The Southern Poverty Law Center says the preaching of conspiracy theories by people such as Glenn Beck of Fox News is part of the explanation for the growth in extremism.
A report by the Southern Poverty Law Center outlines a surge in extremist “patriot” groups in the U.S. The center claims that the number of right-wing extremist groups increased by 250 percent in 2009.
The report connects the rise in right-wing extremism to the movement’s relationship with mainstream conservatism and especially the conspiratorial views propagated by Fox News. —JCL
The US is facing a surge in anti-government extremist groups and armed militias, driven by deepening hostility on the right to Barack Obama, anger over the economy, and the increasing propagation of conspiracy theories by parts of the mass media such as Fox News.
The Southern Poverty Law Centre, the US’s most prominent civil rights group focused on hate organisations, said in a report that extremist “patriot” groups “came roaring back to life” last year as their number jumped nearly 250% to more than 500 with deepening ties to conservative mainstream politics.
The SPLC report, called Rage on the Right, said the rise in extremist groups was “a cause for grave concern” given their propensity to use violence during their heyday in the ’90s, most notably with the Oklahoma City bombing that killed 168 people. It added that the issues driving support for such groups were increasingly populist and that “signs of growing radicalisation are everywhere”.