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White supremacist propaganda reaches historic level, report says

The Anti-Defamation League said white supremacist propaganda incidents soared to an "all-time high" in 2022.


More incidents of white supremacist propaganda were reported in 2022 than in any other year recorded by the Anti-Defamation League, the advocacy group said in a report last week.

“Our data shows a 38 percent increase in incidents from the previous year, with a total of 6,751 cases reported in 2022, compared to 4,876 in 2021," according to the ADL, which has been tracking such data since 1979.

Incidents of white supremacist propaganda include the distribution of “racist, anti-semitic and LGBTQ+ fliers, stickers, banners, graffiti and posters, as well as laser projections,” the organization said. 

And the ADL’s report found a whopping 93% of all the reported propaganda it documented was distributed by members of three white supremacist groups: the Patriot Front, the Goyim Defense League and White Lives Matter. The Texas-based Patriot Front was responsible for 80% of the reported incidents of the propaganda, according to the report. 

As the ADL noted, the Patriot Front frequently masks its hate with nationalistic language like “America First,” the phrase revived by Donald Trump and Trump-loving white nationalist Nick Fuentes, who dined at the former president’s estate in late 2022

The ADL's report shows the U.S. is having flashbacks to a time when overt white supremacy was common and aided in large part by officials who excused and occasionally embraced this hateful ideology. 

All that is old is made “new” again. And in that vein, I wanted to go off the beaten path a bit to shout out "The ReidOut" producer Adam Garnett for putting some history on my radar.

Adam was researching for a segment last week when he came across a story that puts today’s white supremacist propaganda in its proper context. It comes from writer Savannah Worley and chronicles the Ku Klux Klan’s resurgence in Indiana in 1920. 

Worley wrote for AfroSapiophile last month:

In 1920, a Klan member named Joe Huffington crossed Indiana’s state lines at the command of Imperial Wizard William Simmons of Atlanta, GA. Huffington started the Indiana chapter of the KKK in Evansville, IN, where he eventually met a man named D.C. Stephenson. Stephenson would be instrumental in recruiting Klan members and in making the Klan seem appealing. He also created the Klan’s state newspaper, the Fiery Cross.

Stephenson was the Steve Bannon of the 1920s Indiana Klan. He conceived and executed ways to make the Klan in the state expand and grow, just as Bannon did with the alt-right. The Fiery Cross could be seen as Breitbart. After he helped a man named Hiram Evans unseat Simmons for Imperial Wizard, Stephenson was named the Grand Dragon of the Indiana Klan. Incidentally, Bannon secured a place in the White House during Trump’s presidency because of his work during Trump’s presidential campaign.

Worley noted that Klan membership, propelled by D.C. Stephenson’s hateful rhetoric, grew to include several members of the Indiana General Assembly, in much the same way extremists aligned with Trump now hold seats in the House and the Senate. 

Adam explained why these comparisons deserve a closer look:

I know trying to find analogies in history is sometimes difficult to square, but this comparison of the doings in Indiana a century ago and what is happening in modern times was glaring. Bannon’s recruitment to the alt-right movement is eerily similar to what D.C. Stephenson pulled off to grow the Klan in Indiana. And they both touted the Christofascist beliefs Trump and his movement have capitalized on

When we look at the ways racist extremists have historically amassed power using manipulative propaganda, the rise of Trump and the MAGA movement begin to make a lot more sense.