NYT, Liberal Media Bury the Truth in Latest Mar-a-Lago 'Hate Group' Controversy
Two weeks ago, Mar-a-Lago caved to liberal pressure from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and cancelled an ACT for America gala. The SPLC slammed ACT for America as an "anti-Muslim hate group" and the liberal media repeated the smears. On Thursday, CAIR launched round 2, targeting another falsely accused "anti-Muslim hate group," and the media again uncritically repeated the attacks.
Yet the "hate group" in question, the Center for Security Policy (CSP), had just launched a project supporting Israel and fighting anti-Semitism. The group held a panel on these issues in Washington, D.C. last month. Fred Fleitz, former chief of staff and executive secretary of President Donald Trump's National Security Council and current president of CSP, repeatedly told news sources about the anti-Semitism initiative, but the three outlets that bullied Mar-a-Lago into cancelling the ACT for America event failed to mention the anti-Semitism project.
"I’m very proud of the Center’s recent efforts to defend the U.S.-Israel relationship and to fight anti-Semitism and I’m very disappointed that I repeatedly discussed this crucial program with numerous reporters, including the New York Times, and they refused to mention it," Fleitz told PJ Media on Friday. He repeatedly mentioned the program in interviews with the Times, the Palm Beach Post, and the Miami Herald.
Each of these outlets covered ACT for America event, repeating the "anti-Muslim" attacks against ACT for America. None of their stories about CSP mentioned the anti-Semitism initiative, though they all cited the SPLC's "hate group" accusation against the organization.
"The Trump Organization made the right decision to cancel a previous event hosted by an anti-Muslim hate group, and we call them to do so again," Robert McCaw, CAIR’s director of government affairs, said in the statement. "The president of the United States should not profit from a group that makes its money by demonizing an entire faith and whose founder traffics in widely debunked conspiracy theories, including that former President Obama is Muslim and that mosques want to destroy Western civilization from within."
The SPLC did not help launch the attack on CSP, but a spokeswoman agreed with CAIR when reached by the Palm Beach Post. Heidi Beirich, director of the Hatewatch project, said she was shocked to hear that CSP would host an event at Mar-a-Lago.
"This is a group the president should be denouncing, not allowing in his facility," she said.
Fleitz denounced the "anti-Muslim hate group" accusation as "outrageous." CSP gladly works with Muslims who oppose radical Islamic terrorism and Sharia supremacy.
"Muslim-Americans are an important part of our society, of the fabric of our society," Fleitz told The New York Times. "They are doctors and lawyers, friends and neighbors. I don’t want to see anyone discriminated against based on race, or religion or gender."
CSP also has many connections with the Trump administration, including Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president, and former CSP board member Charles Kupperman, a former deputy national security advisor who briefly served as acting National Security Advisor following the resignation of John Bolton.
The current CSP president noted that CAIR attacked the center by constantly referring to Frank Gaffney, the founder, rather than its current leadership.
Gaffney "doesn’t represent the center," Fleitz told The New York Times. "He’s not the president anymore. I’m the president. I set the agenda for the center. I think I’ve been very careful in trying to be respectful to everybody, no matter what their religion or race or ethnicity is."
Even the ostensibly damning quote from Gaffney — suggesting that Obama is a Muslim — was twisted out of context. In a 2009 Washington Examiner op-ed, Gaffney noted that President Bill Clinton had been dubbed "America's first black president." Gaffney wrote that according to "the standard of identity politics and pandering to a special interest that earned Mr. Clinton that distinction, Barack Hussein Obama would have to be considered America’s first Muslim president."
The CSP founder's very next sentence? "This is not to say, necessarily, that Mr. Obama actually is a Muslim any more than Mr. Clinton actually is black." In other words, Gaffney wasn't spreading the "debunked conspiracy theory" that "Obama is a Muslim."
The SPLC has repeatedly twisted quotes out of context and engaged in guilt-by-association attacks to demonize its political opponents. This far-left group faced a devastating racial discrimination and sexual harassment scandal in March. A former employee went public about how its "hate group" accusations are a fundraising scheme meant to destroy the far-left group's political opponents. The "hate" monitor has not condemned antifa or Students for Justice in Palestine, a group that enflames anti-Semitism on college campuses.
It seems particularly telling that the liberal outlets cited the SPLC's "hate group" accusation against CSP — which the SPLC does not apply to Students for Justice in Palestine — and omitted any mention of CSP's own initiative against anti-Semitism.
The Trump organization has not yet responded to requests for comment, from the Times, the Post, the Herald, or PJ Media.
Follow Tyler O'Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.