Jan 9, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Capitol siege overshadows America's monumental week

Data: Newswhip; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios
Data: Newswhip; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

The attack on the Capitol was by far the most captivating story online in a consequential week, according to exclusive data from NewsWhip.

Why it matters: With control of the Senate in the balance, a nationwide vaccination effort to end the pandemic underway and discussion of $2,000 checks in play, the country's attention was instead dominated by legislative — and then riotous — efforts to subvert democracy.

  • Stories about the siege generated 3.5x more interactions (likes, comments, shares) on social media than the Georgia runoffs, which led to Democrats taking control of the Senate.
  • Before Wednesday's violence, efforts from Josh Hawley, Ted Cruz and other Senate Republicans to stop the certification of Joe Biden as president had become the top story.
  • Before that, it was Trump's call pressuring Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to "find 11,780 votes" that captured the most attention. The Washington Post's report ended up as the most-engaged story overall.

Between the lines: The deaths that resulted from the riots became the central narrative of the events, accounting for three of the week's 10-most engaged stories, per NewsWhip.

  • In the aftermath of the riot, top stories about the fallout included tech platforms' bans of Trump accounts, resignations in the Trump administration and calls for the president's removal.
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