All the Rage

Friday, April 02, 2010


The arrest of members of a so-called Christian right-wing militia last weekend capped a week of anger and violence that ricocheted around U.S. politics. Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which recently published a census of such groups, discusses the alarming rise of U.S. hate groups and the rhetoric that feeds them.

Comments [23]

Thomas Kevin from Chicago

I see the New Black Panther Party for Self Defense is in the news again, or at least in the echo chamber. I was particularly upset with AP race and ethnicity writer Jesse Washington whose "Panthergate" piece was picked up on the Yahoo News page a few days ago.

The lead began, "Witnesses described an ugly scene: Two members of the New Black Panther Party threatening white voters. . ."

I had to send an e-mail saying there don't seem to be any allegations of intimidation of white voters, although there were complaints of Panthers standing outside the polling place shouting racial epithets at white observers standing outside the polling place and attempted intimidation of black voters.

The "threatening white voters" language is certainly more powerful than "threatening black voters" or "threatening voters" or "threatening whites hanging around outside the polling place", but I'm wondering if that's one of those "facts" that are too good to check.

Jul. 06 2010 06:03 PM
R from NY

Is On The Media produced by real journalists or state owned stenographers running a propaganda organ for the left? If you want to prove Rush, Hannity and Beck wrong start acting like professional journalists and not half-baked activists with an agenda....please. Thanks.

Apr. 10 2010 05:36 PM
Chris Gray from New Haven, CT

Mr. Richard, I'm trying to understand what "black people are in far more danger from race-based urban gangs than from the Ku Klux Klan or whatever" means. If you mean that blacks are in far more danger from gun violence in their own neighborhoods, I find that I am in total agreement. I actively encourage local law enforcement to focus on getting the guns out of young urban hands.

Still, in the late '70s I lived in a town where a group of white men, frustrated at a lack of game, came to town and shot and killed a black man, instead. It happens. Armed civilian militias don't help. Politicians who cheer-lead them don't either.

Apr. 09 2010 10:13 PM
R from NY

The guest was recently warning of anti-government hate groups on far-left WBAI radio which is famous for all kinds of intense anti-government hate and accusations including 9/11 Truth nonsense and Federal Reserve conspiracies to name a few. The hypocrisy is stunning and shameless and why shouldn't be since OTM will never call them on it.
Conservative talk radio has miles and miles to travel before they even approach the hate and bile that the left regularly spewed for eight years while NPR and others ignored or excused it.

Apr. 09 2010 09:08 PM
Mark Richard from Columbus, Ohio

There apparently is no right-wing equivalent of Potok on the public radio Rolodex, so listeners get a very distorted view of interracial violence and the existence of 'hate' groups whose objects of hatred are 'white'. When OTM dialed up Potok, it knew exactly what it was going to get - white racism is on the rise, right-wing 'hate' groups are a major threat, etc. From listening to public radio, sealed off from real life, a consumer would never know that interracial violence is far more likely to feature whites as victims rather than perpetrators, or that black people are in far more danger from race-based urban gangs than from the Ku Klux Klan or whatever.

People on the street know this stuff, even if liberal media people come across as living in a cocoon. (They, of course, know the realities, but like Victorians and sex, they avert their eyes.) Potok and others help bait lower-income white and working class people, who have taken the brunt of upper-class liberal brainstorms like busing and affirmative action and so forth. If NPR wants to ever think outside the box, it might investigate the social effects of constant, promiscuous accusations of 'racism' on our civic culture.

Apr. 08 2010 12:48 PM
Chris Gray from New Haven, CT

Shortly after receiving my grade, Robert Kennedy was felled. Quite a coup.

So, now, we have a former Vice Presidential candidate (reminding me of Aaron Burr, really) boldly recommending, “Going Rouge”. Smart!

Apr. 06 2010 10:52 AM
Chris Gray from New Haven, CT

While discussing this subject, a C-SPAN guest mentioned a name, The Minutemen, which brought back a flood of memories. At fourteen, after already having been run out of a town by racists, I saw a sticker for the group on a wrought iron fence in front of the small, local grocery. Just a graphic, the name and a post box out of state, but showing the group’s reach. I was a little sensitive as to what it might mean.

As a senior in high school, I was assigned a paper to be written both for our English and History classes. I chose the group as my topic and my thesis, as I recall it, was that armed civilian militias, whether they acted out or not, enhanced the polarization in our nation and gave license to the “lone wolves” or, as Oswald had already maintained, the “patsies” (though I wasn’t so bold as to suggest it, then) whose violence had already marred us all with a President’s assassination. Between handing the paper in and being graded, Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated.

