Opinion | This is how the news media should remember Jan. 6

The anniversary is a reminder of the media’s role in preserving democracy. FDR’s Jan. 6, 1941, State of the Union address still applies.

In this Jan. 6, 2021, file photo, rioters storm the Capitol in Washington. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

By Michael Bugeja

On Jan. 5, 2021, I published a Poynter opinion piece about a “coup without consequence,” warning media outlets about the 126 Republican Representatives who endorsed a lawsuit challenging the results of the 2020 election.

In the aftermath of insurrection the next day, that case was forgotten.

It was filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. He asserted that elections in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan and Wisconsin, which then President-elect Joe Biden won, were unconstitutional, alleging voting procedures were determined by non-legislative means.

The U.S. Supreme Court rejected the challenge.

Nevertheless, I wrote, there will be a final, futile attempt on Jan. 6, 2021, to assail the results in swing states, essentially resurrecting Paxton’s unsubstantiated claims.

I never envisioned the deadly assault on the Capitol. Few observers did apart from those who concocted it. 

Since then there have been dozens of articles and opinions addressing how we should remember Jan. 6, with most referencing the risk to democracy. Perhaps the most poignant reminder about such a threat occurred on that day more than 80 years ago when Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered a prescient State of the Union address to Congress.

For the rest of the column, visit: https://www.poynter.org/commentary/2023/this-is-how-the-news-media-should-remember-jan-6/

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