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ADL: Distribution Of White Supremacist Propaganda Hits Record High; King Charles Misses Easter Tradition Amid Cancer Treatment; Dow Near 40,000 As Stocks Close Out First Quarter On Hight Note. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired March 28, 2024 - 15:30   ET



BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: An alarming new report shows 2023 was a record year for distribution of white supremacist propaganda.

The Anti-Defamation League says last year incidents rose 12 percent to more than 7,000 documented cases of racist, anti-Semitic, and anti- LGBTQ material distributed. It found a 30 percent rise in anti-Semitic propaganda in 2023, and anti-LGBTQ propaganda more than doubled.

For more on this story, we are joined by Jonathan Greenblatt, the CEO and National Director of the Anti-Defamation League. This, Jonathan, I mean, what a troubling spike we're seeing here. What's behind the trend, and what worries you the most about it?

JONATHAN GREENBLATT, CEO, ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE: Yes, Brianna, it's fairly alarming, but unfortunately, I think it's a sign of the times. And by the way, this was the second year in a row that ADL recorded the highest number of white supremacist propaganda incidents we've ever tracked.

We've been doing this work for decades and decades. I think there are multiple forces that are converging in this moment. So on the one hand, I think in this incredibly polarized, politicized environment, extremists feel emboldened because they see people with their views running for election board, running for, you know, other kind of local offices and people in positions of authority don't always call it out.

So number one, extremists feel emboldened. Number two, world events, they're trying to leverage that. We saw white supremacists putting out ugly anti-Semitic, anti-Israel messaging after October the 7th.

The convergence of right-wing extremists with left-wing anti-Zionists is real, and I think that has a lot to do with the 30 percent spike in anti-Semitic propaganda that we saw last year.

KEILAR: The report found the distribution of hateful propaganda was reported in every state except Hawaii and Alaska, and that the most reports of propaganda came from Virginia, Texas, California, New York, and Massachusetts. I wonder why you think there's such a saturation in those specific areas.

GREENBLATT: Well, we know some of the groups behind this are headquartered and based in those areas. So there's a bit of a Pareto principle, an 80-20 rule here.


A few number of groups are responsible for the vast majority. There's a group called the Patriot Front. They're in Texas. A group called the GDL. They're in Florida.

And the distribution in those states and the others that you mentioned have a lot to do with where they're able to coordinate their activities. I mean, make no mistake, Brianna, the activity is coordinated. It's organized online, and it's amplified by extremist chatter.

So this isn't happening in a vacuum. It's choreographed. Memes and images and flyers are created and spread through chat rooms and messaging apps.

That is in part how they're able to scale the distribution so dramatically. And I think it's scary to see extremists exploiting technology to do such terrible stuff.

KEILAR: And how do you combat that? Because as you mentioned, you have Patriot Front. And the numbers are staggering here. Patriot Front responsible for more than 60 percent of the propaganda distribution. And it's three white supremacist groups, which we put up there on the screen, including Patriot Front, that are responsible for 92 percent.

I mean, they are responsible for so much of this. How do you combat that when it is coming from these, you know, few places predominantly?

GREENBLATT: Yes, so one of the groups called the National Justice Party, they're using slogans that seem sort of right out of like a GOP campaign, like defund the FBI, or talking about the need for repelling the invaders. So they use language that seems political in nature.

But if you push down just a little bit, you see things like white solidarity, white power, and other really ugly stuff.

So what do we do to combat it? Well, number one, we need a whole-of- society approach. So people in positions of authority in the GOP or the Democratic Party need to call this out wherever it comes from, and all people in positions of power, whether you're the President of the United States, or a university president, or a PTA president, Brianna. That's number one.

I think number two, people in communal organizations, in this moment of great tension on so many fronts, we still need to see Jewish communities, you know, Christian communities, Muslim communities, finding ways to work together. That's really important.

