Christian Science Monitor
Why is it suddenly fashionable to pretend that “antigovernment” is synonymous with “right-wing extremist?” Here’s the Christian Science Monitor:
John Patrick Bedell, whom authorities identified as the gunman in the Pentagon shooting on Thursday, appears to have been a right-wing extremist with virulent antigovernment feelings.
If so, that would make the Pentagon shooting the second violent extremist attack on a federal building within the past month. On Feb. 18, Joseph Stack flew a small aircraft into an IRS building in Austin, Texas. Mr. Stack left behind a disjointed screed in which, among other things, he expressed his hatred of the government.
Bedell was a truther – not a conspiracy theory popular with the right-wing. It is conspiracy theory popular with such “righties” as Rosie O’Donnell, Whoopie Goldberg and Van Jones.
Bedell’s apparent plan was to attack and kill military members in the Pentagon. Again, not the usual territory of right-wing extremists. However, the Pentagon was the target of left-wing antigovernment groups in the ’60s such as the Weather Underground. In fact, some of that group blew themselves up preparing a bomb for an army post. Ever hear of the Black Liberation Army? M19CO? Black Panthers? Revolutionary Action Movement? United Freedom Front? All left-wing extremist groups and all were virulently antigovernment. Has that all gone down the media memory hole?
Patterico points to a quote from Bedell’s online ranting that casts a different light on the Monitor’s claim:
This criminal organization would use its powers to convert military, intelligence, and law enforcement bureaucracies into instruments for political control, and the domination and subjection of society, while discrediting, destroying, and murdering honest individuals within those services, that work to root out corruption, and faithfully serve their fellow citizens. This organization, like so many murderous governments throughout history, would see the sacrifice of thousands of its citizens in an event such as the September 11 attacks, as a small cost in order to perpetuate its barbaric control. This collection of gangsters would find it in their interest to foment conflict and initiate wars throughout the world, in order to divert attention from their misconduct and criminality. The true nature of such a regime would find its clearest expression in the satanic violence currently ongoing in Iraq.
The “criminal organization” to which he’s referring is the Bush administration. This paragraph is the bread and butter of left-wing truther conspiracy theories. Does anyone remember the leftist claim that the World Trade Center destruction would be the basis for the Bush administration to impose martial law? Which side of the ideological spectrum consistently referred to the Bush administration as “criminal” and “war criminals”?
How then does a man who attacks the Pentagon, is a truther and uses the common language of the extreme-left of the past 8 years suddenly become a “right-wing extremist?” What is driving that rewriting of history?
The Pentagon attack and the destruction at the IRS building in Austin, Texas, come at a time of explosive growth in extremist-group activism across the United States, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks such organizations.
The number of US extremist paramilitary militias grew from 42 in 2008 to 127 in 2009, according to a just-released SPLC annual report.
So-called “Patriot” groups, steeped in antigovernment conspiracy theories, grew from 149 in 2008 to 512 in 2009 – an increase that the SPLC report judges as “astonishing.”
We’ve covered this. And this excuse for “journalism” by the Christian Science Monitor has twisted the Bedell attack into one from the right-wing as a pretext to further pimp the SPLC report. If it isn’t right wing extremism, the author can’t use the report as “proof” of the SPLC’s report’s validity. Apparently, that was the point of the article, not whether or not Bedell actually was a right-wing extremist. Pretty pathetic in my estimation.