Rights & Liberties

The Evolution of All-American Terrorism

With right-wing extremist attacks on the rise, Reveal teams up with Type Investigations to track domestic terror during the Trump presidency.
MARK RALSTON/AFP via Getty Images
A makeshift memorial for victims of the shooting that left a total of 22 people dead at a WalMart in El Paso, Texas, on August 3, 2019.

The Trump years have seen an increase in domestic terrorist attacks linked by hateful ideologies that thrive online. Reveal teams up with Type Investigations to track every domestic terror incident from 2016 through 2019. We unpack the ideologies and tactics of American white supremacists and assess government attempts to combat them.

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Reveal’s Priska Neely introduces us to a survivor of the 2019 Walmart shooting in El Paso, Texas, and, with Type Investigations reporter David Neiwert, traces the racist ideology connecting that attack with the Pittsburgh Tree of Life synagogue shooting, along with other terrorist events.

Many of today’s domestic terrorists were radicalized online, adopting their extreme views without interacting with other extremists in person. Reveal’s Stan Alcorn explores how the online organizing of white supremacists and other right-wing extremists has evolved over the last few years, through the story of former white nationalist Joshua Bates.

Alcorn also looks into the FBI’s response to the rising tide of right-wing domestic terrorism. The agency claims it’s taking those threats more seriously, but U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, says the agency has been slow to provide details about exactly what it’s doing.

Listen to the episode on Reveal's website.

Reported by: Stan Alcorn, Darren Ankrom, Priska Neely and David Neiwert

Produced by: Stan Alcorn and Priska Neely

Edited by: Jen Chien, Taki Telonidis and Kevin Sullivan with Esther Kaplan and Soo Oh

Production manager: Najib Aminy

Production assistance: Amy Mostafa

Sound design and music by: Ramtin Arablouei

Mixing: Ramtin Arablouei

Special thanks: Sarah Blustain and Type Investigations, and Maha Ahmed, Richard Salame, Nikki Frick and Hannah Beckler for fact-checking.

Executive producer: Kevin Sullivan

Host: Al Letson

About the reporters

Stan Alcorn

Stan Alcorn

Darren Ankrom

Darren Ankrom

Priska Neely

Priska Neely

David Neiwert

David Neiwert

David Neiwert is an investigative journalist based in Seattle and a contributing writer for the Southern Poverty Law Center.

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