Apr. 06 2010 10:51 AM
Ron Mains from Hanover Michigan

As I listened to your interview(?) with Mark Potok on my way home from church tonite I purposed to contact you if I could find you online. I did.
Your piece was so insanely ridiculous and Potok is so obviously a fear monger that I just had to give my opinion on the interview.
But after reading the comments to this piece, I realized that not only has NPR joined the other three media outlets in its outright fear of the impending return to sanity by Americans, but that the posters ahead of me had already figured this out and have expertly exposed you as to what is really wrong with not only your biased reporting(?) but the level of your fear of real Americans and the sad state of so-called American Left leaning journalism as well. You are seriously terrified. My question is: of what?

Apr. 04 2010 07:56 PM
Ehkzu from Palo Alto, CA

The SPLC is an advocacy group, not an objective information source. Its funding comes from terrifying liberals with tales of right wing terrorism. Your fawning interview was an embarrassment to good journalism.

In particular Potok slandered Lou Dobbs. I watched Dobbs’ show regularly. Yes, he went into nutball land when he started echoing birther nonsense. But he never said one word against Latinos per se (hello, his wife is Latina), and he never opposed legal immigration. He opposes illegal immigration. Potok conflated that with opposition to legal immigration, and with bias against Latinos.

I’m a Democrat who voted for Obama and will again, yet I was offended by the blatant bias of this segment. I now realize that On the Media is the same as Fox’s media watch show: advocacy aping journalism. PBS has many balanced, objective shows, including the PBS New Hour and To the Contrary. Yours isn’t one of them.

Apr. 04 2010 06:56 PM
Jay Tea from


Case in point: William Ayers vs. Timothy McVeigh. Ayers and his Weather Underground planned to blow up a military dance, killing soldiers and their dates, but instead just blew themselves up. (Ayers, sadly, wasn't present when the "own goal" was scored.) McVeigh set out to blow up a federal building, and succeeded.

Consequently, Ayers is a leading intellectual voice on the left nowadays, and McVeigh got the needle. If Ayers' bomb had succeeded and McVeigh's failed, would we end up having a protege' of McVeigh's in the White House and would Ayers have been executed?

The answer should be obvious. McVeigh is dead, and good riddance. Ayers never spent a day in prison.

So, OTM, welcome to the world of 2010. You've got a lot of catching up to do.


Apr. 04 2010 10:48 AM
Jay Tea from


In fact, Democratic members of Congress gave passes to members of Code Pink to disrupt one of President Bush's State of the Union addresses and assault Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as she came to testify at a Congressional hearing.

Why is is so much scarier when the right wing nuts starts talking a little like the left wing nuts?

Here's a theory. Because while the left wing nuts are more readily roused to passion over these matters, the right wing nuts are more competent. While both sides are prone to making grandiose threats, the left can generally be counted on to screw it up in the process, while the right actually does what it sets out to do.



Apr. 04 2010 10:45 AM
Jay Tea from

Oh, my goodness. I guess On The Media has been asleep since the dawn of the millennium. Welcome back, folks! You have some serious catching up to to.

You can start by watching this four-minute montage of the peaceful, tolerant, all-embracing left's reaction to the George W. Bush administration (2001-2009).

If you dig a little deeper, you might find that the right didn't go all hysterical at these vile insults and death threats. No, they took at as the impotent rantings of impotent idiots, and every now and then tossed the idiots in the faces of the mainstream left, who not only tolerated them, but also encouraged them on occasion.



Apr. 04 2010 10:32 AM from Honolulu, Hi

Regarding Mike from Connecticut's comments: On the media is the one show on NPR that exposes itself as left leaning in fact I have heard an interview with both hosts where they admit their biases. On the Media's left leaning could be compared with some more moderate right leaning journalism such as that of David Brooks. This particular story had that lean. You can not compare anything on NPR with Glenn Beck.

Apr. 04 2010 02:12 AM
Mike H from Naperville Il

Once upon a time, not too long ago, a group of individuals “fed up” with US policy plotted and conspired to assassinate half a dozen US Senators over their voting records. After deliberation, the plan was scuttled, but only after a very close vote.

One of leaders of that group eventually went on to become a United States Senator from Massachusetts and won the 2004 democrat presidential primary.

The group was Vietnam Veterans Against the War and the leader was John Kerry.

Once upon a time a group of Black Maoists operated a criminal organization that embezzled millions from its charities, murdered many police officers, and assassinated internal dissidents and whistleblowers. One of the leaders of its Chicago Chapter later became powerful member of congress.

The group was the Black Panthers and the leader was Bobby Rush.

Once upon a time a group of young student radicals were involved in the assassination of police officers all throughout the country and the attempted mass killing of US military personnel. One of their leaders is now a “well respected” law professor at Northwester University and they other is a close ally of President Obama.

The group was the Weather Underground and its leaders were Bernadine Dorhn and Bill Ayers.

