Will Potter is an American independent journalist, public speaker, and the Marsh Visiting Professor of Journalism at the University of Michigan. He has written for several publications, including the Chicago Tribune, The Dallas Morning News, and Legal Affairs. In his writings, he has focused on how the "war on terrorism" affects civil liberties. He has become a leading critic of the Green Scare, through his website, GreenIsTheNewRed.com. He has written several articles on this topic, as well as participating in conferences and giving lectures at universities, with some of his papers used in courses. In 2006, he spoke to the U.S. Congress about his reporting on these issues, and in 2008 his article about the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, was discussed in the book, Censored 2008, as one of the top 25 overlooked news stories of 2007.
Potter sees a parallel between the branding of current activists as "terrorists", and the use of the media in sensationalizing these cases, and the persecution of leftists in the Red Scare, during the McCarthy era. According to him, the Green Scare is a new phenomenon associated with environmentalist groups that may or may not engage in illegal activities, but are disproportionately attacked by the government for extra-legal reasons. He thinks that these government tactics are a threat to civil liberties which can progressively affect more groups and individuals.
He believes that labeling individuals as "terrorists" is being used as a fear tactic to discredit and suppress peaceful activists. He points out the obvious differences between what is generally accepted as terrorism and the tactics of certain activists. He believes the real motivation for this "terrorist" characterization is the defense of corporate profit and control over social activism. Potter believes that the targeting of animal rights and earth liberation movements, considered the number one domestic terrorist threat by the FBI, has nothing to do with security. He warns of repression extended to other groups protected by the First Amendment, in the future. He makes clear that he does not excuse acts considered criminal or say that they should not be prosecuted by law.
In 2006, Potter spoke to congress about the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act. He explained why he does not believe that pushing for a broader basis of prosecution among activists will deter the more radical fringe. He says they are motivated by ideology and not fear. Also, he called attention to the erosion of civil liberties for peaceful activists, while stressing the harm done in the name of state control and not security.
Potter appears in the 2014 documentary film Cowspiracy. He also delivers a spoken-word track about Eco-terrorism called We Will Never Forget on punk band Rise Against's Record Store Day exclusive The Eco-Terrorist in Me. The record's eponymous track is said inspired by Potter's book Green Is the New Red.
His reporting on the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act has been recognized by Project Censored “for outstanding investigative journalism,” as one of the top 25 “stories that didn’t make the news in 2007". He has also received the Mark of Excellence award for feature writing, presented by the Society of Professional Journalists, and recognition from Scripps Howard, Lantern Books and the Press Club of Dallas.