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Nancy Smith

Southern Poverty Law Center: 'Sham' Authority on Hate Groups

March 28, 2019 - 9:00am
Morris Dees, SPLC co-founder
Morris Dees, SPLC co-founder

It's not often, if ever, I've picked a bone with even-handed News Service of Florida. But the bias in NSF's Tuesday story, "Group Works to Sway 'Sanctuary Cities' Bill," sticks out like a chapel hat peg.

Writer Ana Ceballos "exposed" the interest various groups have shown to help Sen. Joe Gruters, R-Sarasota, draft SB 168, his red-hot bill to ban sanctuary cities in Florida.

I have no problem with that. Special interests with a dog in the hunt in virtually any controversial legislation will beat a sponsor's door down to effect the language that tumbles through the committee process. It's absolutely a public service to shine a light on who's pitching policy that could become state law.

But we in the media should do it fairly. Do the same homework, apply the same standards to lobbyists on all sides of the issue. If Ceballos had done that, I would be commending her now.

I'm referring to Ceballos' blind faith in the Montgomery, Ala.-based Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). 

Apparently without checking out the Southern Poverty Law Center's reputation or its long fall from grace, she set this organization as The Authority on hate groups. In truth, though, she's not the only journalist to blindly trust this organization.

The SPLC, which enjoys a sterling reputation in the press as a serious and knowledgeable authority on bigotry and extremism in the U.S., does this to great effect with sleek gimmicks such as its infamous “hate maps” and “hate lists,” all of which are shared widely by an extremely eager, fawning news media." 

I wish she'd first Googled SPLC, which The New Yorker magazine refers to as "a highly profitable scam."

Which constitutional law attorney J. Matt Barber calls in Renew America, "corrupt to its core."

Which The Washington Examiner calls "a scam" and describes its business model as centering "entirely around keeping donors in a state of constant, wallet-opening panic.

The list goes on and on.

Though always left of center, the Southern Poverty Law Center once had a reputation as a fairly objective civil rights group. Founded by direct-marketing millionaire Morris Dees and partner Joseph Levin Jr. in 1971, the SPLC made important and honorable contributions to many of the historic civil rights gains of the 20th Century. According to its own materials, the SPLC was "internationally known for tracking and exposing the activities of hate groups."

But its lofty purpose crumbled more than 20 years ago as it transformed into a machine for raising money and launching left-wing political attacks. Dees perfected his money-raising skills by fearmongering with manufactured hate, labeling more and more nonviolent Christian right organizations hate groups, and as the lawsuits against him piled up. Lately the Center has become more of a threat to free speech and civil debate than a defender of the weak or a foe of violent extremism.

Ken Silverstein, writing for Harper's Magazine, addressed this untoward metamorphosis in 2000: "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."

The Los Angeles Times reported in March that SPLC had fired 82-year-old Dees over unspecified misconduct. Though the organization's leadership didn't provide specific information, a letter signed by about two dozen employees -- and sent to management and the board of directors before news broke of Dees’ firing -- said they were concerned that internal “allegations of mistreatment, sexual harassment, gender discrimination, and racism threaten the moral authority of this organization and our integrity along with it.”

It doesn't bother me that the NSF reporter uses negative terms like "hard-line" and "controversial" to describe groups like the Center for Immigration Studies and FAIR. But it does strike me as profoundly unfair that the Southern Poverty Law Center, which has labeled these "hate groups" for no good reason I can find,  gets no reality check. None at all.

Reports Ceballos, "The Southern Poverty Law Center website categorizes the Center for Immigration Studies and FAIR as a 'hate groups' because John Tanton, who helped form the groups, has expressed his wish that America remains a majority-white population: a goal to be achieved, presumably, by limiting the number of non-whites who enter the country.” 

Presumably? That's a lot of presuming.

The bottom line here is, it's inappropriate for the media to continually cite SPLC as an authoritative source on hate without acknowledging its progressive agenda and conflation of extremist groups with mainstream ones.

Please Google the Southern Poverty Law Center for yourself.

