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How far-right extremism has affected Idaho's pandemic response

Ammon Bundy standing on stairs outside the Idaho Statesman with two man standing on either side of him, one holding a sign that says "no immunity!"
Keith Ridler
FILE - In this Aug. 24, 2020, file photo, Ammon Bundy, center, who led the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupation, stands on the Idaho Statehouse steps in Boise, Idaho. Mainstream and far-right Republicans are battling for control of the party and the state in deeply conservative Idaho. (AP Photo/Keith Ridler, File)

Since the beginning of the pandemic, many public health officials in Idaho have called on people to put political differences aside to safeguard the community from COVID-19. Despite this, it seems as though political division has grown even more intense.

In fact, public health itself has become the main flashpoint. From protests against mask requirements to potential harassment of public health officials—and a recent act by Lieutenant Governor Janice McGeachin to stop vaccine mandates got national attention—and the examples continue to pile up.

So who or what is behind this? Idaho Matters is joined by Jane C. Hu, an independent journalist, who wrote about connections between public health pushback and far-right extremist groups in Idaho.

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Frankie Barnhill was the Senior Producer of Idaho Matters, Boise State Public Radio's daily show and podcast.