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IREHR in the Spokesman-Review: “Shawn Vestal: Harassment-by-document is latest stage in school board disruptions” – March 6, 2022

By March 6, 2022May 4th, 2023No Comments1 min read

Devin Burghart, executive director of Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights, was cited multiple times in Spokesman-Review.

“It’s the same tactic,” said Devin Burghart, executive director of the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights. “That kind of paper terrorism approach to dealing with important public policy positions is becoming a renewed feature on the right during the pandemic.”

Burghart said the addition of crackpot lawyering to the harassment of school board members reflects another step in the radicalization in the anti-vaxxer, anti-mask movement and the marriage of pandemic conspiracy with pre-existing anti-government movements.

As with other modern conspiracist organizing, the role of the internet and social media has been key. Facebook has been a particular locus for COVID-19 denial. Burghart’s IREHR identified more than 1,700 separate groups, with more than 2.5 million members, engaged in forms of COVID denialism.

“It’s important because it’s quickly radicalized a larger swath of the American public than we’ve seen in a long time,” Burghart said. “What used to take years now takes months.”

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Laura Gibbons

Author Laura Gibbons

Laura Gibbons is an IREHR research associate.

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