NATIONAL NEWS

White Supremacist Propaganda Surged In 2020, Report Says

Mar 17, 2021, 8:35 AM | Updated: 8:36 am
FILE: Protesters and counter protesters face off at a protest on August 15, 2020 near the downtown ...
FILE: Protesters and counter protesters face off at a protest on August 15, 2020 near the downtown of Stone Mountain, Georgia. Georgia's Stone Mountain Park which is famous for its large rock carving of Confederate leaders planned to close that day in response to a planned right-wing rally. (Photo by Lynsey Weatherspoon/Getty Images)
(Photo by Lynsey Weatherspoon/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (AP) — White supremacist propaganda reached alarming levels across the U.S. in 2020, according to a new report that the Anti-Defamation League provided to The Associated Press.

There were 5,125 cases of racist, anti-Semitic, anti-LGBTQ and other hateful messages spread through physical flyers, stickers, banners and posters, according to Wednesday’s report. That’s nearly double the 2,724 instances reported in 2019. Online propaganda is much harder to quantify, and it’s likely those cases reached into the millions, the anti-hate organization said.

The ADL, which was founded more than a century ago, said that last year marked the highest level of white supremacist propaganda seen in at least a decade. Its report comes as federal authorities investigate and prosecute those who stormed the U.S. Capitol in January, some of whom are accused of having ties to or expressing support for hate groups and antigovernment militias.

“As we try to understand and put in perspective the past four years, we will always have these bookends of Charlottesville and Capitol Hill,” group CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said.

“The reality is there’s a lot of things that happened in between those moments that set the stage,” he said.

Christian Picciolini, a former far-right extremist who founded the deradicalization group Free Radicals Project, said the surge in propaganda tracks with white supremacist and extremist recruiters seeing crises as periods of opportunity.

“They use the uncertainty and fear caused by crisis to win over new recruits to their ‘us vs. them’ narrative, painting the ‘other’ as the cause of their pain, grievances or loss,” Picciolini told the AP. “The current uncertainty caused by the pandemic, job loss, a heated election, protest over extrajudicial police killings of Black Americans, and a national reckoning sparked by our country’s long tradition of racism has created a perfect storm in which to recruit Americans who are fearful of change and progress.”

Propaganda, often distributed with the intention of garnering media and online attention, helps white supremacists normalize their messaging and bolster recruitment efforts, the ADL said in its report. Language used in the propaganda is frequently veiled with a patriotic slant, making it seem benign to an untrained eye.

But some flyers, stickers and posters are explicitly racist and anti-Semitic. One piece of propaganda disseminated by the New Jersey European Heritage Association included the words “Black Crimes Matter,” a derisive reference to the Black Lives Matter movement, along with cherry-picked crime statistics about attacks on white victims by Black assailants.

A neo-Nazi group known as Folks Front distributed stickers that include the words “White Lives Matter.”

According to the report, at least 30 known white supremacist groups were behind hate propaganda. But three groups — NJEHA, Patriot Front and Nationalist Social Club — were responsible for 92% of the activity.

The propaganda appeared in every state except Hawaii. The highest levels were seen in Texas, Washington, California, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Virginia and Pennsylvania, according to the report.

Despite the overall increase, the ADL reported a steep decline in distribution of white supremacist propaganda at colleges and universities, due in large part to the coronavirus pandemic and the lack of students living and studying on campus. There were 303 reports of propaganda on college campuses in 2020, down from 630 in 2019.

Greenblatt acknowledged that free speech rights allow for rhetoric that “we don’t like and we detest.” But when that speech spurs violence or creates conditions for normalizing extremism, it must be opposed, he said.

“There’s no pixie dust that you can sprinkle on this, like it’s all going to go away,” Greenblatt said. “We need to recognize that the roots of this problem run deep.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

National News

Gate to the Duke Energy West End substation in Moore County, North Carolina, on Dec. 4, 2022. (John...
Nicole Grether, Gloria Pazmino and Tina Burnside, CNN

Gunfire at power substation cause North Carolina outages

Two power substations in a North Carolina county were damaged by gunfire in what is being investigated as a criminal act.
16 hours ago
Body camera footage taken from a traffic stop last month. (Pinellas County Sheriff's Office)...
Keith Allen, CNN

Tampa police chief placed on leave after flashing badge during traffic stop

Tampa Police Chief Mary O'Connor has been placed on administrative leave after body camera footage taken from a traffic stop last month revealed she told a deputy she was "hoping that you'll just let us go tonight" and flashed her badge.
16 hours ago
Former President Donald Trump speaks at a rally on Sept. 25, 2021, in Perry, Georgia. (Photo by Sea...
HOPE YEN, Associated Press

Trump rebuked for call to suspend Constitution over election

Former President Donald Trump is facing rebuke from both parties after calling for the “termination” of parts of the Constitution over his lie that the 2020 election was stolen.
16 hours ago
tetson Bennett #13 of the Georgia Bulldogs celebrates with the trophy...
Associated Press

SEC halftime contest booed, both students awarded $100,000

Two college students have won $100,000 in tuition after a confusing finish in the SEC championship game's halftime competition. Boos rained down from the fans in attendance for the game between No. 1 Georgia and No. 11 LSU when one of the two students appeared to win the Dr Pepper ball toss competition in overtime on a technicality. The winner was due to get $100,000 and the runner-up $20,000. Baylor student Reagan Whitaker and St. Augustine student Kayla Gibson exchanged leads multiple times in regulation. In overtime, they tied again, but Whitaker was declared the winner. It was announced on the broadcast in the fourth quarter of the game that Dr Pepper would gift both Whitaker and Gibson with $100,000 in tuition.
16 hours ago
A police car in Tampa, Florida....
Associated Press

Tampa police chief on leave after golf cart traffic stop

The police chief of Tampa has been placed on leave after a video emerged of her flashing her badge from the passenger seat of a golf cart to get out of a traffic ticket. Tampa Mayor Jane Castor placed Chief Mary O'Connor on administrative leave Friday pending an investigation of the Nov. 12 traffic stop. The body camera video shows O'Connor identifying herself as the Tampa police chief and asking the Pinellas County sheriff's deputy not to ticket her and her husband, who she says was driving the golf cart without a tag. O'Connor later released a statement saying the incident reflected "poor judgement."
16 hours ago
Rapper Kanye West attends the 2006 Cipriani / Deutsche Bank Concert Series where he will perform at...
Rob McLean, CNN Business

Kanye West’s Twitter account has been suspended, Elon Musk says it violated rule against incitement to violence

Kanye West's Twitter account was suspended early Friday morning after Elon Musk said it violated the platform's rules on inciting violence.
16 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 reasons you may want to consider apartment life over owning a home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Take this quiz before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t let a ransomware attack get you down | Protect your workplace today with cyber insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
White Supremacist Propaganda Surged In 2020, Report Says