Journalists recall what happened at the Capitol on Jan. 6

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“I’ve witnessed plenty of violence and upheavals before, coups and revolutions, when I was doing conflict coverage abroad, but I am still shocked to experience it here. It was Americans attacking America,” Associated Press photographer J. Scott Applewhite said.

Journalists from the AP live-streamed an event where reporters shared their experiences. You can watch it here.

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From The Washington Post:

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In an interview posted to CNN, CNN reporter Daniella Diaz also recalled her experience at the Capitol that day, sharing that she thought it would be just another day of reporting on Capitol Hill.

Diaz said:

“It was a series of moments. In my workspace on the House side of the Capitol building, I could see the protestors outside the building. And as I covered the joint session of Congress to certify the election results, I kept glancing outside to see where the protestors were and each time I looked, they were closer to the Capitol building. There were thousands of them. At the time I thought, ‘There’s no way they’ll come into the building.’ I was wrong.

I’ll never forget the moment when police came into our workspace and told us we couldn’t move because rioters were in the building. That was the moment I knew the day wasn’t normal anymore. The staff locked the doors and within moments we heard the rioters in the hallways outside the workspace. It took all of 5 minutes for that to happen.”

Another reporter with CNN, Alexander Marquardt, recalled the day and live tweets he shared as the mobs infiltrated the Capitol. 

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Even a reporter from Fox News recalled the grim events, comparing other days of covering Capitol Hill in a column published Monday.

“I recall those solemn scenes now when I pass through the Capitol Rotunda,” Pergram wrote. “Now I recall the sheer size of the mob marauding through the Capitol Rotunda. Amid the statues of George Washington and Martin Luther King. Between the paintings depicting Pocahontas and James Madison. I will remember the testimony at a Senate hearing of U.S. Capitol Police Officer Carneysha Mendoza, her skin seared by chemical agents after fighting the hooligans,” Pergram continued, sharing a personal anecdote from the Capitol police officer.

“Mendoza says her Fitbit revealed the struggle was so intense last Jan. 6 that it showed her ‘in the exercise zone for four hours and nine minutes’ as they attempted to physically blockade the doors,” he added.

“I have entered the Speaker’s Lobby thousands of times over the years,” he wrote. “Grabbing a quick comment from Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn., as he emerged up the stairs. A remark from former Rep. Steve Driehaus, D-Ohio, shortly before the ObamaCare vote. Now I remember this is where Capitol Police Officer Michael Byrd gunned down Ashli Babbitt as she attempted to vault a transom. This unfolded as a horde battered the doors of the Speaker’s Lobby with flagpoles and broke windows in an effort to swarm the House chamber.”

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“I look at it through a filter of, how would other people be treated if they did this? How would the justice system work if this were a different crowd, a crowd that looked different?” CBS News correspondent Jeff Pegues said. “I don’t know. I’ve covered the social justice movement; I have covered a lot over the last 30 years. It isn’t a little infuriating when people try to dismiss it. I don’t know if people understand the weight of what happened, in terms of what this means for democracy.”

One of the most popular pieces of footage from the mob-inflicted day was HuffPost’s Igor Bobic’s video of Capitol Police officer Euguene Goodman leading the pro-Trump mob away from the Senate.

In an interview with Insider, Bobic recalled the events that led up to his video.

“I remember having my phone out,” Bobic told Insider. “I knew I wasn’t supposed to record in the hallways. There was a split second where I was like, ‘Maybe I’ll just have it on for photos.’ I knew there was going to be something worth recording. But I didn’t know what it was going to be. Then, just luckily enough, I ended up recording it. And it was how I got that video. And I’m really glad I did.”

“Without it, Goodman’s heroism might not have come to full light. How he pulled that crowd back up the other direction,” Bobic added.

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Bobic noted that one of the places he used to consider one of the safest to work no longer feels as such.

“Every time I walk down those steps, I think about it,” Bobic said. “Goodman’s still there, on his post, every day, doing his job. And we lock eyes, and it brings me back to that moment. And I wish it didn’t have to be like that.”

ABC News’ Jonathan Karl shared an eight-minute-long video that is a reminder of how scary the event really was. It’s included here in his article, “Beyond the riot, Jan. 6 was a dangerously close call. How Trump’s plot nearly succeeded.”

Republicans have been quick to complain that marking this anniversary is “dwelling in the past,” but to move on from these events, we have to be open to reality that it was traumatizing. Without naming that trauma and discussing the repercussions of the day’s events, and allowing those who were present to share their stories, we cannot process and address the underlying issues that got us there. And without that, we can’t progress as a country and do better. 

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Thank you to every journalist who stepped into danger to keep us informed.

“The Capitol is where I work every day, and I am a familiar face to most police. When those on the chamber floor shouted up at me to get out, I told them I was fine and refused to leave. This is what we do: We stay and report,” Applewhite said.

We appreciate and salute you.

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*Did you see a reporter’s or photographer’s story I missed? Please feel free to share it in the comments below!*





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