Reports of White supremacist propaganda, including racist flyers, stickers, banners and other signage, nearly doubled in 2020 compared to the previous year, a leading watchdog group said Wednesday.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) reported it was aware of 5,125 incidents last year involving the distribution or posting of White supremacist propaganda, up from 2,724 cases the year before.
“Hate propaganda is a tried-and-true tactic for White supremacists, and this on the ground activity is now higher than we’ve ever previously recorded,” ADL CEO Jonathan A. Greenblatt said in a statement. “White supremacists appear to be more emboldened than ever, and the election year, the pandemic and other factors may have provided these extremists with additional encouragement.”
White supremacist propaganda was spotted last year in every state but Hawaii at an average rate of around 14 instances each day, the ADL’s Center on Extremism (COE) reported on its website.
The ADL said the propaganda was distributed by at least 30 White supremacist groups, but mostly just three: Patriot Front, the New Jersey European Heritage Association and the Nationalist Social Club.
The ADL said 80% of all White supremacist propaganda incidents reported last year involved Patriot Front, a Texas-based group that has established a nationwide presence since forming in 2017.
Patriot Front distributed White supremacist propaganda in 48 states during 2020, the ADL reported. The group typically promotes itself with fliers and stickers rife with patriotic imagery and slogans.
“Propaganda gives White supremacists the ability to maximize media and online attention while limiting their risk of exposure or arrest,” explained Oren Segal, vice president of ADL’s COE.
White supremacist extremists pose the deadliest domestic terror threat facing the U.S., the Department of Homeland Security stated in its first annual homeland threat assessment released in October.
More recently, FBI Director Christopher A. Wray said this month that the number of White supremacist extremists arrested last year has almost tripled compared to when he was appointed in 2017.