Apr. 03 2010 05:53 PM
Mike from Connecticut

I listen to both sides, i.e., NPR and talk radio and decide for myself what to believe. Your piece today "All The Rage" made a comment about Beck believing that there were FEMA camps is a flat-out lie. If you would just listen to his show for a while you might agree. Watch this:

I used to believe everything I heard on NPR, but thanks to conservative talk shows like Beck et al I see what passes for objective journalism on NPR is a farce. Do some homework before you report something !!

Apr. 03 2010 05:52 PM
David from Lawrenceville, NJ


1) Agreed on your first point, vis-à-vis Obama and Bush.
2) But do you have evidence that this particular group – the Hutarees – was motivated by race?
The video of Hannity – not someone I hold up as a source of unbiased facts – was totally taken out of context. Hannity – as he pointed to the crowd of people who are likely tea-partiers - was making the point that the left is presenting them AS "Tim McVeigh wannabees." His point was that the left was trying to push the conservatives to violence by calling them racists. He may not be correct in saying that the left wants to depict the tea party movement as a bunch of "Tim McVeigh wannabees," but let's get the context correct.

Apr. 03 2010 11:38 AM
roguey from Pittsburgh

President Obama's policies are not very different from what George Bush's were, or what McCain's would have been.
The central motivation of the hate groups is his racism.

Sean Hannity recently praised the tea-partiers as "McVeigh wannabees". These media darlings who are hinting at how lovely a civil war would be have found it enormously lucrative, and have become very impressed with themselves. Advocating mass murder is now mainstream.
And lies are worth big cash to them. But while they pull the fringe, the fringe will be pushing them. They will have to escalate the incitements to keep the money rolling in. The lies will get bigger. Stay tuned.

Apr. 03 2010 11:17 AM
Uos from nyc

laugh... waiting for the Antichrist

These people are worse than star trek dorks.

They're right winged Christian dorks with guns.

Apr. 03 2010 10:24 AM
David from Lawrenceville, NJ

To suggest that the average reporter should know more about these groups by speaking to THIS group, is to suggest that reporters not do what they are called to do – get the facts. This group loves to connect acts of violence with conservative thinking. Why not also challenge Potok with the fact that most of the militiamen were active voters, and at least one, Jacob J. Ward, was a registered Democrat and voted as a Democrat in the 2004 and 2008 primary elections, and in 10 other elections since 2000? (
Of course, there IS the possibility that for the SPLC, and for OTM, being Christian = "Right Wing." Is that it?

Apr. 03 2010 09:27 AM
David from Lawrenceville, NJ

It might also have been interesting to challenge the SPLC on its assumptions about the Hutaree group being "right-wing." What is it about killing cops that is "right wing?" Which party associates themselves with the “rule of law” and law enforcement? Traditionally that’s been right-wing Republicans, while the left have traditionally been associated with the rights of the accused. Hutaree’s Web site only discusses is a religious connection—Christians preparing for the coming of the Antichrist. Not one word of politics. As has been suggested by others, any honest journalist would refrain from infusing a report about the group with words that would suggest a political leaning one way or the other—because no one honestly knows. And their plans we now know preceded the Obama administration. So who is REALLY stirring up hatred?

Apr. 03 2010 09:22 AM
David from Lawrenceville, NJ

Apparently the media "angle" here is that the media does not know enough about these groups. So the way OTM will help the media is to speak to the SPLC and get the lowdown. Of course, that would be the first number on their iphones anyway. I'm seeing Potok everywhere.
But why not challenge the SPLC in this interview? In 2000, it included the New Black Panther Party among its annual list of hate groups. But as the Huffington Post has pointed out, the group was very quiet when the government dropped its case against an armed hate group doing REAL anti-government stuff like preventing people from their civil right to vote. One hopes it's not because they are Marxist.

Apr. 03 2010 09:22 AM
Jim Crutchfield from Long Island City, NY

On the other hand, the lede refers to "so-called Christian right-wing militia". Does OTM give Muslims the same deference? I can't recall ever hearing of "so-called Muslim extremists".

Apr. 03 2010 09:09 AM
Stu from usa

this segment felt completely unbalanced.
this comment is off the top of my head.
not once did your piece, if i am remembering correctly,
make mention of the possibility that these so called hate groups might, just might have legitimate grievances with the government,
your piece only adds support to the notion of conspiracy and the "nuttiness" of these groups.
i am anti violence and always will be, unlike my government but i have wondered for the last 8 or 9 years, why aren't americans fuming mad at what has happened to our country?
based on your report, apparently there are some people who are angry, however, your piece failed to mention even one possible reason for their anger. i find that slightly pathetic.

Apr. 03 2010 07:45 AM

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