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College newspapers turn Capitol riot into Armageddon

Would it surprise you the manner in which college newspapers discussed the January 6 protest in Washington, DC?

Opinion on the Capitol attack ran the gamut: an all-out assault on liberty and freedom, to white supremacy run amok, to the end of all civilization as we know it.

Starting right in the nation’s capital, Hannah Thacker in George Washington University’s The Hatchet writes that the “only reason right-wing mobs got away [they got away with it?] with an insurrection” was because they were white. “I can only wonder how Jan. 6, 2021 would have unfolded if these rioters were Black,” she says.

Micaela Warren in Syracuse University’s The Daily Orange says President Trump “sat in the White House in silence,” during the attack because “he was the one to incite them.”

“It is undeniable that, over his presidency, Trump has drastically deepened the division in the United States,” Warren writes. After allegedly inciting the riots, Trump “merely” tweeted a message to “remain peaceful” and “respect the law.”

Warren’s colleague Cesar Gray writes that he “can’t call himself a Republican anymore” due to January 6. “I cannot be a ‘Republican’ in 2021 and simultaneously profess my enormous respect for the Constitution and love for the U.S.,” he says. Gray  adds that he has hope Joe Biden “will at least put in a real effort to keep [the] country safe” while the GOP gets its act together.

In The Emory Wheel, Ben Thomas wants Trump out of the White House — immediately: “As the one man most responsible for this heinous act, Trump must be suspended from office, impeached, convicted and prevented from ever holding public office again. He is simply too dangerous — and the precedent too important — to warrant anything less.”

Thomas claims “experts” believe Biden’s efforts to unify the country will “fall flat” due of “the extent to which Trump has polarized the nation, destroyed democratic institutions and compromised his own party.”

Evan Holden in James Madison University’s The Breeze claims the Capitol rioters were “under the influence of President Donald Trump’s manipulation and direct orders to incite violence.” Trump telling protesters to be peaceful isn’t enough for Holden — the president needed to tell them to “back down or go home.” And, in a selective bit of omission we’ve seen before, Holden says “By the time of [Trump’s] second tweet, one woman was already dead.” That woman was an unarmed protester who was killed by a Capitol Police officer.

MORE: College newspapers, students freak out over Trump election victory

An editorial in the University of Virginia’s The Cavalier Daily calls for all elected officials who “encouraged the Capitol insurrection” to be purged. The editors’ examples of “encouragement” include a gubernatorial candidate “defending the Second Amendment as the foundation of all protected freedoms,” and four state congressmen who objected to the Electoral College vote certification.

Over in the Ivy League, The Daily Princetonian’s Juan José López Haddad refers to January 6 as “one of the darkest days” in American history and says the “barbarous attack” on the Capitol was but “the grand culmination of the four years of rhetorical strategy that Republican leaders have learned and enabled from President Trump.”

The winners for most hyperbolic content may come from the editors of the University of Pennsylvania’s The Daily Pennsylvanian who write “Make no mistake: Donald Trump is to blame” for the “disgusting display of domestic terrorism” seen on that fateful Wednesday.

“Those witnessing [Trump’s] egregious behavior must speak up,” the editors write. They recall how the campus “watched with a mixture of horror and disbelief” when Trump assumed the presidency, the culmination of which ended with rioters “deluded by conspiracy theories and consumed with vitriol” which engaged in “disgraceful scenes all over the hallowed grounds of democracy.”

The DP’s Caroline Magdolen adds that “millions of Americans endorsed violence to achieve political success,” and claims that “peaceful” BLM protests were “met with immeasurable police force” while the Capitol mob was treated like old Army buddies by law enforcement.

At Harvard’s The Crimson, the editors say “blame for the attempted coup […] extends beyond” those who actively participated in breaching the Capitol … in fact, every Trump supporter “enabled the insurrection.” Crimson columnist Ebony Smith calls the Capitol protesters “white supremacists” and takes the now-common college paper view that the mob was treated with kid gloves compared to BLM activists:

“By continuing to compare the two, we are essentially refusing to see white supremacy for what it is: a fungus that festers and infects everything around it,” Smith writes. “White supremacy will remain unchecked unless we are actively unearthing and eradicating it. Inappropriate comparisons and political finger-pointing distract from addressing systemic racism in this nation head-on.”

January 6 was the perfect moment for which these publications were waiting. After all, Donald Trump never had a chance with the college set from day one. When a school like Yale organizes a collective primal scream to help alleviate frustration over an election victory, well, that says something …

In closing, consider a segment from UVA’s Cavalier Daily editorial. It says “Doubts about the legitimacy of the 2020 election are simply not valid. They do not stem from any legitimate cases of voter fraud nor support from the American court system. Instead, these doubts come from the politicians who perpetuated these blatant lies.”

Now, replace “2020” with “2016” and consider politicians such as Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton … along with Donald Trump’s apocryphal collusion with Russia.

MORE: Campus newspapers provide a preview of the new woke newsroom

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Dave has been writing about education, politics, and entertainment for over 18 years, including a stint at the popular media bias site Newsbusters. He is a retired educator with over 25 years of service and is a member of the National Association of Scholars. Dave holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Delaware.