MSNBC's Joy Reid: 2009 Homeland Security Report On Right-Wing Extremism Proven True

It seems the hosts of MSNBC’s daytime programs for June 10 have been sharing the same, predictable anti-conservative talking points concerning the Las Vegas shooting earlier this week. While Andrea Mitchell asked her guest if the increase in violence had anything to do with having an “African American president,” Joy Reid claimed that these events proved the rise of “right-wing extremism.”
Reid stated that the discredited Department of Homeland Security (DHS) report from 2009 has proved “to be self evident by what we’re seeing.” Although the report that described the “rise of right-wing extremism”coming from “disgruntled military veterans,” among others, was later withdrawn due to conservative outrage, Reid’s guest, Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center, agreed with Reid, insisting that the report was “spot on.” [See video below. Click here for MP3 audio]

Seeking to make conservative and Republicans themselves in some way culpable for the deadly violence, Reid used a clip of House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) refusing to classify the act as “domestic terrorism” as evidence of conservative denial. Potok concurred, claiming that while Boehner attempted to blame these incidents on “mental illness,” he ignored the real cause: a radical response to “social changes,” such as “the loss of white majority,” and a “demographic browning” of the United States, leaving the DHS “crippled” in its attempts to fight domestic terrorism.

MSNBC is leaning forward so heavily on this meme that it’s falling over itself to paint blood on the hands of mainstream conservatives for the violence of mentally-disturbed extremists who have nothing to do with the conservative movement.

See transcript below

The Reid Report
June 10, 2014
2:19 p.m. Easterm
2 minutes and 31 seconds

JOY REID: Yeah, indeed. You know, back in 2009, Mark, the Department of Homeland Security put out a report on right-wing extremism that got a lot of people angry because they felt it was unfair to even talk about right-wing extremism. But this is what they said, they said

Despite similarities to the climate of the 1990s, the threat posed by lone wolves and small terrorist cells is more pronounced than in the past years. In addition, the historical election of an African American president and the prospect of policy changes are proving to be the driving force for right-wing extremist recruitment and radicalization.

That seems to be self evident by what we’re seeing, and yet this was John Boehner commenting on what happened, the killing of these two police officers and a civilian in Las Vegas. This is, this is how he responded when asked if this can be classified as domestic terrorism. Take a listen.

JOHN BOEHNER: I'm not sure how I would describe it, but clearly we had a couple of sick individuals who engaged in a horrific crime and our hearts go out to those families, especially to the families of those two officers who went down in there.

REID: Mark, what do you think is behind the reticence to just classify this as domestic terrorism?

MARK POTOK: Look, I just think Boehner is entirely wrong. And he’s had a bit of a track record of wanting to make all of these incidents into mentally ill people. Sure, there’s mental illness in the patriot movement and in other radical groups just as there is in society at all. But that is not is what is driving this movement. The 2009 DHS report that you referenced that DHS, in a terrible move, repudiated, after getting criticism from the right, was in fact spot on. What we are seeing, as many of us understood back then, is a response, a reaction to the many social changes that are going on in this country. In particular, the loss of the white majority, the kind of demographic browning of the population that Barack Obama really represents. So the DHS report accurately looked at what the factors were out there, did not, in fact, defame conservatives as all potential Timothy McVeighs as a whole lot of critics on the right suggested and really should have been paid attention to. And what happened in the aftermath was that the whole unit  fell apart. They were being dissed by their own supervisors, by Janet Napolitano sand they’ve now all left so DHS is working in a crippled fashion with regard to non-Islamic domestic terrorism.

Laura Flint
Laura Flint is a 2014 summer intern for the MRC's News Analysis Division.