Fresh Air from WHYY, June 18, 2009 · Chip Berlet has studied extremism, conspiracy theories and hate groups for more than 25 years. In a recent report for PublicEye.org, he says that the murders of abortion provider Dr. George Tiller and Holocaust Museum guard Stephen T. Johns exemplify the potential for violence that often lurks within extremist groups.
Berlet argues that right-wing pundits share some of the moral responsibility for the actions of their followers. He summarizes the analysis in his report in a June 10 Huffington Post article about Johns' murder: "Apocalyptic aggression is fueled by right-wing pundits who demonize scapegoated groups and individuals in our society, implying that it is urgent to stop them from wrecking the nation."
Berlet is a senior analyst at Political Research Associates, a Boston-area-based think tank, and the co-author of Right-Wing Populism in America: Too Close for Comfort. He is also the editor of Eyes Right! Challenging the Right Wing Backlash.