Associated Press, rhetoric experts say, ‘coup,’ isn’t correct word for Capitol insurrection


FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — When discussing Wednesday’s insurrection at the Capitol, the term, “coup,” may get thrown around. Rhetoric experts and major press publications indicated that’s not a correct description of what took place.

Armed protesters broke into the building, overwhelmed Capitol Police and forced evacuations, so an official Associated Press memo stated the term, “protest,” is too light for the situation. Still, it’s not a coup, which would indicate the specific aim was to take over the government.

Dr. Lisa Corrigan is a University of Arkansas professor, communications expert and sociopolitical author. She said terms like, “insurrection,” fit better. The rhetoric is important both in how the public perceives what happened and how those involved will be punished.

“The difference between an insurrection and a coup really changes the framework in terms of what kinds of crimes people can be convicted of,” Corrigan said.

The Associated Press also indicated the terms, “mob,” or, “riot,” are also acceptable in describing what happened at the Capitol.

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