institute of International Studies The attack on the U.S. Capitol building on January 6 was shocking, but no one following right-wing activity on social media should have been surprised. The attempt by President Donald Trump’s far-right supporters to violently stop Congress from certifying the Electoral College vote and formalizing Joe Biden’s election victory was consistent with their openly expressed hopes and plans. As a researcher of far-right extremism, I monitor right-wing social media communities. For weeks in advance, I watched as groups across the right-wing spectrum declared...

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Complicit or Incompetent: Capitol Police face fierce criticism over security breach by MAGA insurgents

By Tom Nolan, Associate Professor of Sociology, Emmanuel College When die-hard Trump supporters are able to storm the U.S. Capitol and forcefully occupy offices in the House and the Senate, questions over security are going to be asked. I am an academic criminologist who in an earlier life served as a senior policy adviser at the Department of Homeland Security. Moreover, as a 27-year veteran of the Boston Police Department, I have firsthand experience of major policing operations. Something clearly did not go to plan on January 6. The man in charge of policing that day, U.S. Capitol Police...

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Books of Color: Identifying entrenched racial stereotypes in children’s books

By Lindsay Pérez Huber, Associate Professor, College of Education , California State University, Long Beach Ten years ago, I sat down with my then 8-year-old daughter to read a book before bedtime. The book was sort of a modern-day “boy who cried wolf” story, only it was about a little girl named Lucy who had a bad habit of telling lies. In the story, Lucy borrowed her friend Paul’s bike and crashed it. Lucy lied to Paul, telling him “a bandit” jumped in her path and caused the crash. I saw the image and stopped reading. I was stunned....

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