On Wednesday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg went on Fox News to criticize Twitter’s extremely biased “fact-check” on President Donald Trump. This led Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) to demonize Fox News as a “hate-for-profit machine.” Yet Warren herself has regularly cited a corrupt left-wing smear factory notorious for its hate-for-pay scam.
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has long exaggerated the threat of “hate groups” in America, scaring donors into ponying up cash. The SPLC has more than $500 million in its endowment. Indeed, former SPLC employee Bob Moser recalled mocking the organization with these words, “The S.P.L.C. — making hate pay, we’d say.” Someone should write a book about it.
The SPLC routinely smears mainstream conservative and Christian organizations “hate groups,” listing them along with the Ku Klux Klan. Since the SPLC gained fame by bankrupting KKK groups and their allies in the 1980s, this smear carries undue weight. For instance, Amazon excludes 501(c)3 charitable organizations from its charity platform due to the SPLC accusation.
Last year, the SPLC fired its co-founder, Morris Dees, amid a decades-long sexual harassment and racial discrimination scandal. After Dees was fired, former employees came forward, admitting their complicity in the “con.” The SPLC’s “hate group” list not only exaggerates the number of “hate groups” by listing defunct or essentially non-existent groups along with the KKK, but it also tars the reputations of law-abiding mainstream conservative and Christian organizations like the Family Research Council (FRC), Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), and ACT for America.
The “hate group” accusation inspired an attempted terrorist attack at FRC. Even left-leaning activists like former ACLU President Nadine Strossen have condemned the accusation against ADF, and the SPLC continues to pad its “hate group” numbers by listing ACT for America chapters that no longer exist. In 2018, the SPLC paid $3.375 million to settle a defamation lawsuit from Muslim reformer Maajid Nawaz, whom the SPLC defamed as an “anti-Islamic extremist.”
Due to these and other scandals, many organizations have called on Amazon to drop the SPLC, not all of them conservative. The non-partisan New Tolerance Campaign urged the tech company to drop the “hate group” list, calling its use a “clear case” of “the unequal application of tolerance in mainstream American culture.” One of the organizations unfairly accused by the SPLC, the Christian charity D. James Kennedy Ministries, has sued Amazon along with the SPLC for defamation.
Yet the SPLC continues to push its smears. In January, the SPLC testified before Congress that its number of “hate groups” is a statistically significant measure of the increasing threat of white supremacist terrorism, and used that number as an argument for Big Tech censorship.
Warren has relied on the SPLC at twice, and likely more than that.
Last August, she sent a letter to Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Kathy Kraninger, demanding an investigation into Paul Watkins, the man in charge of the CFPB’s Office of Innovation.
“We have grave concerns about Mr. Watkins holding the authority to waive anti-discrimination laws given his prior employment at Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) – a group that has been designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center,” Warren and House Democrats wrote.
Specifically, Watkins worked with ADF’s Blackstone Legal Fellowship, a program that advises law students. During his hearing, Watkins explained, “I did not engage in advocacy, I did not engage in litigation — my job was as part of a component of that group that advises law students. I did not represent parties in court, I did not advocate for policies in the legislature.”
Yet any connection with an SPLC-accused “hate group” is regarded as anathema by Democrats like Warren.
Warren also cited the SPLC during her campaign for president. Last November, she released a plan to fight “white nationalist violence.” In that document, she accused President Donald Trump of not only ignoring the threat of “white nationalists and affiliated violent extremists,” but of having “openly stoked these fires.”
“He has cozied up to white nationalists – even hiring some, like Stephen Miller, into his White House. Trump has made one racist remark after another. He has put in place racist policies, from the Muslim Ban to his ongoing effort to build a monument to hate on our southern border,” the Democrat insisted.
Regarding Stephen Miller, Warren linked to the Southern Poverty Law Center’s report claiming Miller sent white nationalist literature in emails while working in the office of Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.). As PJ Media’s Leo Goldstein pointed out, the SPLC does not quote from Miller’s emails, but Miller has not denied sending links from websites that publish white nationalist opinion to Breitbart. Democrats in Congress teamed up with leftist advocacy groups to demand his resignation.
Miller, who is Jewish, argued that Democrats accusing a Jew of being a white nationalist is “inherently anti-Semitic.”
“Families like mine have been persecuted by individuals holding a white nationalist or white supremacist ideology. My family for generations, going back to Eastern Europe, has been the victims of this ideology,” the White House staffer said. “To say to a Jewish person that you hold the very ideology that has persecuted your own family is so profoundly inappropriate.”
Warren may have relied on the SPLC in other ways, as well. In January, she condemned Trump’s judicial appointees as “homophobic,” “racist,” “sexist,” and “anti-voter.” In this condemnation, the senator echoed 12 other Democrat-aligned senators who have demonized Trump’s nominees for their faith. In one case, Al Franken, who has since resigned, slammed Judge Amy Coney Barrett for speaking at an ADF event, even comparing ADF to the Cambodian dictator Pol Pot.
Fox News is not a “hate-for-profit machine,” but the Southern Poverty Law Center is. Warren should be ashamed of her reliance upon it.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.