The reaction to arresting Capitol Hill rioters – our experts are being sought out by leading media to explain

The reaction to arresting Capitol Hill rioters – our experts are being sought out by leading media to explain The reaction to arresting Capitol Hill rioters – our experts are being sought out by leading media to explain

February 17, 20212 min read
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It’s been an almost-weekly occurrence since the January 6, 2021 storming of the Capitol buildings in Washington. Authorities are meticulously tracking down and arresting those who wreaked havoc on the halls of the country’s democracy.


With each arrest comes media coverage – and with that, the attention might be creating a brewing storm further dividing those on the far left and right of American politics.


Recently, Steven Chermak, a professor of criminal justice at Michigan State University was interview by the Washington Post for a piece covering the ‘snowball effect’ of these arrests across the political spectrum.


“It is ratcheting up and then getting a response and a back-and-forth,” said Steven Chermak, a professor of criminal justice at Michigan State University.


Political violence remains far more common a feature of far-right groups than of those on the far left, according to law enforcement officials and data compiled by those who study extremist violence. Federal authorities have repeatedly described homegrown, right-wing extremists as the most urgent terrorism threat facing the nation.


But high-profile right-wing attacks could be spurring far-left extremists to respond in kind, Chermak said. And cases like Baker’s can have a snowball effect, he said: Articles about Baker have been circulated online by members of the Proud Boys, a far-right group with a history of violence, who cite his arrest as evidence that left-wing activists are plotting against them.


“An important part of convincing people that there’s an issue and there’s truth to what you’re saying is to home in on an example or home in on a particular case, and then that case becomes representative of a larger problem,” Chermak said. “It’s something to hang your hat on.”  February 14 - Washington Post





This emerging issue is one we can expect more to see as the investigations, arrests and eventual trials play out. And, if you’re a journalist looking to cover this important topic – then let our experts help.


Steven Chermak is a professor in the School of Criminal Justice at Michigan State University. Dr. Chermak is also a lead investigator affiliated with The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terror (START). If you’re looking to talk to an expert or conduct an interview – simply click on his icon now to arrange a time today.



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  • Steve  Chermak
    Steve Chermak Professor of Criminal Justice

    Steven M. Chermak is a professor in the School of Criminal Justice at Michigan State University.

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