WASHINGTON (JTA) – A "current of anti-government hostility" has swept across the United States in the year since Barack Obama was elected president, a new Anti-Defamation League report found.
The report examines mainstream and more fringe expressions of such anger, which it says is characterized by a "shared belief that Obama and his administration actually pose a threat to the future of the United States."
"Some of these assertions are motivated by prejudice, but more common is an intense strain of anti-government distrust and anger colored by a streak of paranoia and belief in conspiracies," states the document, titled "Rage Grows in America: Anti-Government Conspiracies."
Among the sources and examples of that anger the report explores are the "tea parties," the "Birther" movement and the disruptions of congressional town hall meetings across the country.
The report also charges that some in the mainstream media have played a role in promoting anti-government anger, specifically singling out Glenn Beck of Fox News as a "fearmonger-in-chief" for making comparisons between Obama and Adolf Hitler.
The report also examines conspiracy theories circulating among anti-government extremists — such as the imposition of martial law and government confiscation of guns — and finds a "sudden and surprising resurgence of the militia movement" that peaked during the mid-1990s.