And then number three, eventually, Brianna, I think we've talked about this before, social media. We need once and for all to think about, you know, more intelligent rules for the road that discourage social media companies from amplifying the most intolerant voices. You know, if it clicks, it sort of leads on social media, and that's got to stop once and for all. KEILAR: Yes, it certainly needs to get smarter on many fronts. I think many folks would agree with you on that. Jonathan Greenblatt, thank you for being with us.

GREENBLATT: Thank you so much. Always good to see you.

KEILAR: Jessica.

JESSICA DEAN, CNN HOST: We have some breaking news to tell you about just into CNN.

Forty-five people are reportedly dead and one seriously injured after a bus carrying Easter worshipers allegedly lost control and plunged off a cliff in South Africa. The lone survivor, an 8-year-old girl, has been airlifted to a hospital. According to the South African Broadcasting Corporation, the passengers were pilgrims traveling to the neighboring country of Botswana to a church for an Easter conference.

We're going to monitor this and bring you more information as we get it. In the meantime, stay with CNN NEWS CENTRAL. We'll be right back.



DEAN: King Charles had some encouraging words in his first public remarks since the Princess of Wales revealed her own cancer diagnosis. The King stressing the importance of care and friendship, especially in the times of need.

The pre-recorded audio message was broadcast in the king's absence at a historic royal Easter service. CNN's Nada Bashir has more.

NADA BASHIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jessica, typically the King would be in attendance at this church service himself, but he is, of course, undergoing cancer treatment, so he has instead shared an audio message.

Now, this message was recorded in mid-March, and while it did not directly address his cancer diagnosis, nor that of the Princess of Wales, it did address the importance of acts of friendship in times of need and touched on the king's gratitude for welfare services and organizations in the country.


KING CHARLES, UNITED KINGDOM: In this country, we are blessed by all the different services that exist for our welfare. But over and above these organizations and their selfless staff, we need and benefit greatly from those who extend the hand of friendship to us, especially in a time of need.


BASHIR: Now, this was the King's first public address since Catherine, the Princess of Wales, shared her shock cancer diagnosis last week. At the time, the King said he was proud of Catherine for her courage in speaking as she did and confirmed the two have remained in close contact over the last few weeks. The King, of course, revealed his own diagnosis in January and has since taken a step back from public- facing royal duties as he undergoes cancer treatment.

Thursday's church service actually marks another engagement in which Queen Camilla has appeared on behalf of the King, but he is expected to be at the Easter church service on Sunday morning at St George's Chapel in Windsor. There will be a smaller event with the Prince and Princess of Wales and their children not attending --Jessica.


DEAN: Nada Bashir for us. Thanks so much -- Brianna.

KEILAR: Now to some of the other headlines that we're watching this hour.

It's been called ugly. It's been called an eyesore. And now the university council says it has to go. Just take a look at this statue. It supposedly commemorates -- I know you wouldn't know by looking at it -- but it supposedly commemorates the late Prince Philip's 35 years as chancellor at Cambridge University.

And now the university's council says the 13-foot statue called The Dawn is of, quote, poorest quality, and must be removed by August.

And also something that we are watching very carefully. Prisoner exchange talks for Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, wrongfully detained in Russia, are ongoing. This is according to the Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov.

He says these negotiations must be carried out in silence to prevent complications. Gershkovich is accused of espionage, which are charges that the U.S. believes are baseless. Tomorrow marks one year since he was detained.

And the total solar eclipse in April is going to be visible for more than a dozen states, and a lot of Americans are spending some good money to go and see it. Hotels, campgrounds, cars even are booked. Viewing parties have been organized everywhere in the eclipse's path, from airline jets to amusement parks.

One economist projecting more than $100 million could be spent in Arkansas alone. This rare opportunity won't come around again for two decades, and you can join CNN for special live coverage of the eclipse across America starting Monday, April 8th at 1 p.m. Eastern. You can also stream it on Max.

That's us. That's this time. We're going to be doing this, and do not forget your special glasses. I know that I'll be wearing mine.

