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Special Column: A close look at the arguments in the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol violence

Thursday, Jan. 06, 2022

In this Special Column below, I look at the hypocrisy and double standards involving the one-day, Jan. 6 violence at the Congress, and the violence that last three months following the killing of George Floyd on May 25, 2020.

If you are interested, former Congressman Bill Lipinski and I discuss this very topic in our podcast, "Two Guys on Politics." Click here to listen to the podcast or subscribe on iTunes, Spotify and other podcasting services.

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Ray Hanania

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Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022

Special Column: Was the Jan. 6 Capitol Violence an "insurrection" or the exploitation of a constituional protest gone wrong?

  • There is way too much hypocrisy and double standards between how the Left and the news media are blaming Trump for inciting an "insurrection." Trump had some great ideas but his inflammatory rhetoric and his pettiness are empowering his critics.


  • How do you take the violence of 1,200 protestors (800 charged and 400 yet to be charged) and accuse all of the other 20,000 to 120,000 protestors as (who have a Constitutional Right to criticize the election, to express that criticism in a protest and to assert claims that the media asserts are false) as being guilty insurrectionists, too? Why just focus on the violence of Jan. 6, 2021 but ignore the real insurrection against police, the rule of law, and law enforcement taking place all across America?

By Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania

President Joe Biden gave a very effective, carefully worded and planned out speech on Thursday on the anniversary of the violent attacks that took place at the Congress on Jan 6, 2021 by supporters of the former President, Donald Trump.
But was the violence an "insurrection" or merely the result of America's polarized anger that boiled over among some of the protestors that is now being exploited by Trump foes like Democrat Biden and Republican Liz Cheney?
Trump has always been loose with his facts and words, worsened only by his inability to ignore petty scuffles with his critics. Trump clearly lost the election to Biden and just couldn't handle it.
But Trump also had every right to challenge the election results and to question the vote tallies in many states. The assertion by the biased mainstream news media that elections have never been stolen before is unheard of, except, of course, if you are using it to make a partisan political statement.
The media has been very biased against the former President, more so than against any other president. But again, Trump has made it easy for the news media to twist and distort his words. His shoot-from-the-hip style was ineffective, and it exposed him to media criticism. He was neither the great orator he claimed to be, nor the great politician that promised to be. Despite some good policies, he undermined himself with his angry and sometimes low-class rhetoric. But his engaging in the petty back-and-forth with the major mainstream news media was his undoing.

Fighting with the media is not how you beat the news media or advance your agenda. He had many alternative choices he could have made, but he chose instead to always pat himself on the back or make personal attacks against clearly biased journalists.
The president has enormous powers and he could have easily taken control of media coverage by giving exclusives to media that were fair, rather than constantly responding to the lies from programs at CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS or NBC News. All he did was put the spotlight on the news media and augment their voice.
President Biden, too, has failed to deliver on a key promise he made when he was elected, to bring the American people and the country back together. Instead, in his speech Thursday on the one-year anniversary of the Jan. 6 violence, he increased the divide and only made the polarization worse.
Was the January 6 violence part of an "insurrection?"
I don't believe so. I think the accusation is more about partisan hype and a continuation of the polarization that has so severely damaged our nation. I blame both sides, and I blame the news media the most.
The Jan. 6 violence at Congress lasted about 5-hour and it involved only a small portion of the pro-Trump protestors who rallied in an expression of their Constitutional rights to Free Speech.
The news media has called the protest an "insurrection" and the pejorative term was embraced by Trump's critics, not because it was factual but because it pandered to the critics' voter base. Trump has done a poor job responding to the assertion and his actions have only fed into the false narrative.
But here is what I see as being closer to the truth.
So far, about 800 protestors have been arrested and charged with committing violent crimes including physical assault and property damage. Another 400 protestors are also expected to be arrested and prosecuted for violence, according to Biden's Justice Department.
There is no doubt in my mind that anyone who engages in any form of violence should be charged and prosecuted ... in a court of law, not in the biased mainstream news media's court of manipulated public opinion. If suspects are found guilty, they should certainly pay the price for their crimes. Many, if not all of the 1,200 accused protestors deserve to be punished and jailed.
But, the January 6 Insurrection is being weaponized for political purposes, including as a factor to reenforce President Biden's shortcomings and his inability to achieve his many promises. So far, instead of bringing the nation together, he has crowbarred it further apart including in his speech Thursday.
Jan. 6 was a deadly assault, as President Biden described it. But to imply that all of the protestors were involved in an insurgency simply because they agreed with Trump's assertions that the election was stolen, is ridiculous on its face.
How many protestors were there? The number ranges from 20,000 to 120,000, the last number was the estimate attributed to the FBI and Secret Service, according to a Dec. 23 report by Newsweek.
To take the violence of 1,200 protestors and blame all of the protestors -- whether it was 120,000 or 20,000, is morally flawed and clearly a political manipulation of the truth.
How do you blame all 120,000 protestors -- or even 20,000 protestors -- for the violent actions of a fraction of those who were there? And yet, that is exactly what Biden, the mainstream news media and Liz Cheney, the daughter of one of America's most notorious liars, former Vice President Dick Cheney. (How many American lives were lost fighting a war in Iraq that didn't need to be fought?)
The protest was not an insurrection. It was a misguided protest in which some members crossed the line into violence.
Does that defense sound familiar? It should.
That is exactly the argument that the Far Left and the mainstream news media made when thousands of protestors across the country looted stores, destroyed businesses, assaulted police officers, and attacked innocent bystanders in the three month period following the killing of George Floyd on May 25, 2020.
The left, and many politicians like Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and many other activists defending the Black Lives Matters movement made when asked about the violence by some of the protestors.
That's the hypocrisy that bothers me the most and should bother you. Biden wants us to believe that 1,200 protestors who engaged in 5 hours of violence that took the lives of five people and injured dozens during the violence of the Capitol protests, is more important than the dozens of lives lost at the hands of the post-Floyd protestors in cities across America.
While we know almost precisely who the Jan. 6 perpetrators of the violence are, many of those who engaged in criminal behavior were brushed aside.
In fact, the post-Floyd protest violence was more of an "insurrection" against law and order and it fueled a specific demand by the movement that orchestrated the violence, to defund police and undermine the ability of police to arrest criminals who looted businesses, vandalized property, injured dozens of people and killed several anti-BLM civilians.
Congresswoman Maxine Waters openly urged protestors to "get more confrontational" if Police Officer Derek Chauvin had not been found guilty.
If the jury did not return a conviction, Waters said, "then we know that we got to not only stay in the street, but we have got to fight for justice."
Sounds a lot like the words Trump used that the Left and news media asserted was evidence of his role in orchestrating the "insurgency."
Kamala Harris, running for Vice President, said that BLM protestors "should not give up," adding "the protests are not going to stop," words similar to those used by Trump that the media cite as evidence of "insurrection."
The media did for Waters and Harris what they refused to do for Trump, defending their words saying they did not call for "violence" but denouncing Trump.
Well, read President Trump's speech to the protestors on Jan. 6, 2021 and you will see he did not urge violence either. In fact, here is what Trump did say:
"... we're going to walk down to the Capitol, and we're going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women, and we're probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them.

