‘SPLC has lost all credibility…’
(Michael Barnes, Liberty Headlines) As the Southern Poverty Law Center faces criticism from both sides of the political spectrum and talk of implosion, 67 conservative organizations called on the media to stop citing it as an expert in right-wing “hate groups.”
The nearly 50-year-old, Alabama-based SPLC was once a shining light in the civil rights movement—but rather than close shop in the wake of tremendous social gains, the supposedly nonprofit, public-interest organization morphed into an anti-conservative political attack-dog with half a billion dollars in assets.
For years, the SPLC has launched vicious—but lucrative—attack campaigns against conservative individuals and groups that happen to fall on the wrong side of the progressive organization’s left-wing bent.
In some cases, it’s been forced to apologize. In others, it’s paid out millions in defamatory claims. Regardless, the media has continued to use SPLC information and politically motivated labels—like “alt-right” and “white supremacist”—when reporting on its many targets.
The group’s controversial and highly disputed “hate map” has been a go-to resource for many mainstream-media journalists while lumping legitimate advocacy groups such as the Christian-based Alliance Defending Freedom and the Center for Immigration Studies into the same category as neo-Nazis.
On Wednesday, 67 conservative organizations called on the media to stop the disingenuous practice—especially since the SPLC appears to have allegedly practiced racism, discrimination and sexual harassment for years within its own ranks.
“SPLC has lost all credibility. We call on all media, corporations, social media companies, and financial institutions to immediately stop relying on their discredited and partisan ‘hate’ and ‘extremist’ lists,’” a joint letter reads.
The letter cites the recent firing of SPLC co-founder Morris Dees as the point of no return for those in the media who continued to act as if the organization were credible, despite years of obvious warning signs.
“The SPLC’s ability to deflect and parry seems to have ended with its March 13 firing of Morris Dees, its co-founder and leader for almost five decades,” the letter says. “Dees’ firing was not the only shoe to drop. Within ten days both the president, Richard Cohen, and the legal director, Rhonda Brownstein, had left the SPLC.”
Leaked internal communications have revealed that the SPLC’s mostly white leadership was awash in complaints from both women and minorities, while top brass allegedly ignored or covered up the complaints.
Cotton said the SPLC successfully fundraises off of conservative defamation, and has more than $500 million in assets. According to recent financial statements, the SPLC also keeps $121 million in offshore, non-U.S. equity funds.
“Based on these reports, and in the interest of protecting taxpayer dollars from a racist and sexist slush fund devoted to defamation, I believe that the SPLC’s conduct warrants a serious and thorough investigation,” Cotton said.