‘We Hate the Media! Get Out of Here!’ | Sojourners

‘We Hate the Media! Get Out of Here!’

A student journalist's firsthand account of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

Madison Muller is a graduate student studying social justice and investigative journalism at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. She spoke with Sojourners' Jenna Barnett.

“I GOT TO Federal Plaza around noon, right when Trump’s speech was starting. I sat with a group called the America First Coalition. They had plugged a phone into a megaphone and were standing in a circle listening to the speech. I sat right in the middle to listen. Ten minutes in, Trump started speaking about his distrust of the media and [how they were] complicit in the ‘rigged’ election. That’s when I started getting a little bit fearful. I could see people looking at my press pass. When I said that I was a graduate student journalist, one of them said, ‘We don’t like people in grad school.’ And then they started yelling at me, ‘We hate the media! Get out of here!’

A larger group started forming in the street. I [ended up] at the front of the group when they walked to the Capitol. I saw people in bulletproof vests, people with military tactical equipment, walkie-talkies, helmets, goggles; people had batons in their backpacks. There was this acceleration toward the Capitol. I remember thinking there is just nothing that’s going to stop the momentum of this group. I was surprised by the lack of law enforcement that I saw, especially after having covered racial justice protests since May, where there’s always such a heavy police presence.

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The cover of Sojourners' March 2021 issue features lines of cars at a food bank
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