The media needs to stop listening to the Southern Poverty Law Center

According to Townhall.com columnist Matt Barber, the far-left wing “Southern Law Poverty Center” (SPLC) used to do good work. But alas, he writes, “power corrupts.” Barber recently wrote about the SPLC’s classifying one Illinois website as a “hate site” in his piece,

Southern Poverty Law Center Officially Declared “Left-Wing Hate Group”

Because the KKK and other valid targets of the SPLC’s work have all disintegrated into tiny and unimportant fringe groups, the SPLC has branched out into now attacking any organization that doesn’t agree with its far left wing agenda.

Matt Barber quotes Ken Silverstein, writing for Harper’s Magazine:

“Today’s SPLC spends most of its time – and money – on a relentless fund-raising campaign, peddling memberships in the church of tolerance with all the zeal of a circuit rider passing the collection plate…

“The American Institute of Philanthropy gives the Center one of the worst ratings of any group it monitors,” continued Silverstein. “Morris Dees doesn’t need your financial support. The SPLC is already the wealthiest civil rights group in America, though [its fundraising literature] quite naturally omits that fact.”

Matt Barber then asks: “So, what happens when a dragon slayer – paid per dragon head – runs out of real dragons to slay? Well, he invents new ones, of course.”

[A]s the real dragons dry-up, new dragons emerge: “Tea Party” conservatives; Evangelical Christians; anti-abortion zealots and anti-gay bigots (read: pro-life and pro-family traditionalists); and, of course, gun-toting, knuckle-dragging 2nd Amendment rednecks. All bundled together – courtesy of the SPLC and Janet “the system worked” Napolitano – in that neat little pejorative package know as – Dun-Dun-Dun! – THE RIGHT-WING EXTREMIST! (You know, basically Middle America.) …

In recent years the SPLC reports have been utterly tainted – weaponized and used against the leftist group’s ideological and political adversaries. This is a despicable, bad faith abuse of others’ good will, and of the SPLC’s past reputation.

Case in point: Recently, the SPLC came under fire for comparing the “Tea Party” movement and other grassroots conservatives to “terrorists.” …

Even more recently, the SPLC launched another in a series of politically motivated attacks against a well-respected Christian organization. The group arbitrarily tagged as an official “hate group” Americans for Truth about Homosexuality (AFTAH).

AFTAH promotes biblical morality, opposes the radical homosexual activist lobby and publicly decries both violence and hatred against homosexuals or anyone else. Although it has been in operation for a number of years, the SPLC only recently labeled AFTAH a “hate group” after being pressured by the Chicago-based “Gay Liberation Network” to do so.

GLN is a fringe group of self-described Marxists and sexual anarchists best known for disrupting peaceful Christian gatherings with raucous, bullhorn laden protests. In a twist most ironic, GLN leader Bob Schwartz once threatened AFTAH founder Peter LaBarbera in front of witnesses, telling him that if the police weren’t present at a rally, he would have pushed LaBarbera into oncoming traffic. (“Hate crime, anyone?” Love that “tolerance” and “diversity.” Where’s the SPLC when you need them?)

You can only cry wolf so many times before people begin to ignore you.

Unfortunately, local press outlets like the Naperville Sun picked up the story and put an outrageous headline on the article: “Web site called hateful by civil rights group.”

My friend Laurie Higgins had a better headline for my post:

“Website Fallaciously Called ‘Hate Group’ by Bogus Civil Rights Group and its Ethically Challenged Leader Mark Potok.”

To read more about Laurie Higgins’ dealings with the SLPC, click here. To learn more about that Illinois website that is the target of the attack (Americans for Truth), click here. To read Matt Barber’s column, click here. Matt closes his column with this:

“Hater Matt Barber hatefully sits on the hate-filled board of the official SPLC ‘hate group’ Americans for Truth.”

©2010 John Francis Biver