With its latest hate-mongering tirades, the Southern Poverty Law Center, widely viewed as an extremist anti-Christian hate group, has descended to comedic new lows, earning ridicule and criticism even from the establishment media that in the past have often parroted its screeds as credible. Even the Obama administration is now stepping back from relying on the group’s discredited and hateful propaganda, which was cited by a deranged SPLC devotee after his 2012 terrorist attack on a pro-family group.
The controversial Alabama-based organization, which produces hate-mongering lists aimed at demonizing conservatives, libertarians, and Christians while enriching its bosses, claimed this year that the number of so-called “hate” and “patriot” organizations was on the decline. However, that does not mean that gullible SPLC donors can rest easy. In fact, the organization’s propagandists say, groups and individuals the SPLC disagrees with are simply “growing leaner and meaner.”
Of course, the SPLC’s ramblings are often contradictory. First the “radical right” was supposedly exploding because Obama was half-black, for example, but now it is on the decline in part because Obama, who is still half black, was reelected. “And while the number of groups has diminished, they are still at historically high levels, far higher even than the very high number that was seen at the peak of the militia movement in the 1990s,” the group claimed.
Meanwhile, the SPLC itself has become increasingly discredited, Orwellian, and detached from reality as it seeks to label everyone to the right of Obama an “antigovernment extremist” or even a “hate” group. Consider that, according to the extreme leftist outfit, opposition to redefining marriage is now a hallmark of what it calls the “radical right.” As recently as three years ago, however, Obama was still against using government in an attempt to redefine the institution. Was Obama secretly a member of the “radical right” until recently? The SPLC did not say.
After being ridiculed even in the establishment press for including groups like the “Granny Warriors” on its dubious “patriot” list last year, the paranoid outfit continued to find similar scary groups hiding under virtually every bed in America. Many of the alleged “patriot groups” are actually just websites run by a single person. On its “hate” lists, meanwhile, the deceptive hysteria is similar, with the SPLC taking a few real hate groups such as every chapter of the KKK it can track down, then interspersing Christian and other mainstream groups it disagrees with among them for added effect.
Robert Spencer, who works to raise awareness about radical Islam, lambasted and ridiculed the SPLC tactics as propaganda aimed at soliciting more donations to pay the bloated salaries of its bosses. “The SPLC is merely a propaganda organ for the Left, tarring any group that dissents from its extreme political agenda as a ‘hate group,’” Spencer wrote, pointing out that the extremist outfit had concocted multiple “hate groups” out of thin air by attaching the label to organizations and websites run by himself and Pamela Geller. “So Pamela Geller and I are both four hate groups, and between us are responsible for five hate groups. Two people.”
As the outfit’s extreme anti-Christian bigotry also become more widely known, the SPLC’s ramblings are quickly falling out of favor — even with the establishment press and the Obama administration. In recent years, rather than parroting SPLC propaganda, news organizations such as CNN and USA Today have started highlighting how absurd some of its ludicrous claims are. Just last week, SPLC Senior Fellow Mark Potok was slammed and ridiculed on national television after claiming, citing “the best data,” that “now more than half of white Americans have these anti-black attitudes.”
CNN contributor Reihan Salam tore into the half-baked allegations. “I think that’s extremely misleading,” he said, adding that race-mongers are continually changing the definition of racism in an effort to find some as it plummets in the real world. “The thing is people are getting very creative in what they are characterizing as racism… When you look at hard statistics like interracial marriages, interracial friendships — when you look at the level of racial segregation — you’ve seen enormous progress over time and I think that we should celebrate it.”
Salam also attacked the SPLC itself. “But another thing is we have organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center that really have grown enormously in recent years,” he explained, urging viewers to be “wary of people who profit” from bogus claims of growing racism. “For example, in 1995 the SPLC had net assets of about $52 million, in 2011 they had net assets over $250 million and this is not a period of time during which racism increased by a factor of five, rather they have been able to grow by drawing on instances of this kind and then weaving them into a story about racism growing.”
