Report: Pennsylvania Among Top 5 States For Incidents of White Supremacist Propaganda Last Year

LANCASTER, PA - MAY 20: Demonstrators attend a counter protest rally, organized by the NAACP, in response of a planned Klu Klux Klan rally to be held nearby May 20, 2017 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. A Maryland-based chapter of the Ku Klux Klan says it plans to hold a cross lighting in Quarryville, PA. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)

By Ashley Adams

March 14, 2023

According to a report from the Anti-Defamation League, more than 400 incidents of white supremacist propaganda distribution were reported in Pennsylvania during 2022.

White supremacist propaganda hit an all-time high nationally in 2022, and Pennsylvania was among the top five states for incidents, according to a report from the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism.

The commonwealth accounted for 413 of the 6,751 incidents of white supremacist stickers, fliers, and other literature reported to the ADL last year. While the state’s total number of incidents decreased from the 473 reported in 2021, the overall amount nationally rose 38% from the previous year. 

Last year also saw the distribution of antisemitic propaganda more than double across the country, rising from 352 incidents in 2021 to 852 in 2022. 

Propaganda distribution was reported in every US state except Hawaii, with the highest levels of activity in Texas, Massachusetts, Virginia, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, respectively.

Propaganda campaigns allow white supremacists to maximize media and online attention for their groups and messaging, while limiting the risk of individual exposure, negative media coverage, arrests, and public backlash that accompanies more public activities, according to the ADL. Propaganda, which affects entire communities, allows a small number of people to have an outsized impact.

In 2022, at least 50 different white supremacist groups distributed propaganda, but three groups were responsible for 93% of the activity:

  • Patriot Front. The Texas-based group has two large chapters in the commonwealth. They were behind 80% of all incidents and were most active in Massachusetts, Texas, Michigan, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Utah respectively.
  • Goyim Defense League: An antisemitic network that uses propaganda to blame Jews for a variety of perceived social grievances, including pornography and abortion, this group was responsible for about 7% of the overall incidents and 58% of the reported antisemitic propaganda incidents.
  • White Lives Matter: This group was behind 6% of all incidents and were most active in Washington, Montana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and New York.

Author

  • Ashley Adams

    In her 16 years in the communications industry, Ashley Adams has worn many hats, including news reporter, public relations writer, marketing specialist, copy editor and technical writer. Ashley grew up in Berks County and has since returned to her roots to raise her three children.

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