Yesterday, a Department of Homeland Security report about the rising radicalization of “rightwing extremists” was leaked. The right wing was immediately incensed, viewing the report on radical “extremists” as an attack on “conservatives.” MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, for example, tried to suggest it was a report about Republican “loyalists.”
However, this morning, Fox News’s Catherine Herridge revealed that the report, along with an earlier report on radicalized left-wing groups, was actually “requested by the Bush administration” but not completed until recently:
HERRIDGE: Well this is an element of the story which has largely gone unreported. One looks at right-wing groups, as you mentioned. And a second is on left-wing groups. Significantly, both were requested by the Bush administration but not finished until President Bush left office.
Herridge’s reporting undermines her network’s own “reporting” over the past 24 hours. Since news of the DHS assessment broke yesterday, Fox anchors and guests have been seizing upon the report as evidence that the administration is trying to intimidate tea party goers or “stifle speech”:
— ANDREA TANTAROS: It’s free speech and the Obama administration is trying to shut it down.
— JAY ALAN SEKULOW: The Obama administration here under Department of Homeland Security has allowed a new regime to come into place that basically says this: Our focus is going to be on the right-wing groups.
— SEAN HANNITY: What do you think of that interpretation, especially coming from a guy that started his political career in the home of an unrepentant terrorist who bombed the Pentagon and capital and sat in Reverend Wright’s church for 20 years?
— DANA PERINO: If Bush had done that we would be having a very different conversation. It wouldn’t have taken a week to find it out. There would have been a special prosecutor. We would have had to come out and apologize.
Watch a compilation, ending with Herridge’s report:
To recap, the Obama administration was apparently following the lead of the Bush Homeland Security Department in assessing the very real threat of violent right-wing extremism. Indeed, Bush appointees such as FBI Director Robert Mueller have acknowledged the threat of right-wing extremism multiple times.
Of course, we can always trust Fox News to jump to conclusions before fully weighing the facts.