FACT CHECK: Islamic Terrorists Have Killed More in Domestic Attacks Since 9/11 Than the 'Right Wing'
In recent years the establishment media has pushed a narrative that right-wing terrorism has been exploding while domestic Islamic terrorism posed very little threat to Americans at all.
Just last year, media outlets claimed that so-called "right-wing" terrorists had killed more people since 9/11 than Islamic terrorists had. Even now the establishment media repeat this claim, despite the fact that even using their own preferred data sources, such claims are no longer true.
When that narrative was being spun last year, including by the New York Times, the data was at best questionable; after the jihadist terror attack in Orlando this past June, the claim isn't even debatable.
In fact, the number of those killed at the Orlando Pulse nightclub by Omar Mateen (49) was more than all the deaths from "right-wing" terrorism since 9/11 COMBINED (48).
This false media narrative is so ubiquitous that just yesterday Anthony De Rosa, digital production manager for "The Daily Show," was invoking it:
@davereaboi You are aware that there’s been more right-wing non-Muslim religious terror in America since 9/11 than Muslim, yes?
— Anthony De Rosa (@Anthony) August 17, 2016
But according to the most recent data from New America -- the same source cited last year by the New York Times and other media outlets, including taxpayer-supported NPR -- domestic jihadists have killed 94, while the number of murders attributed to "right-wing" killers is 48.
And yet the media "right wingers kill more than Islamic terrorists" narrative continues to circulate despite a string of deadly jihadist terror attacks in the U.S. since the media began circulating the claim last year.
When the media began to push this narrative in earnest in June 2015, the New America numbers cited in all the press articles claimed jihadists only were responsible for 26 deaths, while the "right wing" was blamed for 48 (note, that number hasn't moved since).
But when those articles appeared last year, some noted the suspicious attributions by New America on the "right wing" side of the ledger included suspects whose "right-wing" credentials were far-fetched at best.
Bloomberg View columnist Megan McArdle noted several "right-wing" cases in New America's data set that were dubious at best:
Counting the other types of extremist terrorism is a little murkier. Some of them are fairly obvious: When a white supremacist starts shooting people at a Sikh temple, I don't think we need to wonder too hard what his motives were. On the other hand, the data set The Times relies on also includes Andrew Joseph Stack, who you may remember piloted a small plane into an IRS building in Austin. Stack left a manifesto behind, and it doesn't exactly read like an anarcho-capitalist treatise. Oh, he's mad at the government, all right, but he's mad about ... the 1986 revision to Section 1706 of the tax code, which governs the treatment of technical contractors [...]
Its closing lines are "The communist creed: From each according to his ability, to each according to his need. The capitalist creed: From each according to his gullibility, to each according to his greed." Labeling this as a "deadly right-wing attack" is beyond a stretch; it's not even arguably correct.
McArdle identifies several other eye-rolling examples of New America's "right-wing" killers.
Florida State Professor Andrew Holt also looked at New America's data and criticized their cooked statistics for not including several cases of Islamic-inspired terrorist attacks, including D.C. Beltway snipers John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo, who modeled themselves on Osama bin Laden and conducted their attacks to extort money from the federal government to set up a terror training camp in Canada to wage war against the United States.
Professor Holt notes other cases excluded from New America's data set:
In June of 2006 in Denver, a man shot four of his co-workers and a swat team member, killing one. He later claimed he did it because it was “Allah’s choice.” In December of 2009 in Binghamton, a Saudi Arabian graduate student named Abdulsalam S. al-Zahrani killed Richard T. Antoun, a non-Muslim Islamic studies professor who served on al-Zahrani’s dissertation committee, in revenge for “persecuted” Muslims. Prior to the killing one of al-Zahrani’s roommates tried to warn the university administration that he had been acting “like a terrorist.” In 2012 in Houston, in two separate incidents in January and in November, two people were shot to death by a Muslim extremist for their roles in his daughter’s conversion to Christianity. In March of 2013 in Ashtabula (Ohio), a Muslim convert walked into a Christian Church during an Easter service and killed his father, claiming it was “the will of Allah.” In August of 2014 in Richmond (California) killed an Ace Hardware employee by stabbing him seventeen times, claiming he was on a “mission from Allah.”
So if New America is going to include a 2004 Tulsa bank robbery, why would they not include the May 2008 bank robbery in Philadelphia by three burqa-clad suspects inspired by "jailhouse Islam" that killed Sgt. Stephen Liczbinski, who died trying to apprehend them?
And if you're going to include the 2009 Pittsburgh police shootings (it's questionable whether they would be classified as "right wing"), why wouldn't you include the April 2009 killing of Philadelphia police officer John Pawlowski by Rasheed Scruggs, aka Rasheed Abdulghaffer, who Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey said may also have also been inspired by "jailhouse Islam"?
The reason is that the establishment media and organizations like New America are driving an agenda trying to spin up fears about looming "right-wing terrorism" while simultaneously downplaying domestic terror attacks.
It should be noted that the string of articles last year came right after the attempted terror attack on a Mohammed drawing contest in Garland, Texas, where law enforcement authorities killed the would-be jihadists before they could injure any civilians, and about a month before the Chattanooga terror attack that killed five.
As you'll see on the next page, the media has a history of bad luck spinning up the "right-wing terror" narrative.
Take for instance the New York Times op-ed by a former State Department counterterrorism official noting "The Declining Terror Threat" -- eight weeks before the 9/11 attacks.
Or a Peter Bergen opinion piece at CNN warning of the "Growing Threat of Right Wing Extremism" -- eleven days before the Boston bombings.
There are other media failures pushing the "right-wing terrorism" narrative. That's not to say that some would-be Timothy McVeigh couldn't kill dozens of Americans and upend these statistics.
But the whole agenda of warning about deaths from "right-wing terrorism" compared to Islamic terrorism becomes clear when you observe that these data sets begin their count THE DAY AFTER 9/11, something both Megan McArdle and Professor Andrew Holt note.
To talk about terrorism deaths on American soil while intentionally excluding the largest and most lethal terror attack in modern history is laughably lame. It would take a terror attack on an unimaginable scale for "right-wing" terrorism to ever catch up to Islamic terrorism's death toll.
And for anyone in the media to still repeat the now false claim that "right-wing" terrorism is more lethal than Islamic terrorism, without fact-checking the claim following a string of shockingly deadly jihadist attacks over the past year, is grossly irresponsible.
But don't be surprised when you still see the false claim bandied about by the establishment media and political hacks. Just note the agenda.