The advance publicity for the “March for America” had been robust. Beyond the repeated promotions in tweets by the president and his allies, the upcoming event was cheered on social media, including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
But woven through many of the messages to stand up for Mr. Trump — and, if possible, block the congressional certification of the election he claimed he had won — was language that flirted with aggression, even violence.
For example, the term “Storm the Capitol” was mentioned 100,000 times in the 30 days preceding Jan. 6, according to Zignal Labs, a media insights company. Many of these mentions appeared in viral tweet threads that discussed the possible storming of the Capitol and included details on how to enter the building.
To followers of QAnon, the convoluted collection of conspiracy theories that falsely claims the country is dominated by deep-state bureaucrats and Democrats who worship Satan, the word “storm” had particular resonance. Adherents have often referred to a coming storm, after which Mr. Trump would preside over a new government order. [Continue reading…]