For several years, PBS Frontline has collaborated with ProPublica to investigate the rise of extremism in the United States. In the aftermath of the January 6th riot at the Capitol building, Frontline, ProPublica and Berkeley Journalism’s Investigative Reporting Program teamed up to examine how far-right extremist groups had evolved in the wake of the deadly 2017 Charlottesville rally. American Insurrection is a report that draws on this extensive background to examine the latest developments and pose questions about where these extremist movements may be headed.
Investigate journalist A.C. Thompson reports on the background of the white supremacists and neo-Nazis involved in the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, 2017. The event itself was chaotic and violent, amidst a backdrop of general passivity by the police and supine intelligence agencies, peaking on the day with a self-identified white supremacist ramming his car into a crowd of protesters, killing a young woman, Heather Heyer, and injuring 19 other people. Documenting Hate contextualises the events of that day by looking at the renewed trajectory of fascism in the United States, and the kinds of people attracted to its place in modern times, while profiling some of the characters from Charlottesville that lurked in the background. The second part of the investigation deals with the wake of the deadly anti-Semitic attack at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, showing how a neo-Nazi group, Atomwaffen Division, has actively recruited inside the United States military.
In the United States, a year after Joe Biden’s inauguration, around two-thirds of Republican voters believe his election was illegitimate, and the idea that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump is now a defining issue of the Republican Party. Yet the story of how lies about election fraud made their way to the center of American politics has not been fully told. Plot to Overturn the Election traces the hidden sources of misinformation about the 2020 election, demonstrating how a handful of people have had an outsized impact on the current crisis of democratic legitimacy.