Yesterday i had the opportunity to interview Chip Berlet on my WPFW radio program, ARISE! Chip is a well-known specialist regarding the political Right and is the co-author of a must-read book, Right-wing Populism in America [with Matthew Lyons].
Chip authored a recent essay to which I would like to call your attention. I read it immediately prior to the radio interview but have been thinking about it ever since. It revolves around media manipulation and the question of violence. In the case of Trump, it has been interesting to note how he is a bit fast and loose when his so-called “supporters” carry out assaults, such as the most recent attack on a black protester at one of Trump’s rallies. But even worse is the way that he has been stirring up Islamophobic hysteria. This is not an academic exercise, by the way. When there are armed protests by right-wing, anti-Muslim groups outside of Muslim institutions, this is beyond serious.
I have, on a separate though related note, been struck by the contrast in the coverage and response to the mass killing in Colorado at Planned Parenthood and the mass killing in San Bernardino. I realize that more people were killed in San Bernardino and my heart goes out to the families of all those killed or wounded in acts of terrorism. But consider how quickly the alleged killer in the Colorado Planned Parenthood case was, essentially, written off as a nut by most sources; the fact that the Republican candidates for President had little to say about the Colorado killing, outside of their condolences; and how quickly, in the case of San Bernardino, there are so many people who are prepared to generalize based on this atrocity.
In any case, I think that you will find Chip’s essay quite thought-provoking.