MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle incorrectly claimed Monday that right-wing extremists are responsible for “three times more deaths” than Islamic extremists.
“Between 2001 and now, we have seen three times more deaths caused by right-wing extremists than Islamic terrorists,” Ruhle stated during her show.
Assuming Ruhle was referencing a widely-cited report by the Government Accountability Office, Ruhle’s statement was not only misleading, but just plain wrong.
The GAO report found that between September 12, 2001 and December 31, 2016 there were 23 fatal attacks carried out by Islamic terrorists that caused 119 deaths. In the same time period, right-wing extremists carried out 62 fatal attacks that caused 106 deaths.
Islamic terrorists were thus responsible for more deaths than right-wing extremists, not the other way around. Right-wing extremists did carry out about three times more attacks, which could be what Ruhle meant to say on her show.
If one looks closer at the timeframe of the GAO study, one will note it starts tracking terror on September 12, 2001–one day after the deadliest terror attack in United States history. If the September 11, 2001 attacks are included, the number of deaths caused by Islamic terrorists jumps up by nearly 3,000.
Therefore, if the study were started one day earlier on 9/11, the ratio of deaths caused by Islamic terrorists versus right-wing extremists becomes 3,115 to 119, an incomparable difference.
Even with the charitable assumption that Ruhle meant to say right-wing extremists are responsible for more attacks, the fact that the report she is citing leaves out the deadliest terror attack in history makes it seem incredibly misleading.