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Mountain West Sees Rise In White Supremacist Propaganda, Report Shows

Patriot Front propaganda.
Courtesy Anti-Defamation League
Patriot Front propaganda.

The Mountain West saw a dramatic increase in white supremacist propaganda last year, according to a new report from the Anti-Defamation League.

The group tracked only physical propaganda, such as fliers, posters and stickers. It found that the number of instances more than doubled in some Mountain West states compared to 2019, reflecting what the report calls a "huge increase" nationwide.

Scott Levin, ADL's Mountain States director, says the propaganda is sometimes veiled in patriotic slang. But there's also more blatant, hateful messages. 

"From 'Antifa is a Jewish communist militia,' 'Black crimes matter,' 'Small hats, big problems' with a picture of a Jew with a yamaka," Levin said.

White supremacist propaganda spiked across the region, but the report found the biggest increase in Idaho, where ADL counted 30 instances in 2020 compared to four in 2019. In one of the more prominent examples, Boise's Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial was vandalized with Nazi imagery last December.

The study found that most of the propaganda came from a few factions, including one called Patriot Front, which has been active in the Mountain West in the past. The ADL says these hateful groups took advantage of heightened political anxiety last year to try to recruit more followers. 

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West in Montana, KUNC in Colorado, KUNM in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations across the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Copyright 2021 Boise State Public Radio News. To see more, visit Boise State Public Radio News.

Nate Hegyi
Nate Hegyi is a reporter with the Mountain West News Bureau based at Yellowstone Public Radio. He earned an M.A. in Environmental Science and Natural Resource Journalism in 2016 and interned at NPR’s Morning Edition in 2014. In a prior life, he toured around the country in a band, lived in Texas for a spell, and once tried unsuccessfully to fly fish. You can reach Nate at nate@ypradio.org.
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