Last week, the right-wing media outlet Newsmax — which receives 4 million unique monthly visitors and 130,000 print subscribers — published a column by conservative author John Perry arguing that a military coup could “resolve” the “radical left…Obama problem.” After being widely criticized, Newsmax retracted the column. However, the column appears to have encouraged an already angry group of anti-Obama radicals who have been plotting violence against the government.
While discussing the Newsmax column on his XM Sirius radio show last week, Michelangelo Signorile heard from a caller, “Jim from Oklahoma,” who explained that the idea of a coup is already being planned by a group of at least 200 people:
Pulling our government down, pulling our President out, and putting him back where he should be […] [using] the right to bear arms, it’s in the Constitution. […] We need a coup, there needs to be a coup and if the United States military won’t do it, we’ll do it.
Jim confirmed that he was “dead serious.” Although he was coy about specific details, Jim said that he was motivated by homophobia and an interest in bringing back slavery. A second caller confessed that her own mother has been scheming against the government because she has been captivated by racist thoughts and a belief that “Jesus is coming to overthrow Barack Obama.” She pleaded for people to recognize the extremist threat against Obama. Watch it:
– One of the paying sponsors of the 9/12 anti-Obama rally in September was the National Association for Rural Landowners, a group that references the incidents at Waco and Ruby Ridge to call for attacks on “government entities” and liberals. In a YouTube video posted in July, the group makes the case for a secession, followed by a violent civil war.
— Calling the government “destructive of our rights,” the founder of the popular conservative website FreeRepublic called for “removing from office the President of the United States, the Vice President of the United States and all U.S. Senators and U.S. Representatives effective immediately” in July. Republican lawmakers, like Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC), regularly use the website as a portal for talking points.
— Tea parties have been a constant venue for right-wing rage and calls for violence against the government. In April, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) told a crowd, “Thomas Jefferson once said that the tree of liberty will be fed with the blood of tyrants and patriots. You are the patriots.” ThinkProgress documented similar rhetoric from Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) and from rallies attended by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA). Americans for Prosperity, a group funded Koch Industries’ David Koch that works to plan tea parties, has sponsored speakers comparing health reform to the Holocaust.
— Prominent Republican politicians have framed top Obama agenda items as deserving violent resistance. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) has said, “I want people…armed and dangerous” against clean energy reform. Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) has floated the idea of secession in response to policies like the economic stimulus.
— Leading right-wing media outlets have called for “revolution.” Glenn Beck has hosted segments predicting “violent tax revolts,” Michael Savage often says, “We’re going to have a revolution in this country,” radio show host Jim Quinn has called for “riots” because “our country was built on revolution, and it’s about time we took it back.”
There have already been incidents of violence motivated by right-wing hate-speech. Richard Poplawski, who killed three police officers in April, posted videos of Glenn Beck on neo-Nazi websites and had said he was scared of the government. The Southern Policy Law Center has documented a steady rise in militia activity, and today reported on a new ominous YouTube video warning President Obama: “If you stay…‘We, The People’ will systematically dismantle you, destroy you and reclaim what is rightfully ours.”