Even the Obama administration’s Department of Defense, under heavy public pressure, has scaled back its use of discredited SPLC propaganda, removing much of it from its training material and websites. However, when mainstream Christian organizations found out that some SPLC-produced propaganda would continue to be foisted on troops as part of “equal opportunity education” schemes, outrage ensued. Now, conservative and Christian organizations viciously targeted by the SPLC for defending marriage plan to take their complaints to Congress.
“It's shameful that the Southern Poverty Law Center and any of their materials have been kept for use by the United States military,” said Bryan Fischer, director of issues analysis at the American Family Association, which is regularly demonized as a “hate” group by the SPLC for defending marriage. “The truth is that the military should have terminated completely any use of SPLC materials whatsoever…. I think you can make a pretty good case that the Southern Poverty Law Center is an anti-Christian hate group in its own right.” Fischer noted that pro-family forces have friends on Capitol Hill who may intervene if action is not taken to remove the SPLC’s propaganda from training programs.
Among the fringe SPLC’s big concerns in its 2014 paranoid ramblings, like last year, is the supposedly surging influence of conservative organizations such as The John Birch Society, a constitutionalist education group and an affiliate of this magazine that regularly has its chapters across America listed as “patriot” groups. The latest SPLC “Intelligence” report even includes a whole paranoid propaganda screed blasting the Birch Society and other conservative, liberty-minded groups for raising awareness about controversial UN-linked or -inspired programs — and stopping them.
“The idea, for instance, that the United Nations sustainability program known as Agenda 21 is a one-world government conspiracy originated in radical groups like the John Birch Society,” the radical group claimed in a separate screed. “But in January 2012 the Republican National Committee adopted a resolution describing it as a ‘destructive and insidious’ scheme that will impose ‘socialist/communist redistribution of wealth’ on America.” The SPLC reports also claim that “radical right” ideas are now becoming “mainstream” as top political leaders embrace them.
In addition to wild hate-mongering and extremism, the SPLC’s latest tirades also contain basic factual errors. “The doctrine of nullification, of course, was originally devised as an antebellum defense of slavery and then brought back to life by Southern states resisting school desegregation and the civil rights movement,” Potok wrote in his most recent ramblings styled an “Intelligence” report. In reality, of course, both Thomas Jefferson and James Madison cited nullification as a proper remedy for unconstitutional federal abuses in the earliest years of the American Republic.
In an ironic twist, the paranoid group also stepped up its fear-mongering campaign against essentially anyone to the right of Obama — the so-called “radical right” — saying the movement was “highly dangerous.” The hysteria and paranoia is especially bizarre considering the fact that deranged would-be mass-murderer Floyd Corkins cited SPLC propaganda when telling federal agents why he decided to perpetrate a terrorist attack against a pro-family group in Washington, D.C. He has since been convicted.
While the SPLC likes to claim that only the “radical right” disagrees with its increasingly outlandish propaganda, even prominent left-leaning analysts have blasted the group as basically a money-making scam that preys on gullible Americans. Civil rights attorney and Southern Center for Human Rights President Stephen Bright, citing investigations and even a federal judge, lambasted SPLC founder Morris Dees as a “con man and fraud” who takes advantage of “naive, well-meaning people” for his own benefit.
The donations might still be flowing, but as the SPLC increasingly becomes a laughingstock (and an inspiration to anti-Christian terrorists), its once relatively significant influence appears to be slowly crumbling. Aside from producing its discredited propaganda reports and scaring people into sending more money, the outfit is also currently working to shut down a small Jewish organization that helps people fight unwanted homosexual attraction. Donors might be willing to continue financing anti-Christian bigotry, attacks on freedom, and bloated salaries for SPLC bosses. The public, though, seems to be waking up to the scam.
Alex Newman is a correspondent for The New American, covering economics, politics, and more. He can be reached at