Raw Story wins first place award for riveting piece by Oath Keeper founder's son
Dakota Adams (author provided)
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Raw Story, an investigative news site, won a first place award in Editor & Publisher’s 26th annual awards contest for an opinion piece written by the son of an anti-government militia group that had a key role in the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol attack.

Dakota Adams, the son of Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes, describes his gradual deprogramming from the paranoid, far-right worldview of his father’s militia group, in “How I left the far right,” published by Raw Story in July.

In his vividly written essay, Adams describes how he “went from being a teenage militiaman who believed in Pizzagate to casting off [his] birth name of Dakota Stewart Rhodes and joining BLM and pro-choice protests.”

With typical humility, Adams offers some insights into his own peculiar path as his father and four co-defendants currently stand trial for seditious conspiracy in a historic proceeding underway in Washington, D.C.

“If we are ever to understand and solve the most significant social problem plaguing America today — the modern rise of violent extremism, oftentimes tacitly encouraged and condoned by some of our own political leaders — we need to hear from more folks like Dakota Adams,” noted Raw Story Editor-in-Chief Roxanne Cooper.

Adams became estranged from his father Stewart Rhodes in 2020 as he embarked on an ever more radical path that eventually led him to the US Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Along with his mother, Rhodes’ ex-wife, Adams has become increasingly vocal about the abuse his father allegedly subjected their family to as well as the danger he says his father poses to the future of democracy in the United States.

In his essay for Raw Story, Adams outlined a dual responsibility for himself — to share his particular experience about how he extracted himself from the Oath Keepers to help “millions of people who have lost family and friends to right-wing cult behavior.”

Adams vividly explains how he was made “vulnerable to exploitation” by a “belief in the end of days and sinister conspiracy theories” that his father and other movement leaders instilled in him. As someone raised in the Libertarian antigovernment movement, Adams surprisingly sidestepped a number of far-right outgrowths, including the alt-right, the misogynist GamerGate campaign, hardcore white supremacy and QAnon, but it was the MAGA cult that eventually swept him up in 2015 and 2016.

In Trump, Adams writes, he saw “a glimmer of hope that things might be fixed, and certainly a chance to strike back at the Establishment that I blamed for the awful state of the country and my life.” In his despairing assessment of the country in 2016, Adams saw Trump, not so much as a savior, but as “the Bigly-est brick the American people could pick up and throw through the White House windows.”

Raw Story’s Eppy Awards win comes on the heels of another honor for a Raw Story piece that exposed South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem’s use of a government aircraft for personal and political travel. That piece was a finalist for a 2022 Florida Society for Professional Journalism’s Barbara A. Petersen Freedom of Information Act award.


With more than 10 million readers per month, Raw Story is the largest independently-owned progressive news site in the U.S. The site has a long history of tracking anti-government militia groups and predicted the Jan. 6, 2020 Capitol riot in a piece published the morning of the attack entitled “We’re gonna kill Congress”: Trump’s far-right supporters promise violence at today’s DC protests.”

Editor & Publisher, in print since 1901, is considered the “bible” of the U.S. newspaper industry and provides extensive coverage of digital media. Its annual awards recognize print and digital media in an array of categories including enterprise, opinion and business reporting.