Yesterday was a scary day for America, after an intense and terrifying plot was unearthed by the FBI and announced to the world.
On Thursday, authorities announced the arrest of 13 people connected to a right-wing militia group who were involved in a plot to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. The group had also dabbled in explosives, and were planning to blow up a pedestrian bridge to make it harder for first responders to stop them.
As expected, the media was all over the story, disseminating every salacious detail ad nauseam throughout the day.
Whitmer herself took offense to one very specific aspect of the coverage, however.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Friday that the men charged with plotting to kidnap her and storm the state Capitol should be referred to as domestic terrorists, not members of any militia.
“They’re not ‘militias.’ They’re domestic terrorists endangering and intimidating their fellow Americans. Words matter,” the governor said in a tweet.
On Thursday, federal and state prosecutors charged 13 members of an armed group with planning to kidnap the governor and other violent, anti-government acts as part of an effort to ignite a wider civil war. The group’s organizers face felony domestic terrorism charges.
The confusion over the terminology is nothing new.
Multiple news organizations referred to the extremists as “Michigan militia” members. In the 1990s, several anti-government groups in the state united under the name Michigan Militia, but in recent years, the term has been used for all similar organizations there, Amy Cooter, a senior lecturer at Vanderbilt University who has studied such groups, told the Detroit Free Press, which is part of the USA TODAY Network.
Several of Whitmer’s would-be captors were identified in photos from an incident earlier this year in which militia groups stormed the Michigan State Capitol, demanding an end to coronavirus lockdowns and the resignation of Whitmer.
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