The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Dan Bice went after state Rep. Joel Kleefisch, R-Oconomowoc, for speaking to a group of “Three Percenters,” which Bice describes as a “fringe, anti-government group.”
State Rep. Joel Kleefisch says he knew next to nothing about the Three Percenter movement when he recently agreed to speak to a local chapter of the fringe, anti-government group.
“I was asked to speak to a patriot group,” the veteran lawmaker said. “I spoke to a patriot group.”
But the Three Percenters are more than just a bunch of American patriots. The group has garnered attention in recent days when a man charged with trying to detonate a bomb in downtown Oklahoma City allied himself with the group.
Jerry Drake Varnell, 23, told undercover agents that he was acting out of a hatred for the U.S. government and an admiration for Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, according to the criminal complaint. He also said he agreed with the Three Percenter ideology and was hoping to start the next American revolution.
Of course, Bice did not let his readers know that the Three Percenters said Varnell was not a member of the local organization in Oklahoma until November, that Varnell was quickly disavowed by the group, or that Varnell suffers from schizophrenia that may have driven him to commit rape on a previous occasion. Varnell’s plot was also apparently partially inspired by the movie, “Fight Club,” according to the New York Times. (It is unknown at this time if Bice considers Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, and Meat Loaf to be a “fringe, anti-government group.”) That unreported important information would destroy the link for readers between Kleefisch and Varnell through the militia group.
Bice also uses a Twitter post from an anonymous leftwing poster with only 47 followers for a picture of Kleefisch with the group even though the photo is still available on Kleefisch’s Facebook page. The leftwing Twitter poster’s caption, “You just posted a picture of yourself with the 3% ers, a white nationalist group,” is included in the Journal Sentinel article even though the “white nationalist group” clearly has at least one African American member. (Bice must believe Clayton Bigsby is a real person.)
The anonymous leftwing Twitter post Bice uses was in response to a Kleefisch post, “That today the face of hatred still threatens President Lincoln’s vision enforces the need for vigilance as we honor his convictions.”
In the article, Bice also claims that the sign of three being flashed by the members suggests “a more nefarious meaning when used by those in the white supremacist crowd.” However, the Anti-Defamation League says that the hand gesture is not a white supremacist sign. Bice fell for an internet hoax:
Has the simple thumb-and-forefinger “OK” hand gesture become a white supremacist hand sign? Well, no, it hasn’t, but you are likely to hear just the opposite from social media, thanks to the latest hoax from members of notorious website 4chan.
The site 4chan is an anonymous discussion board with an outsized cultural impact on the Internet. It has been responsible for everything from the “I can haz cheeseburger” cat meme to the concept of rickrolling. There is little that 4channers like so much as a hoax and in recent months they have served up a number of fakeries with white supremacist themes to largely credulous on-line audiences.
There is also no evidence in the article that Kleefisch endorsed any far-right anti-government ideas in his presentation to the group:
Kleefisch said he accepted an invitation from a longtime friend, Gary Oliver, to speak with the Three Percenter affiliate at the Range of Richfield — which advertises itself as “the ultimate shooting experience” — a couple of weeks ago about the current legislative session.
Brad Miller, a 41-year-old Pewaukee resident and a member of the local group, distanced his organization from the national one, saying the Wisconsin chapter doesn’t promote radical anti-government views. Miller said his group backs limited federal and state government.
Told the group supports the U.S. Constitution and Second Amendment rights, Kleefisch said he updated the members on firearms-related legislation as well as other matters. He said he spoke for 15 to 20 minutes.
“Everybody deserves to know about legislation if they want,” Kleefisch said. He said he neither supports nor defends the Three Percenter beliefs.
However, Bice does conclude the article with the obligatory quote from Scot Ross of One Wisconsin Now which has its own radical agenda against free speech for conservative speakers, something Bice fails to mention in the article.