Back in June 2015, the New America Foundation published a study that garnered enthusiastic international publicity, as it purported to demonstrate that “right-wing extremists” and “white supremacists” were a larger threat to the U.S. than Islamic jihadis. The mainstream media was thrilled. Mediaite crowed: “White Americans Are Biggest Terror Threat in U.S.” The New York Times exulted: “Homegrown Extremists Tied to Deadlier Toll Than Jihadists in U.S. Since 9/11.” The Huffington Post cheered: “White Supremacists More Dangerous To America Than Foreign Terrorists, Study Says.” NPR rejoiced: “Right-Wing Extremists More Dangerous Than Islamic Terrorists In U.S.” TruthDig was thrilled: “White Right-Wing Terrorists Are Biggest Threat to Americans, Study Finds.” And on and on.
The media delight stemmed from the fact that the study confirmed its biases and relentless endeavor to downplay and deny the jihad threat. Thus the New York Times and NPR and the rest were not in the least interested in the fact that the New America Foundation study was obviously skewed, as it was based on the number of those killed by jihadis and by right-wing extremists since September 12, 2001, leaving out 9/11. The study also ignored the many, many foiled jihad plots, and the fact that jihadis are part of an international movement that has killed many thousands of people, while right-wingers and white supremacists are not. It stated that right-wing extremists had killed 48 people from September 12, 2001 to June 2015, while Islamic jihadists had killed only 26 people in the U.S. in that span. If 9/11 had been added, the tally would have been 3,032 killed by Islamic jihadists and 48 by purported right-wing extremists.
But all right, let’s play by the New America Foundation’s rules. Counting the Orlando jihad massacre, but leaving out 9/11 as the NAF study did, the death toll now stands at 76 killed by Islamic jihadis, and 48 by purported right-wing extremists (I repeat “purported” because to get to its count of 48, the NAF counted as “right-wing” attacks killings that were perpetrated by people who were obviously deranged psychopaths devoid of any ideology). Will the New York Times’ appalling Scott Shane now issue an amended report? Will NPR? Mediaite? HuffPo? Or any of the other “news” organizations that so enthusiastically propagated this false study in the summer of 2015?
I won’t be holding my breath.