The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has been waging a decade-long smear campaign against anyone who opposes its political views. Recently the SPLC’s over-the-top behavior caught the ire of well-known journalist and commentator John Stossel.
Stossel explains in a widely-publicized video that while he once believed in the center’s position, today’s SPLC regularly “smears people who don’t deserve to be smeared.” As an example, Stossel points to Ayaan Hirsi Ali , a Somali woman who survived female genital mutilation and now speaks out against extremist fundamentalism in Islam. Because Ali has been willing to publicly discuss what happened to her, she’s been accused of “anti-muslim rhetoric” and added to the SPLC’s “hate list.”
Stossel also notes the case of Majid Nawaz, who was once a radical jihadist but today speaks out against radical, political Islam. For opposing religiously-motivated violence, the SPLC has labeled Nawaz an “anti-Muslim extremist,” despite the fact that he remains a practicing Muslim.
In addition, Stossel points out that the SPLC’s designations have resulted directly in violence aimed at conservative organizations. For example, the SPLC decided to list the Family Research Council (FRC) as a “hate group” for opposing gay marriage on biblical grounds. In 2012, Floyd Lee Corkins, a volunteer at a Herndon, VA LGBT community center, attacked the FRC’s Washington, DC headquarters and shot an FRC employee. After his arrest, Corkins told FBI Agents that his goal was to “kill as many people as I could…” He also told investigators that he chose the FRC as a target after seeing it listed as an “anti-gay” group by the SPLC.
Stossel joins a long list of Independent journalists, including many who share the SPLC’s political viewpoints, that have accused the organization of libeling its political enemies. Similar, well-documented charges against the SPLC have appeared in Harper’s magazine, Politico, the SPLC’s hometown newspaper, the Montgomery Advertiser, and other well-known publications.
But why does the SPLC’s hate list continue to grow? Stossel says: “I suspect the center keeps its hate list long because crying hate brings in a lot of money…”
It seems the SPLC has invented a machine that converts hate into greenbacks. And the organization’s top executives have decided that ginning up quick money by flinging baseless accusations is a lot easier than actually assisting the poor and downtrodden of the American South.