Mar 17, 2021 - Politics & Policy

White supremacist propaganda distribution doubled in 2020, report finds

A bald man with a swatztika on his head.
Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

White supremacist propaganda nearly doubled in 2020, reaching record highs, according to a report by the Anti-Defamation League.

The big picture: The ADL's Center on Extremism tracked 5,125 incidents in which "racist, antisemitic and anti-LGBTQ fliers, stickers, banners and posters" were distributed, averaging more than 14 per day. It tracked 2,724 incidents in 2019.

  • The spike in incidents was part of "an effort to normalize white supremacists’ message and bolster recruitment efforts while targeting minority groups," the ADL wrote.

At least thirty white supremacist groups distributed the materials, and three groups were responsible for 92% of incidents. The Texas-based "Patriot Front" alone was responsible for 80% of the propaganda that was tracked.

  • The ADL tracked the highest level of propaganda in Texas, Washington, California, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Virginia and Pennsylvania. Hawaii had none.
  • There was a 68% increase in antisemitic propaganda distribution from 2019.
  • Propaganda cases on college campuses dropped by more than a half, per the ADL, likely due to COVID-19 restrictions.

What they're saying: "Propaganda gives white supremacists the ability to maximize media and online attention, while limiting the risk of individual exposure, negative media coverage, arrests and public backlash that often accompanies more public events," the ADL wrote.

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