TV News Scrambles to Cover Insurrection at U.S. Capitol in Surreal National Moment

The scenes presented on Wednesday’s TV schedule looked like something out of a Hollywood movie: insurrectionists and insurgents surrounding the U.S. Capitol building in an effort to countermand an effort to certify the results of the recent presidential election.

But the pictures weren’t showing up on networks like HBO or FX, which regularly present movies and high drama. The shocking sights were instead being transmitted by the nation’s TV news outlets.

In a surreal moment, the big broadcast networks broke into regularly scheduled programming to relay a shocking scene of supporters of President Trump clashing with police at the U.S. Capitol, with a smaller group of people able to breach the doors and get inside the facility, a center of national politics. Cable-news outlets, already primed to cover what was expected to be a protest by Republican lawmakers during the certification process, found themselves pivoting to something much more concerning.

“This is violence that has been inspired by President Trump, by President Trump’s supporters,” said Jake Tapper on CNN, speaking over a scene of people climbing over part of a door to gain entry to the Capitol complex. “It is a disgraceful moment in American history.”

Several news outlets moved from using the word “protest” to describe the scene to relying on darker terms. CNN in one of its bottom of the screen chyrons labeled the movement an “insurrection” and its participants a “pro-Trump mob.” Quoting Vice President Mike Pence, Fox News labeled the action an “attack.” CBS News and NBC News continued to refer to the crowd as “protesters.”

More to come…


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