For the first time since 1812, the U.S. Capitol was taken Wednesday, not by military officials but by domestic terrorists who wreaked havoc in the name of the infamous Donald Trump. With guns and tear gas, police officials evacuated lawmakers and spent more than three hours attempting to clear the Capitol building of Trump’s allies. Media outlets across the globe joined U.S. news outlets in reporting the violent and shocking sights seen in Washington, D.C. While some called it an attack on democracy, others noted the clear influence Trump had over these violent terrorists.
Images of the violence were shared worldwide, with world leaders not only condemning the actions of Trump supporters but Trump himself for enabling it. But each outlet’s article focusing on Wednesday’s disgraceful series of events framed them with a different headline.
Let’s take a look at the different headlines found not only in the U.S. but globally that covered Wednesday’s horror.
From the U.S.
Of course we can’t forget tone-deaf Fox News, which called the violence “protests.” Let’s call it what it was: terrorism. These people weren't protesters, they were terrorists.
The Sentinel in Colorado also had an interesting headline: “Protesters backing Trump roll into capital to cheer him on.”
Many Indian newspapers and outlets had a completely different narrative, noting that an Indian flag was seen at the riots. This didn't come as a shock as many Indian mainstream outlets actually support Trump due to his ties with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“‘Not a cricket match’: Celebs decry use of Indian flag at US Capitol protests,” a headline from The Hindustani Times read.
A less biased outlet, Times of India, read: “Chaos, violence, mockery as pro-Trump mob occupies Congress”
The international news outlet Al Jazeera, established in Qatar, shared coverage on Twitter. Al Jazeera’s stories not only noted the history of violence Trump supporters have perpetuated, but the reactions of those facing it.
Headlines are just as important as news coverage itself. They not only determine how many people are potentially interested in reading an article, they also frame the narrative of a story. Headlines have the ability to influence what aspect of a piece people will pay attention to the most, and they often change the way people read or remember an article. They draw attention to specific facts or details, create a shift in perception, and often can be misleading in how they phrase information.
The example I always think back to is one outlet highlighting an undocumented student’s achievement in receiving a scholarship from a local organization, and then the same news being shared by a conservative outlet, which framed the headline around illegal students taking away opportunities from Americans. These different ways of framing an article not only appeal to different audiences, but also spread misinformation and subconsciously may even influence an individual’s thoughts on the issue. This is why accuracy in headlines is important.
As MSNBC correspondent Ali Velshi noted: “Any journalist who sugar coats their language or normalizes what has happened today isn’t doing their job. Our job is to bear witness & tell the truth: Trump is attempting a coup, and inciting violence.”