Journalists recount ‘PTSD’ & trauma after storming of Capitol
Two journalists who were present at the January 6, 2021 storming of the Capitol told CNN they have since suffered from trauma and PTSD over the incident – claims which sparked controversy on social media.
Journalist Hunter Walker, who worked as the White House correspondent for Yahoo! News when supporters of then-President Donald Trump stormed the US Capitol in protest of his electoral defeat, told CNN host Brian Stelter on Sunday that he now suffers from flashbacks, which is a “hallmark of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.”
“There’s a bit of an informal network of reporters who’ve been through it that day, and are still coping with that, who are leaning on each other and talking to each other,” Walker revealed, claiming that they are “still dealing” with the trauma nearly a year later and feel a responsibility “to convey to others how serious it was.”
Watch how this Reliable Sources panel discusses covering 1/6 like it's the Normandy invasion. pic.twitter.com/32Cta4AEGS— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) January 2, 2022
Walker said he was previously diagnosed with PTSD from “a really bad car accident” and that it is helpful to be able to identify the signs when he suffered similar trauma following the Capitol riots.
He also claimed that he was no longer able to look at the Capitol building and “not feel sad” because it brings back memories of when he called his wife during the incident “just to tell her I love her.”
Journalist Grace Segers, who previously wrote that she sometimes wants to “sob for hours” due to the trauma she experienced on January 6, also told Stelter that she still suffers from trauma.
“Every time that I go to the Capitol I think about that experience that I had on January 6, and not only that I had, but that my colleagues had, my fellow reporters, lawmakers, Capitol police, just staffers, and it can be difficult sometimes to come to terms with that,” she said.
As time goes on it gets a bit easier to move forward from it, but I do feel as if it is something that is always going to stay with me, no matter how long it is
Though the two reporters received sympathy and prayers on social media, they also received a wave of backlash for claiming to have PTSD over the incident.
Grabien media company founder Tom Elliott criticized CNN for covering January 6 “like it’s the Normandy invasion,” while journalist Alessandra Bocchi tweeted, “If you feel traumatized by reporting on ‘dangerous’ events, you shouldn’t be a reporter.”
Another person observed that it was odd “no one seemed to be traumatized” that an unarmed protester, Ashli Babbitt, was shot and killed by a Capitol Police officer during the unrest.
1/6 was a dark day in our history. But it’s difficult to hear a reporter talk about having PTSD from imagining a firefight that might have happened. Marines in my company also have PTSD — from enemy fire, losing friends, condolence calls, and grieving families. https://t.co/dCYZCj55JS— HARRISON BERGERON, 0302 (@Bergeron_2081) January 2, 2022
Trauma? Politicians were locked down for an hour, while citizens were forced to lockdown for months, lose their jobs, savings, and dignity.Sorry they had to experience a drunk viking stroll through their sacred temple.There is no lower class than the political class. https://t.co/pReO9hF7ZY— .💀.Badaisè (@_A_Badaise) January 2, 2022
Though five deaths are commonly attributed to the January 6 storming of the Capitol, three people died from natural causes while another person died from a drug overdose. The only person killed directly as a result of the incident was Babbitt; however, over 100 police officers were injured.