Non-Profit Leaders Call on Media to Stop Citing Southern Poverty Law Center

Forty-seven leaders signed a letter to "members of the media" explaining why the SPLC is dangerous.

Image of the Southern Poverty Law Center's "hate map," which appears on the organization's website.

By Liberty McArtor Published on September 6, 2017

Conservative leaders signed an open letter to “members of the media” on Wednesday. They want reporters to stop citing the Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPCL) “hate map.”

The 47 signers lead or represent non-profit groups, PJ Media reported. Many are labeled “hate groups” by the SPLC, alongside neo-Nazis and the KKK. Signers represent mainstream organizations like Liberty Counsel, Alliance Defending Freedom and the Heritage Foundation.

“The SPLC is an attack dog of the political left,” the letter declares.

Hate Group Lists Pepper Media Reports After Charlottesville

“Hate group” reports populated the media after Charlottesville, Virginia’s  “Unite the Right” rally last month. The rally included neo-Nazi and KKK participants. Violence between rally-goers and counter protesters climaxed when a white supremacist rammed a car into a crowd. Counter protester Heather Heyer, 32, was killed in the attack. 

Afterward many news outlets ran stories listing “hate groups” around the nation. Local outlets zeroed in on “hate groups” in specific states or regions. Journalists based their reports on data from the SPLC. But signers of Wednesday’s want that to stop. 

“The SPLC is a discredited, left-wing, political activist organization,” the letter states.  Moreover, the “hate group” label is dangerous.

Risk of Violence

The letter references the 2012 shooting at the Family Research Council (FRC) headquarters in Washington, D.C. The FRC is a conservative organization that promotes biblical family values. Five years ago, Floyd Lee Corkins II entered FRC offices with the intention of killing everyone inside. He only managed to injure one person before being stopped. Later he told the FBI he’d found the FRC and other intended targets on the SPLC’s “hate map.” Today, the SPLC lists the FRC as an “extremist group” for being “anti-LGBT.” FRC president Tony Perkins signed Wednesday’s letter.

“The SPLC is an attack dog of the political left,” the letter declares.

In a footnote, the letter references James Hodgkinson. The now infamous Bernie Sanders supporter attempted to massacre a group of Republican congressmen at a baseball practice in June. Hodgkinson, killed by police in the midst of his shooting spree, “liked” the SPLC on Facebook. 

The signers note that media outlets don’t intend to incite domestic terrorism. But they fear “another Floyd Lee Corkins will soon be incited to violence by this incendiary information.” 

No Longer Credible

The FBI stopped using the SPLC as a “trusted resource” in 2014, signers write. And they note that Laird Wilcox accused the SPLC of “bullying and stalking.” Wilcox is known for his research and writing on real extremist groups.

They also cite U.S. Ambassador to Israel Ron Dermer. In 2016 Dermer criticized the SPLC after it listed Ayaan Hirsi Ali among “anti-Muslim extremists.” Hirsi Ali is a female genital mutilation survivor. Today she speaks out against misogyny and abuse in the Muslim world.

“Ayaan Hirsi Ali is one of the world’s great champions of freedom, pluralism and tolerance,” Dermer said last year. “And every self-respecting group that claims to value any of those things should be defending her not defaming her.”

In closing, the conservative leaders ask whether a group like Planned Parenthood would receive such defamatory treatment from the media. Specifically, they ask whether media would publish a map titled “Here’s Where the Baby Killers are Located in Your State.” 

They answer their own question. “Clearly, it would not.”

Read the full letter here.

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  • Bob Adome

    The SPLC does not believe eye witnesses to true atrocities. They became blind in order to seek favor with their financial supporters. No different than the ACLU. They have become that which they hate.

  • tz1

    But Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc. will continue to use the SPLC…. Add PayPal and the other payment processors. So what does it matter if the #FakeNews media uses the SPLC or stops since it won’t matter.

    • Andrew Mason

      Why should non-Leftists rely on FB, Twitter etc? Instead of Twitter use Gab for instance. The biggest problem is getting pre-existing social networks to make the switch. Of course you could always simply boycott the services – life can exist without them!

  • Jerome Horwitz

    Class action.

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