Rioters break television equipment outside the the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)

‘Murder the media’: What the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol meant for US journalists

On January 6, 2021, supporters of then-President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol in a violent attempt to stop Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s win in the 2020 presidential election.

A bipartisan Senate report found that at least seven people ultimately died as a result of the attack and scores were injured. The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker, a partner of the Committee to Protect Journalists, documented multiple assaults on journalists around the Capitol and the destruction of tens of thousands of dollars worth of equipment.

CPJ’s Katherine Jacobsen discusses the press freedom implications of the attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.

On the second anniversary of the riot, CPJ U.S. and Canada Program Coordinator Katherine Jacobsen notes that the level of vitriol directed toward lawmakers, law enforcement, and journalists was unprecedented in the United States. “‘Murder the media’ was scrawled on the Capitol doors,” she recalls.

At least 10 people have since been charged in connection with the attacks on journalists or the damage to their equipment but, says Jacobsen, these prosecutions “don’t address the underlying issues that created this anti-media sentiment that we saw pour over on the Capitol steps.”