It is a busy day of trading. It's the last day of the quarter for Wall Street, and investors are hoping that the Dow might cross over that 40,000 mark before the closing bell rings. It's kind of been hovering, though, around the same place for a little while, so we will see. We're going to keep you posted.



DEAN: High interest rates? What high interest rates? Wall Street, minutes away from closing, and the first quarter of 2024 has been a record breaker for markets. It's been a roller coaster few days as we watch the data hit a record 40,000.

Let's bring in Richard Quest, CNN anchor and business editor at large. Richard, help people understand, what is approaching that number mean both for the perception of the economy and how the economy is actually doing?

RICHARD QUEST, CNN BUSINESS EDITOR AT LARGE: One will eventually affect the other. At the moment, people are still feeling what they call vibe session. The numbers are getting better.

On unemployment, it's going well down. Inflation has come dramatically down. The federal cut interest rates later this year, and growth is still maintaining quite reasonable numbers.

But people don't feel it. You don't feel it. I don't feel it. And the reason is we are still paying higher prices in the shops. We are still paying this higher rate of inflation. They rose. They haven't come down. And nor will they, by the way. And so people feel things aren't as good as they actually are.

But companies are making good money. And because they're making good money, the market is higher, and therefore you sort of see this.

By the way, on the question of when will it hit 40,000, it could happen any time, but this is what we call a psychologically important barrier. And when you get this, I know it sounds nonsense. I realize. But what tends to happen is it needs a oomph to get right the way through it. It'll go up there. It'll tease it. It'll fall back down.

It'll go up there. It'll get there and fall back down. It needs an oomph to go right the way through.

DEAN: All right. Well, it's going to be -- it's going to be interesting to see if we can get there. For the average American, Richard, maybe they have a 401K, but maybe they don't have any money in the stock market. So how does this impact them?

QUEST: It impacts them -- I mean, look, if you're not invested in the stock market but your company is doing well because you've got a job, then it impacts you. If you have your 401K, the Dow 30 and all those markets, that's what it's made up of. Everybody in some shape or form -- I mean, that is the beauty, in a sense, of capitalism.

It's also its weakest link, I hear the critics say. But everybody in some shape or form is affected. And I promise you this, having been through the 80s, 90s and 00s and seen how the market does affect Main Street, the moment the market is showing really good gains, you end up with the wealth effect, people feel better, house prices start rising again, and the trick for the Fed is to make sure the punch bowl isn't taken to the party full throttle.

But at the moment, we're just watching and waiting. I don't know whether it's going to make 40,000 today.

DEAN: All right, well, we shall see. Richard Quest, as always, thanks so much for laying it out for us. We appreciate it.

And you have heard of fighting fire with fire, but what about fighting heavy machinery with heavy machinery? A cop's clever solution.



KEILAR: When you think of a police chase, we've seen many of them in news, and you think of two cars speeding down the highway. Well, this was not that kind of chase.

DEAN: It was certainly not. It was two front loaders battling it out in the streets of Georgia, one pursuing the other in a low speed, very low speed chase. The whole thing caught on police body camera.

The suspect apparently allegedly stole the construction vehicle from his former employer and police said his other officers pursued the suspect. One officer returned to the business to get another one.

KEILAR: Naturally, and it turned out that it worked here. And you see this after a five-mile pursuit. Five miles, it took a long time. The officer was able to flip the suspect vehicle on its side. It turns out the 38-year-old suspect, who had been fired from the business last year, was arrested. No one was hurt.

Interesting message that that person was sending to their former employer.


DEAN: It's like one of those moments where you want the instant gratification, but maybe you should take a beat.

KEILAR: Yes, that's something you dream of, but don't fulfill that impulse.

DEAN: As I was saying, it was a rather impulsive act, and maybe you should do some breathing techniques first before you jump in that front loader.

KEILAR: Maybe in jail, that will be part of the program, depending on what happens here. But it could have been much worse.

DEAN: It's just so slow. OK.

KEILAR: So silly. All right, "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts right now.