This past week, our coverage has ranged from a story that busts the myths that grew around the “Napalm Girl” photo published 50 years ago to an analysis of the proposed new names for military bases currently named in honor of Confederate generals.

In between, we’ve had stories about the status of migration into the U.S., how the number of candidates in primaries has been growing since 2010 – good for extremists, bad for voters – and what circumstances trigger the state trigger laws limiting abortion.

But honestly, much of our attention this week has been on the House Jan. 6 committee hearings that begin tonight.

Desk editors started work late today, in anticipation of a late night covering the hearing for our readers. We’ve lined up almost a dozen scholars to provide analysis throughout the entire series of hearings. Tonight, we have a panel of three giving their learned takes: political scientist Claire Leavitt, who was once a staffer on the House Oversight Committee; philosopher Mark Satta, who is also a lawyer and a specialist in the First Amendment; and scholar Ken Hughes, who has spent over two decades unearthing the secrets of the Nixon, Johnson and Kennedy White House tapes.

We’ll be fueled tonight both by coffee and the understanding that we’re helping chronicle historic government proceedings. The story will publish late tonight; you’ll probably read it while we’re sleeping in tomorrow.

Naomi Schalit

Senior Editor, Politics + Society

Pro-Trump protesters approach the entrance to the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Win McNamee/Getty Images

How a public hearing is different from an investigation – and what that means for the Jan. 6 committee

Claire Leavitt, Grinnell College

On the eve of public hearings held by Congress’ January 6 investigative committee, a former oversight staffer for the House of Representatives explains what such hearings aim to accomplish.

Terrified children, including 9-year-old Kim Phuc, center, near Trang Bang, Vietnam, after a South Vietnamese plane on June 8, 1972, accidentally dropped its flaming napalm on its own troops and civilians. AP Photo/Nick Ut, File

50 years after ‘Napalm Girl,’ myths distort the reality behind a horrific photo of the Vietnam War and exaggerate its impact

W. Joseph Campbell, American University School of Communication

The ‘Napalm Girl’ photo is much more than powerful evidence of war’s indiscriminate effects on civilians. It also shows how false assertions can get traction in the media.

Chairman of the Senate Watergate Committee Sam Ervin sits with Chief Counsel Sam Dash, Sen. Howard Baker, staffer Rufus Edmiston and others as they listen to a witness during the Watergate hearings. Wally McNamee/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images

What 5 previous congressional investigations can teach us about the House Jan. 6 committee hearings

Jennifer Selin, Wayne State University

The public hearings of the House Jan. 6 investigative committee will deal with unprecedented events in American history, but the very investigation of these events has strong precedent.

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