Did you know that right wing terrorists are three times as dangerous as Islamic terrorists? They aren’t – but such is a “fact” you’d “learn” if you pay much attention to the mainstream media.
As NewsBusters documented, talking to Attorney General Jeff Sessions about the racist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, Norah O’Donnell contorted: “This is believed to be the largest white supremacist demonstration in over a decade. We went and looked at the data. And in fact, between 2001 and 2016 there were nearly three times as many fatal attacks by right wing extremists than Islamic extremists in the U.S.”
On her Twitter profile, O’Donnell spun, “Between the end of ’01 & Dec. ’16 there were nearly 3 times as many fatal attacks by right-wing extremists than Islamist extremists in U.S.” First off, since when is September the “end of” a year?
Earth to Norah: Conservatives do not consider KKK racists to be part of the “the right.”
She also tweeted a link to a Government Accountability Office study on extremism in America.
So right off the bat, what Norah is basically saying is “absent the worst Islamist attack ever, right-wingers are just as bad!”
Regardless, even if we don’t include 9/11, she’s still wrong. While she quoted from the executive summary of the GAO’s study, she apparently didn’t read it. Luckily, I did.
In fact, I devoted an entire section of my book “A Paradoxical Alliance” on the bogus study, due to how many times I’ve seen it cited. Here is an excerpt:
The Government Accountability Report found that “of the 85 violent extremist incidents that resulted in death since September 12, 2001, far right wing violent extremist groups were responsible for 62 (73 percent) while radical Islamist violent extremists were responsible for 23 (27 percent).”
So right off the bat we’re told that in absence of the worst terror attack on American soil, right wing extremists have committed more attacks. Of course, had 9/11 been counted, it wouldn’t have changed the results, because it would’ve only counted as one incident.
So let’s look at the numbers. The GAO report cites 225 deaths from Islamist and far-right ideologies over their time frame. The Pulse nightclub shooting killed 49, the San Bernardino shootings killed 14, the Fort Hood shooting killed 14 – so we’re a mere three Islamic attacks in and those alone are responsible for a third of all terrorist fatalities. The split, according to the study, is 106 deaths attributable to far-right extremists in 62 different incidents, and 119 victims of Islamic terrorism in 23 incidents. Far-right extremists don’t even average two kills per terror attack, while Islamic extremists average nearly five.
Frequency of attacks is meaningless when the perpetrators are about as effective as a North Korean missile.
Regardless, most of those in the “right-wing terror” category are crimes that really ought to be classified as hate crimes, as nearly every single attack documented involves a Neo-Nazi or white supremacist attacking usually a single person. For example, one of these “right wing terror attacks” documented by the GAO literally reads “White supremacist murdered his stepfather to gain street cred.” Horrible, yes, but right wing terrorism? Hardly.
Among the killings listed as white supremacist “terrorist attacks” includes two neo-Nazis murdering a local drug-dealer, a neo-Nazi killing a sex offender priest, and a handful of other crimes that can be better classified as hate crimes, not terror attacks. The GAO’s researchers also didn’t put much effort into their report – and it shows. One of the white supremacist terrorist attacks is listed as “White supremacist shot and killed 9 at his community college” on 10/1/2015. The killer, Chris Harper Mercer, is not white – and targeted Christians in the attack.
Even though nearly every single “right-wing terror attack” documented by the GAO is a hate crime, not a terror attack, you’d think the GAO would at least recognize that there are one-hell-of-a lot more people in America with right-wing, or even views that could be classified as “far-right/extremist right,” than there are Muslims in America, who make up about a percent of the population.
Nevertheless, let’s not forget that terrorism is a global problem. There were 29,376 terror deaths in 2015. We could get a much larger number if we applied Government Accountability Office logic and classified honor killings as acts of Islamic terror. Anyway, of those nearly-30,000 deaths, seventy-two percent of them were in just five countries: Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and Nigeria, with four Islamist groups responsible for 74 percent of the attacks: ISIS, Boko Haram (ISIS-affiliated), the Taliban, and al-Qaeda. Nearly a third of terror deaths (11,900) are concentrated in both Iraq and Nigeria, where ISIS and ISIS-affiliate Boko Haram are responsible for nearly all terror deaths.
Of the twenty most dangerous attacks in 2015, with death tolls ranging from 80 per attack to 300 per attack, all but two were carried out by Islamist militants.
While O’Donnell may have “looked at the data” as she claimed on the air, she certainly didn’t bother to analyze it much.