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Donald Trump attempted to overthrow the government of the United States


Neither he nor any of his many many co-conspirators throughout the national and state Republican parties have suffered any legal consequences for this. One reason is that the details of this story, which are still emerging nine months later, are not currently being treated as an actual news story by the news media:

It is a little weird to read all these months later about something that was also plain as day at the time. Thursday marked the one-year anniversary of a Barton Gellman article in The Atlantic that laid out the strategy that Trump, with Eastman and others’ help, would pursue. Mother Jones and others covered closely the efforts from the Trump campaign to throw out votes in courts and disenfranchise entire states. My colleague Becca Andrews was even in Atlanta on December 14 when Georgia Republicans showed up at the Capitol to endorse their own pretend slate of Trump electors—a bizarre sideshow that was nonetheless part of a scattershot, collective pretext for the strategy Eastman spelled out. January 6 happened on live TV. But what was described on those couple of pages is what all the stunts and subterfuge were building up to—notes, as it were, on a criminal fucking conspiracy.

There have not been a lot of attempts to depose elected American presidents in my lifetime, though I’m only 34. Not knowing for sure what happens when you dissociate “peaceful transfer of power” from “a society entirely predicated on it,” I sort of think this is a pretty big deal. This is a break-the-glass moment, as some have said, only someone else already broke the glass and took the axe and is running around with it.

But it is not such a big deal, apparently, if you watch network TV news. On Wednesday, Media Matters’ Matt Gertz reported that the total number of minutes devoted to the story on either the morning or evening editions of ABC, NBC, or CBS News in the first two days after the [Eastman] memo was published was zero. “In fact,” Gertz wrote, “the only national network broadcasts to mention Trump’s coup memo were the late-night variety shows hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, Stephen Colbert, and Seth Meyers.”

One reason for this is that there’s no category in the American news media ecosystem for “attempts to overthrow the American government by the sitting president.” That would be a coup, and it’s well understood that coups don’t happen in America (we have the Constitution you know), so there can’t be a news story about something that it is already known cannot happen.

This sounds facetious, but it’s simply a literal description of what is still happening right now.

They did it, they got away with it, and therefore they’re going to do it again.

Speaking of which, another thing that seems like it would count as news is the news that Merrick Garland’s DOJ doesn’t seem to be prosecuting anybody above the street level on this. But there are no stories on that either.

At least we’re getting a few opinion pieces that are going meta on the whole thing:

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