What exactly is an insurrection? With January 6 upon us, the word is being bandied about by the mainstream media like a barker selling cotton candy at the county fair.
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the definition of insurrection is as follows: an act or instance of revolting against civil authority or an established government.
Synonyms include rebellion, revolt, uprising, rioting and riot.
Left-leaning media outlets are having a field day stoking the flames of fear and selective history by producing hour after hour and page after page of material about the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol. CNN is featuring a special anniversary broadcast called “Live from the Capitol: January 6, One Year Later.” The show will feature interviews with a cadre of anti-Trump activists, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the House January 6 Committee chairman, Bennie Thompson. I doubt they will chat with Republican Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan.
The New York Times published an editorial declaring, “Every Day is Jan. 6 Now.” My response is simple, “No, it’s not.”
Time magazine, at one time a reasonably reliable news source, began their coverage of the anniversary with the following: “When a bipartisan House committee began investigating the January 6 insurrection its goal was simple: compile a detailed account of what happened, and make recommendations to ensure it never happens again.”
Of course, it’s not a truly bipartisan committee. Speaker Pelosi declined to seat the Republicans chosen by GOP leader Kevin McCarthy for the committee, instead selecting the Republican representatives herself. By an amazing coincidence, those particular Republicans loathe Donald Trump. That’s kind of like Magic Johnson telling the Celtics that Larry Bird and Kevin McHale wouldn’t be allowed to play, instead appointing a couple of teammates from the Lakers to pull on green uniforms and then pretending it was a fair game. The deck was stacked from the get-go. Time magazine’s assertion that, like the old TV show Dragnet, they wanted “just the facts” is either incredibly naive or totally disingenuous.
Never one to miss a political opportunity, President Joe Biden’s team is propping him up in front of a teleprompter telling us how bad the Trump January 6 insurrection was. Vice President Kamala Harris will make remarks as well.
Make no mistake. The riots at the Capitol building in January of 2021 were disgraceful. They were a black eye on our freedom and our American democratic process that, at one time, was a shining example for the world. There is no public evidence, however, thus far anyway, that the riot was a premeditated attempt to overthrow the government.
There are many emails and communique to and from the Trump family and Trump’s staff urging the President to speak up and tell the protesters to stand down and go home. The fact President Trump sat by and watched instead is a shameful embarrassment to him, but no evidence has been put forth that he or the very people that were begging him to speak out had a hand in some master plan.
So was it an “insurrection?” It depends on the media outlet.
A new mayor is taking office in New York City, a city plagued by a dramatic increase in violent crime since the anti-police policies of outgoing Mayor Bill de Blasio took effect. The new Mayor Eric Adams promises to bring back anti-crime units in the city and crack down on crime. His promise was met with something less than enthusiasm from Black Lives Matter (BLM) co-founder Hawk Newsome, who told the press corp, “If they think they are going back to the old ways of policing, then we’re going to take to the streets again.” Newsome then added a distinct threat. “There will be riots. There will be fire, and there will be bloodshed.”
Bloodshed? That sounds suspiciously like the definition of “insurrection,” yet you’ll never hear it called that. In fact, when BLM protesters lit police cars on fire, burned a police precinct building out, or burned down entire city blocks throughout 2020, it wasn’t called an insurrection. Instead, it was referred to as a “peaceful protest.”
When rioters in Portland, Oregon showed up night after night for more than 70 consecutive nights, attempting to burn down the Federal Courthouse and throwing Molotov cocktails at police and federal officers, it wasn’t called an insurrection.
In Seattle, Washington, when local malcontents told the city government they were creating their autonomous area, free from the city or state’s laws, it was the literal definition of insurrection. The mob blocked off streets and warned Seattle authorities to stay away. The progressive Seattle Mayor was initially supportive of the madness. Finally, he called for police to enter and end it when extreme violence erupted in the CHOP/CHAZ zone, including four shootings and several alleged sexual assaults.
I have no recollection of hearing the term insurrection mentioned once in Seattle or Portland. I don’t recall hearing it in reference to the destructive BLM riots, which caused $2 billion in insured property damage and two dozen deaths by credible estimates.
Why was the overzealous mob from January 6, 2021, tagged with the label? That’s simple because they were wearing MAGA hats and carrying Trump flags. Much like BLM rioters weren’t required to wear masks at the height of COVID-19 in 2020, but Trump rallies were labeled as super spreaders, the media coverage of riots differs according to the political agenda.
This might explain why Americans’ trust in media is at an all-time low. According to an Edelman poll, 56% of Americans agree with the statement that “Journalists and reporters are purposely trying to mislead people by saying things they know are false or gross exaggerations.”
The mainstream media will breathlessly report on the “domestic terrorists” of one year ago, and the January 6 committee will cobble together as much innuendo as they can to suggest it was a master plan to nullify the Presidential election and take over the United States.
The real facts are this: 2020 was a year of disgraceful, violent riots that disrespected authority and endangered lives repeatedly. 2021 began with something every bit as vile, albeit by a different segment of society. Our President appears to have sat and watched the January 6 madness unfold rather than immediately taking to the airwaves and encouraging participants to disperse and go home. That may not be criminal, but it is unforgivable.
There is a line in an old Batman movie where Bruce Wayne struggles to understand why The Joker is causing so much chaos. Alfred, Wayne’s butler, offers a nugget of wisdom and says that sadly, “Some men just like to watch it burn.”
I don’t believe for a minute that Trump spearheaded an organized effort to forcibly take over the U.S. government after losing the 2020 election. However, the evidence seems to show that much like the insane Joker, Trump enjoyed watching it burn. Let’s hope that sad historical truth doesn’t get lost in the media’s ridiculous January 6 hysteria.
• Tim Constantine is a columnist for The Washington Times and hosts “The Capitol Hill Show” podcast every week from Washington, D.C.