How did this story line grow? Many of the claims that extremism is on the rise in America originate in research done by the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based group that for nearly 40 years has tracked what it says is the growing threat of intolerance in the United States. These days the SPLC is issuing new warnings of new threats. But today's warnings sound an awful lot like those of the past.Please note that all these threats are supposed to be from Americans—normal people would think that September 11 and the first Gulf War might be said to have involved a threat to Americans from foreigners, but the SPLC and similar groups always form a â€?Society for the Protection of Enemy Aliensâ€? after any such attack.
In 1989, the SPLC warned of the growing threat of skinheads, saying, "Not since the height of Klan activity during the civil rights era has there been a white supremacist group so obsessed with violence. ..."
In 1992, the SPLC warned of the growing threat of other white supremacist groups, which it claimed had grown by 27 percent from the year before.
In 1995, the SPLC warned of the growing threat of right-wing militias.
In 1998, the SPLC warned of the growing threat of Internet-based hate groups, which according to one press account had "created the biggest surge in hate in America in years."
In 1999, the SPLC warned that the growing threat of Web-based hate groups was growing even more, with a 60 percent increase from the year before.
In 2002, the SPLC warned of the growing threat of post-Sept. 11 hate groups, which it said had grown 12 percent between 2000 and 2001.
In 2004, the SPLC warned (again) of the growing threat of skinhead groups, whose numbers it said had doubled in the previous year.
In 2008, the SPLC warned of the growing threat of hate groups overall, whose number it said increased 48 percent since 2000.
And in 2010, just a few weeks ago, the SPLC warned of the growing threat of "patriot" groups, which it said increased by 244 percent in 2009.
In the world of the Southern Poverty Law Center, the threat is always growing. Ronald Reagan's policies led to a growing threat. The first Gulf War led to a growing threat. The election of Bill Clinton led to a growing threat. The Internet led to a growing threat. Sept. 11 led to a growing threat. The war in Iraq led to a growing threat. Is it any wonder that Obama's presidency has, in the SPLC's estimation, led to a growing threat? [What's behind the anti-Tea Party hate narrative?, By Byron York,Washington Examiner, April 20, 2010]