How does one commemorate something that seems to be ongoing? How does one commemorate an evil and awful event that perhaps one-third of the country believes represents the American spirit at its finest? How does one solemnly remember an event without inviting more attention and danger to the very place attacked?
These are some of the questions that politicians and journalists are grappling with ahead of January 6th. Trump has already promised a January 6th press conference at Mar-a-Lago, one that has all but the most committed MAGAs terrified by what he might say and the reaction he could provoke. Such is life with cults and it makes it damned hard to determine the amount of appropriate coverage ahead of time.
Robert Costa of the Washington Post told the crew at Morning Joe to be prepared for a blizzard of lies coming out of Mar-a-Lago on January 6th.
I’ve carefully followed every interview Trump has given since he left office and every rally. Every single time he makes a public appearance, it is the same exact refrain. He gives the lie that the election was a lie and rigged, so you will almost certainly hear this again onJan. 6, 2022. The challenge for us in the media, for journalists, is to make sure there is context, as this lie is perpetuated by Trump.”
“Reporting is needed to not just press the former president on his claims, but to really make sure it is understood, that when he is out there, he is not correct. He’s not based in fact when he makes these types of claims.
Yes, of course. It is one of the few things as dependable as gravity. Trump will spend his time talking about how he “won” and the real scandal is the rigged election. The narcissistic injury Trump suffered in his loss leaves him unable to do anything but deny reality anytime there is a microphone near. Thus, the question as to whether to report what he says becomes a devil’s bargain. Report it and he gets an audience. Leave it ignored and it feeds Trump’s paranoid and conspiracy-driven base. “They are afraid to let him speak!”
Costa went on:
“How many times during the Trump presidency did people go, ‘Oh, today Trump is acting presidential? As a reporter, I follow action. What’s he really doing? Every day, even since he made that statement on the vaccine, he’s been making public declarations to subvert American democracy. This is his active day-to-day operation ahead of the 2022 and 2024 elections.
Trump’s speech probably should be covered. It likely will be Trump’s most over-the-top pronouncement yet. He is increasingly scared by the fact that his privilege claims are not holding and the Select Committee looks to be doing a bit “too good” of a job. Perhaps having an expert on hand to refute each lie as told would be one way to deal with covering the Mar-a-Lago speech. It is also possible that Trump might say something that acts as an admission that would hurt him in criminal proceedings down the road.
It is still difficult to determine how one will handle the anniversary, but covering January 6th likely should involve a mix of the proceedings happening at the Capitol, where one will see Democrats sadly remembering a day when democracy nearly died, and Republicans scurrying around trying to avoid cameras, embarrassed. All of it juxtaposed against the man responsible for the destruction, chaos, loss of life, and possible loss of faith in self-government, one man, it all centers around one dangerous and unstable man. The coverage should also focus on what has changed – how much more we know now and how much more we still need to know. One thing is sure, Trump continues to scream about it as if every day is January 6th, day by day, fully a year later.
Jason Miciak is a political writer, features writer, author, and attorney. He is originally from Canada but grew up in the Pacific Northwest as a dual Canadian-American citizen, which he grows increasingly thankful for every day. He now enjoys life as a single dad, writing from the beaches of the Gulf Coast, getting advice from his beloved daughter and teammate. He is very much the dreamy mystic that cannot add and loves dogs more than most people. He also likes studying cooking, theoretical physics, cosmology, and quantum mechanics. He likes pizza.
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