SPLC faults Bundy, BLM, press, politicians

The Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors extremist activity around the nation, has issued a 26-page report which faults Cliven Bundy and his supporters, and also harshly judges the Bureau of Land Management for bungling the April standoff near Bunkerville, and both politicians and journalists for “pandering to the far right.”

The SPLC said that the BLM let Bundy's grazing fee arrears drift for far too long before taking action. In addition, once the agency did take action, its sudden abandonment of the mission emboldened hate groups:

“The Bundy standoff has invigorated an extremist movement that exploded when President Obama was elected, going from some 150 groups in 2008 to more than 1,000 last year. … The fallout from the BLM stand down is very troubling: an even more emboldened antigovernment movement. Just in the months since the Bundy ‘victory,' tense standoffs between the BLM and antigovernment activists have taken place across the West—in Idaho, New Mexico, Texas and Utah. The scariest incident happened in Utah, where two men pointed a handgun at a BLM worker in a marked federal vehicle while holding up a sign that said, ‘You need to die.'”

The report called it “puzzling” that the BLM allowed Bundy 20 years “without paying grazing fees that all other ranchers pay.” It praised the U.S. Justice Department for recently reviving a domestic terrorism committee created after the Oklahoma City bombing that became dormant with the passage of time.

Noting that the media suddenly pulled back from Bundy when he made racial comments, the SPLC asked why race is sensitive but not armed rebellion.

“Racism was crossing a line, apparently, but the calls from the ranch for revolution and outright defiance of federal law enforcement seemed to be just fine with the Hannitys of the world.”

The report can be read at www.SPLCenter.org.