Parts I and II Are Here:
Legacy media outlets have warned of a growing threat from patriotic or right-wing Americans during the past few years and the warnings have become so intense that they would seem to indicate that an apocalyptic attack in the U.S. is all but a certainty.
Allegations range from pundits making apparently hyperbolic statements that compare Tea Partiers and other small-government advocates to terrorists, to news media allegations that patriotic and other seemingly right-of-center groups are actual national security threats. The entertainment industry also has produced ominous offerings that warn of the danger of those who strongly support the Constitution or the freedoms it protects.
William Yeomans made no attempt to hide his disdain for small-government advocates in an opinion piece at Politico in 2011:
It has become commonplace to call the tea party faction in the House “hostage takers.” But they have now become full-blown terrorists.
They have joined the villains of American history who have been sufficiently craven to inflict massive harm on innocent victims to achieve their political goals. A strong America has always stood firm in the face of terrorism. That tradition is in jeopardy, as Congress and President Barack careen toward an uncertain outcome in the tea party- manufactured debt crisis.
As we stumble closer to Aug. 2, it has become clear that many in the tea party are willing to inflict massive harm on the American people to obtain their political objective of a severely shrunken federal government. Their persistence in rejecting compromise, even as the economic effects of the phony crisis they have created mount, has taken their radicalism beyond tough negotiating, beyond even hostage-taking. . . .Similar denunciations continued in the following years with famed left-wing religious leader Jim Wallis condemning those who supported fiscal responsibility. “First, they are, essentially, anarchists, opposed to government altogether,” the former Students for a Democrat Society member and Occupy supporter said without a hint of irony.
New York Times columnist Paul Krugman joined Wallis in denouncing fiscal-responsibility advocates by comparing them to Hezbollah.
Tina Brown of The Daily Beast compared Ted Cruz to the Taliban in July of 2013 and then in October compared like-minded private citizens to terrorists in general.
Accusations of patriotic and other right-of-center Americans being literal national security threats occurred in August 2012 after Wade Michael Page attacked a Sikh temple in Wisconsin and murdered six people.
“Right-wing extremist terrorism as deadly a threat as al Qaeda?” a CNN headline wondered. And The Daily Beast claimed that the “Wisconsin Sikh Massacre Reveals Need for Domestic Antiterrorism Unit.” Furthermore, both Salon and the Wired “Danger Room” blog used the attack to remind their readers of the 2009 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) report that had been planned (but not published) which warned of right-wing terrorism.
Spencer Ackerman wrote the following in, “DHS Crushed This Analyst for Warning About Far-Right Terror” at the “Danger Room” blog:
But Johnson’s career took an unexpected turn in 2009, when an analysis he wrote on the rise of “Right-Wing Extremism” (.pdf) sparked a political controversy. Under pressure from conservatives, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) repudiated Johnson’s paper — an especially bitter pill for him to swallow now that Wade Michael Page, a suspected white supremacist, killed at least six people at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. For Johnson, the shooting was a reminder that the government’s counterterrorism efforts are almost exclusively focused on al-Qaida, even as non-Islamist groups threaten Americans domestically.
“DHS is scoffing at the mission of doing domestic counterterrorism, as is Congress,” Johnson tells Danger Room. “There’ve been no hearings about the rising white supremacist threat, but there’s been a long list of attacks over the last few years. But they still hold hearings about Muslim extremism. It’s out of balance.” But even if that balance was reset, he concedes, that doesn’t necessarily mean the feds could have found Page before Sunday’s rampage. . . .
Johnson, who has written a forthcoming book about far-right extremist groups, concedes that the definition of “right-wing” in his product was imprecise. In retrospect, he says he should have clarified that his focus was on “violent” right-wing organizations, like white supremacists, neo-Nazis and so-called Sovereign Citizens who believe the U.S. government is an illegitimate, tyrannical enterprise. Much like mainstream Muslims denounce terrorism and object to over-broad analysis portraying Islam as an incubator of extremism, so too do mainstream conservatives denounce neo-Nazis and white supremacists and dispute that those groups are authentically right-wing. . . .
