On Wednesday, the CBS Early Show once again feared a rise in right-wing extremism as co-host Russ Mitchell cited a report from the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center: "A report out this morning says anti-government and white racist militias are regrouping around the country. The Southern Poverty Law Center says it is in part a reaction to the election of America’s first black president." [Audio/video (1:21): Mp3 | WMV]
The CBS morning show touted a similar report from the liberal group on April 15, with co-host Harry Smith declaring: "The Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Report found 926 active hate groups in the country. That’s up more than 50% from just 2000...And they say part of it is because of the election of President Obama." Smith went on to describe how that report coincided with a controversial Homeland Security report that was released at the same time.
The Wednesday story was reported by correspondent Bob Orr, who cited anecdotal evidence:
In April, three Pittsburgh police officers were shot and killed by an avowed white supremacist. Almost two months later, an anti-abortion rights protestor gunned down a doctor in Wichita. And just two weeks after that, a lifelong neo-Nazi shot and killed a security guard at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. While the three events are not directly connected, a new report from the Southern Poverty Law Center argues they are evidence that the threat from militias and extremists is on the rise.
Orr further detailed the "right-wing" threat: "The report says 50 new militia training groups have popped up in just the last two years. Gun and ammunition sales are skyrocketing. And right-wing extremists, historically motivated by a distrust of government, are now especially angry about the election of America’s first black president."
At the end of the 8:02AM ET news brief, Orr concluded: "The report concludes the threat is not as grave as it was in the ‘90s, which brought the fiery standoff at Waco and the bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building. But as one law enforcement source puts it, ‘a dangerous mix is brewing and all that’s missing is a spark.’"