White Supremacist Propaganda Efforts in U.S. Rose by 182 Percent in 2018

The Anti-Defamation League reported 1,187 incidents in 2018, up from 421 in 2017 ■ Efforts included flyering, with campus incidents on the rise

File photo: Demonstrators carry confederate and Nazi flags at the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, on August 12, 2017.
Emily Molli / NurPhoto

White supremacists dramatically stepped up their propaganda efforts in 2018, targeting American neighborhoods and campuses to never-before seen levels.

Such efforts increased by 182 percent, to 1,187 distributions across the U.S., up from 421 total incidents reported in 2017, the Anti-Defamation League reported Tuesday.

The number of racist rallies and demonstrations also rose last year, with 91 white supremacist rallies or other public events attended by white supremacists held in 2018, up from 76 the previous year. In addition, hate groups increasingly used so-called “flash mob” tactics to avoid advance publicity and scrutiny.

In most cases the identities of individual members were hidden, according to the ADL.

“Posting fliers is a tried-and-true tactic for hate groups, one that enables them to spread hateful ideas and sow fear across an entire community,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, the ADL’s national director. “Hate groups were emboldened in 2018, but their increasing reliance on hate leafleting indicates that most of their members understand this is a fringe activity and are unwilling to risk greater public exposure or arrest.”

ADL recorded 319 incidents of white supremacist propaganda appearing on 212 college and university campuses in 37 states and Washington, D.C.,  up from 292 campus incidents in 2017.

The number of noncampus community propaganda efforts soared to 868 from 129 incidents. “Alt-right” groups were responsible for the majority of these efforts.