Reasoning: Extreme Right, Propaganda, Conspiracy
World Press Freedom Rank: USA 45/180
Founded in 2009, Oath Keepers is a far-right, anti-government American organization associated with the patriot and militia movements. The group describes itself as a non-partisan association of current and former military, police, and first responders, who pledge to fulfill the oath that all military and police take in order to “defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” The founder and current leader of the group are Stewart Rhodes. Rhodes is a Yale Law School graduate, a former U.S. Army paratrooper, and a former staffer for Republican Congressman Ron Paul.
Funded by / Ownership
The website does not disclose ownership and revenue is derived through donations and the sale of branded merchandise.
Analysis / Bias
Oath Keepers encourages members – some of whom are current and former U.S. military and law enforcement officers – not to obey orders which they believe would violate the United States Constitution. The website publishes news stories from other sources such as this from Bloomberg: Trump Enlists Trey Gowdy to Help With Impeachment Fight. However, most news consists of calls to action such as this: Call to Action: Security Volunteers Needed in Lexington, KY to Protect Trump Rally-Goers and this Help us Prevent the Leftist Assaults on Trump Rally-Goers in Dallas. Editorially, Oath Keepers support President Trump and the far right.
Several groups that monitor domestic terrorism and hate groups describe the Oath Keepers as extremist or radical. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) describes the group as “heavily armed extremists with a conspiratorial and anti-government mindset looking for potential showdowns with the government.” The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) lists the group’s founder as a known extremist and describes his announced plans to create localized militia units as “frightening”. According to the SPLC, the group espouses a number of conspiracy and legal theories associated with the sovereign citizen movement and the white supremacist posse comitatus movement. SPLC senior fellow Mark Potok describes the group as a whole as “really just an anti-government group who believe in a wild set of conspiracy theories.”
A factual search reveals a failed fact check.
Overall, we rate Oath Keepers a Questionable source based on extreme right bias, promotion of conspiracy theories, and others labeling them a hate group. (D. Van Zandt 10/15/2017) Updated (11/3/2019)