"Because you'll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength and you have to be strong. We have come to demand that Congress do the right thing and only count the electors who have been lawfully slated, lawfully slated.

"I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard."

Trump and his supporters had every right to declare that the election had been stolen. They had every right to question the vote results, especially in states controlled by Democrats.
I don't believe the election was stolen but the point is, the issue became a political argument to demonize Trump and his supporters.
Does the mainstream news media really want to be on record that votes have never been stolen? Or never been stolen just when Trump was the candidate?
I live in Chicago and I know votes have been fraudulent and elections have been stolen.
Trump can be a whiny baby and his personality flaws have empowered his critics. I do blame him for enflaming this debate and failing to make a cohesive and smart response devoid of petty emotions.
I am certainly not saying he should be re-elected, but I also question whether Biden has earned his re-election. His first year has been flawed, too. Promises to control Coronavirus have turned into empty political boasts.
The issue here should be one of principle ... if you go after the Jan. 6 protestors who engaged in violence so aggressively then the country, the media and the Democrats should have gone after the George Floyd protestors with the same vigor and determination.
The looters, the arsonists, the gangbangers, the killers and violent protestors who engaged in an "insurrection against policing and law and order" after the killing of George Floyd should have been charged and jailed, too. And their trials should be showcased as brightly as the news media is tar and feathering the Jan. 6 protestors.
We know how many people were arrested and charged and convicted in the Jan. 6 protest. No one knows how many violent BLM offenders were arrested and punished. The damage the post George Floyd protestors did to American society was political and was intended to undermine our police and law authority. It was, as I said, an insurrection against law and order.
The news media doesn't get to decide who is the winner or loser in an election. But the news media has stopped reporting the news and they are actively engaged in creating the news. The media reported on the George Floyd protests by downplaying the violence, allowing people to assert that the violence was a natural expression of "frustration." With Trump, the exaggerated his words, and exaggerated the protestor intent, using those who used violence to justify indicting the entire movement.
The news media and Biden did not indict the BLM protestors for the actions of those who actively engaged in violence.
Even if Biden wanted to bring polarized America back together, he can't because the mainstream news media, who are insurrections themselves, won't allow it. They thrive on the violence, violence they can embrace for political reasons in violation of journalistic ethics.
Don't be fooled by the media hyperbole or the double standards and hypocrisy of politicians like Nancy Pelosi or Lynn Cheney. Whatever they want to accuse Trump of doing, they are no different.


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