If you want to see conservatives get all twisted into knots, try asking them why, if it makes sense for Peter King to hold his Islamophobic hearings on the supposed threat of domestic terrorism from Muslim Americans, we shouldn't hold similar hearings examining why we're seeing a real surge in domestic terrorism by right-wing extremists.
Take, for example, Bill O'Reilly last night. He got all bent out of shape over Mark Potok's exchange with CNN's Suzanne Malveaux earlier this week:
MALVEAUX: If you can from your study of tracking radical groups, potentially hate groups, what do you think of this hearing? Is al Qaeda radicalizing Muslims? Is that our biggest homegrown terrorism threat right now?
POTOK: Well, I think it's not our biggest domestic terror threat. I think that pretty clearly comes from the radical right in this country. Although I would certainly not minimize the threat of jihadist terrorism in this country. Obviously, we have seen a fair amount of it.
Of course, O'Reilly deceptively edited out the last two sentences, and then replied:
O'REILLY: Are you kidding me? The radical right? The last terror act assigned to them was the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. I mean, think about what the guy just said. Muslim terrorists have killed tens of thousands of people all over the world, correct?
How many people have the radical right killed?
Well, Bill, just to get you up to speed: There have been many, many more right-wing terrorist acts on American soil since 1995 -- including the bombing of the Atlanta Olympics in 1996, just for starters. All told, there were over 60 major cases of right-wing domestic terrorism in the ten years after Oklahoma City.
Even more important, let's talk about just the past two and a half years:
We've documented, to date, 22 cases of domestic terrorism since July 2008 involving right-wing extremists of various stripes, all inflicting (or attempting to inflict) violence on a variety of "liberal" and government targets. Compare this to the Bipartisan Policy Center's report on homegrown Islamic-radical terrorism, which documented only seven incidents, all of which occurred in 2009.
Which not only raises the question, "Why not hold hearings to explore the growing radicalization of far-right extremists?", but a similarly pertinent: "Where are the media?"
This is especially the case, given that the SPLC recently released a fresh report finding that the number of hate groups in America, for the first time ever, now exceeds a thousand. This was a key point Potok discussed in his appearance on Cenk Uygur's MSNBC show.