Indeed, since Johnson released his ill-fated report, the Wichita, Kansas, abortion doctor George Tiller was assassinated; a security guard was killed when a gunman with neo-Nazi ties went on a shooting spree at the U.S. Holocaust Museum; the FBI arrested members of a Florida neo-Nazi outfit tied to drug dealing and motorcycle gangs; a man was charged with attempting to detonate a weapon of mass destruction at a Spokane, Washington march commemorating Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday; and several mosques around the country have been vandalized or attacked — including a Missouri mosque that burned to the ground on Monday, which had been attacked before.Johnson’s book has since been published and received attention from those following national security issues. For instance, the Association of Former Intelligence Officers (of which I am a member) noted this book in the Winter/Spring 2013 edition of its official publication, The Intelligencer. (The Intelligencer offered no positive or negative recommendations on the book, merely noting for its readers that it had been published with a brief background on the author.)
The media might have focused even more attention on the Sikh temple attack and the supposed threat of the right-wing had not Floyd Lee Corkins attacked the headquarters of the Family Research Council (FRC) in Washington, DC on August 15, 2012. Corkins attacked the FRC because he hated that it defends marriage and sexual morality.
But late August 2012 news of the authorities breaking up a group of anarchists who wished to overthrow the government caused the media to reignite its claim that limited-government advocates are a literal national security threat.
And the media continued advancing this narrative through the New Year with the immediate aftermath of the April 2013 attack on the Boston Marathon allowing them once more to speculate that right-wingers proved their warnings correct. For instance, National Journal reported the following on April 16:
In fact, initial evidence offers enticing clues that point in each of those directions—a foreign terrorist organization, likely affiliated with or inspired by al-Qaida and its strategy of striking the U.S. homeland; domestic terrorists, probably from the anti-federal-government, nativist Right, whose ranks have been growing in recent years; or a “lone wolf or wolves,” acting independently and inspired by an ideology yet to be determined. . . .
“If the Boston attack turns out to be the work of right-wing extremists it really shouldn’t surprise us, because these groups are not a new threat, and they have been growing in numbers and power in recent years,” Mudd said. “What would be notable is that they are once again turning to terrorism as a tactic, which is increasingly common around the world.”The Atlantic continued advancing the idea that patriotic Americans are a national security threat when it specifically focused on “right-wing extremists who have served in the U.S. military.” “The Greater Danger: Military-Trained Right-Wing Extremists” read an April 2013 headline.
Mother Jones published a 2013 article alleging that so-called right-wing terrorism has killed more people in the U.S. than Islamic terror since September 11, 2001. The Mother Jones article partially relies on data provided by a study and analysis done by The New America Foundation and Syracuse University’s Maxwell School.
Markos Moulitsas, founder of the widely read The Daily Kos, openly believes that those with strong constitutional beliefs are inherently violent and might eventually act on their violent nature:
Thus, the final appeal to violence—because if democracy fails them, then what is left? The question will be whether that violence will remain a fantasy as they politically disengage, or whether they’ll begin to act on it.The entertainment industry has supported the notion (directly and indirectly) that patriotic Americans are a national security threat through such films as The Purge and Machete Kills. It also pushes the notion through television shows such as “Newsroom,” video games such as “Bioshock,” and books such as Christian Nation.
One of the most recent examples of the entertainment industry viewing patriotic Americans as national security threats is the movie, Non-Stop:
The terrorist is a 9/11 family member. Yes, you read that right; the terrorist is a 9/11 family-member who lost a loved-one in the World Trade Center on that terrible September morning.
It gets worse…
After 9/11, this 9/11 family member-turned-terrorist then joined the military but found himself disillusioned by the pointless wars.
The 9/11 family member-turned-terrorist is upset because America hasn’t done enough to ensure there will never be another 9/11. And so he figures that if he can get an air marshal blamed for a terrorist attack, America will wake up and anally probe us before we’re allowed on a plane, or something.
It gets worse…
The villain’s sidekick is a member of the American military willing to murder 150 innocent people for a payday.
It gets worse…
The one passenger on the plane who is forever helpful, kind, reasonable, noble, and never under suspicion is a Muslim doctor dressed in traditional Muslim garb including a full beard.”So the warnings of Constitution-believing Americans being a national security threat on the verge of horrific violence are not coming from a small and fringe part of the media. Rather, they are coming from a significant part of the mainstream media on a regular basis. And the government seems to be warning of the same threat. So those identifying patriotic Americans as a national security threat must strongly believe their accusations. And therefore one must ask if they are right.
Part IV examines if the government and media are correct in labeling Constitution-believing Americans as a national security threat.