MSNBC’s op-ed is being criticized online for claiming that working out is linked to far-right politics

An MSNBC columnist has been derided for writing an op-ed warning that the far right is using drills as a means of recruiting new supporters.

Cynthia Miller-Idriss, an extremism researcher and a professor at the School of Public Affairs and at the School of Education at American University in Washington DC, wrote the article to express her concerns.

Entitled “Pandemic Fitness Trends Have Gone Extreme β€” Literally,” the article claimed that “white supremacists’ latest plan to valorize violence and hypermasculinity has gone digital.”

On Monday, she was mocked online for the piece with Elon Musk and Joe Rogan denouncing the idea that sports are linked to extremism.

“MSNBC thinks you’re a Nazi if you train lmaooo,” Musk tweeted. He later claimed, “Parody and reality are becoming indistinguishable.”

‘Being healthy is ‘far right’. Holy f***,” podcaster Joe Rogan exclaimed on Twitter.

Cynthia Miller-Idriss, an expert on extremism, wrote a highly publicized column that went viral on Monday as people denounced her suggestion that sports were linked to extremism

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Miller-Idriss wrote, β€œIt appears the far right has taken advantage of pandemic home fitness trends to expand its decade-long radicalization of physical mixed martial arts (MMA) and martial arts spaces.”

She admitted in the article first published last year that “fitness is, of course, a staple and hobby for many people, for whom it is fun and rewarding for brain health and overall well-being.”

But, she warned, in some cases sports are being corrupted by neo-Nazis.

“The intersection of extremism and fitness leads to a shared obsession with the male body, training, masculinity, testosterone, strength and competition,” she wrote.

Physical fitness, especially in martial arts, appeals to the far right for many reasons: fighters are trained to accept significant physical pain, to be ‘warriors’ and to embrace messages of solidarity, heroism and brotherhood. It has been hailed as a tool to help combat the “coming race war” and the street fighting that precedes it.

‘Recruits are encouraged to link individual moral virtues such as willpower, decisiveness and courage to desirable collective qualities such as virility and masculinity.

“This also works in reverse, with white supremacists encouraging potential recruits or activists to stay in good physical shape as a way of managing self-presentation to the public.”

Miller-Idriss pointed out that the far right’s embrace of physical fitness is not new, noting how Hitler encouraged boxing and jujutsu.

A gym used by far-right figures can be seen in a photo shared by anti-extremist group Hope Not Hate

A gym used by far-right figures can be seen in a photo shared by anti-extremist group Hope Not Hate

Prepubescent German boys practice fighting moves during a Hitler Youth training session

Prepubescent German boys practice fighting moves during a Hitler Youth training session

She argued that the problem is more pronounced in Europe, where “several reports point to the role of martial arts and MMA in radicalizing and promoting far-right violence.”

She noted that a Maryland skinhead group once ran a gym to “recruit and train white supremacists in mixed martial arts,” and four members or associates of the racist Rise Above Movement pleaded guilty to conspiracy to riot after the neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville in 2017.

Their founder Robert Rundo runs what has been described as the “Alt-Right’s first MMA club.”

Rundo was arrested in Romania in March on a US warrant for inciting violence after three years on the run.

Romanian police said he allegedly gave mixed martial arts training to members of the movement.

He is also accused of posting videos of the group attacking people at political rallies online and has also been active in Serbia and Bulgaria, advocating the formation of small fighting groups with a violent neo-Nazi ideology.

Romania is currently considering his extradition.

Miller-Idriss has a history of posting articles linking various everyday activities to neo-Nazis. In March, she wrote about homeschooling and alleged ties to extremism.

The article, also published by MSNBCdescribed a Neo-Nazi themed homeschooling channel in Ohio.

“The story draws attention to a strategy that has long been key to white supremacist groups: indoctrinating their children through, while keeping them away from what they see as the brainwashing multiculturalism of public schools,” she wrote.

She has long researched extremism and ‘youth radicalisation’ and spoke about it often.

Musk has become an outspoken critic of many

Musk has become an outspoken critic of many “awake” ideas and has posted his thoughts on Twitter

Rogan discussed the agenda of the far-left, slapping the teaching of 'anti-racism' at a nine-year-old in California in April

Rogan discussed the agenda of the far-left, slapping the teaching of ‘anti-racism’ at a nine-year-old in California in April

Meanwhile, Musk has become an outspoken critic of the “woke” agenda that pushes far-left ideals.

Last week, Musk responded “interestingly” to a story that showed that people who put “she/they” on their resumes were less likely to get an interview. Musk has previously blasted the use of trans pronouns, seemingly responding to the article to support his objections to their use.

Rogan has also spent countless hours on his podcast discussing the awakened story.

In April, Rogan attacked a California school district that awoke a parent’s nine-year-old daughter to “anti-racism.”

β€œThese kids aren’t even remotely racist. For example, they have all kinds of different friends,” Rogan said at the time. β€œI’ve never once heard them talk about it. It’s just ‘I like this person and she’s nice to me and we like to play together and we both like the same things,'” he said. “So to tell a 9-year-old you have to be anti-racist, well, they’re going to look for racism, they’re going to look to confront it.”