Reach Nancy Smith at or at 228-282-2423. Twitter: @NancyLBSmith.


The SPLC had a good, highly profitable scam going on while it lasted as evidenced by their impressive bankroll, however I think reality has caught up with these fraudsters. They will have to spend a considerable amount of that capital to try and buy back their credibility.

The SPLC has become a hate group over the years which needs to be de-funded and pushed to the toilet status of society much like the KKK.

This is so silly. The SPLC is a shell of what it used to be and stood for. They have lost relevancy in contemporary and has, in my opinion, zero credibility in what they say and do. They lost their moral authority years ago and integrity as well. Anyone who hitches their wagon to the SPLC now-a-days must be desperate on several levels.

There's no more "hate" among the people that support the SPLC and the work it does than is evidenced on Sean Hannity's Fox News TV program every night ... EVERY NIGHT!

So then, STOP WATCHING HANNITY "Chuckles"!

Well, Breezy, I stopped paying any serious attention to Fox News years ago when I realized it was nothing more than a propaganda tool that Murdoch and Ailes were using to advance their rightwingnut political agenda. Hannity is a disaffected former roofer simply spewing his peculiar variety of hate and venom for a lot of money. There are a couple of other nutcases appearing there regularly who are just as bad as Hannity.

So I suppose this newsletter and your readers are experts on the subject of hate groups. These letters confirm you are not an expert on the subject. You are part of the problem at this point.

The SPLC has long been an activist arm of the left, on par with Media Matters, Now a number of the members of its leadership have been pushed out for the very type of intolerance they supposedly were fighting against. It is a sham outfit.

Hey Florida Southie - You guys on the right can't stand facts. Media Matters has been calling the Right out for years and all the Right does is try to paint them wrong. But never has. Just like your Judicial Watch, and the Swift Boat guys - fancy name that's all they are with no substance. Fox News? Should be Called Pravda West as the real Pravda would be jealous of the propaganda it has fed the minions who buy the Cow Caca.


THE WALL: The Border Patrol, DHS, ICE our Military & the Army Corps of Engineers have all endorsed the need for a wall numerous times almost nightly. Barrack Obama’s own border patrol chief, Mark Morgan, has repeatedly stated that walls work. They free up resources to focus on the points of entrances so they can detect more contraband and illegals. TPS / DACA To Democrats/Progressives/Socialists (whats the difference?) programs like Temporary Protective Status (TPS) or Deferred Action for Childhood arrivals (DACA) are permanent programs. There is nothing "temporary or deferred" about these programs to Democrats. These programs are designed to admit refugees (usually from the third world) then Democrats fight to keep them here permanently using the charge of racism, religion, guilt against anyone opposed. Simple formula works great. THE PRICE: Democrats view U.S. citizens as acceptable collateral damage to their future long range goals of flooding the country with refugees & illegal aliens and having taxpayers paying the cost. Democrat politicians and their voters have put families at risk of being victimized by illegal aliens as in the cases Kate Steinly (nothing done) then, Mollie Tibbetts, (nothing done) Police Cpl. Ronil Singh, (nothing done) now Bambi Larson; butchered in her home, nothing will be done...who's next? These victims would be alive today if our border was secured. Most of these killers have been deported numerous times. Bambi 's killer claimed "amnesty" to get into the country. Sanctuary city's where you have protection for illegal aliens, gang members, illegal alien felons fleeing ICE. What a place to raise a family. Google search "illegal alien crime" or "victims." Preventable victimization's. THE STAMPEDE: Democrats offer rewards, incentives so.....More caravans on the way. The current migration at our border is costing U.S taxpayers a Kings ransom. Fleeing persecution? or fleeing for freebies? they sure don't stay in Mexico when they reach "safety" or ask or offered political asylum in Mexico. Why? because Mexico will give them NOTHING. So they make the long journey to our border, our generous Democrats, and our tax dollars. Notice how many have made the long, difficult, dangerous journey to our country 8-9 months pregnant? Give birth on American soil and the U.S. taxpayers will not only pay for the birth of you're child but will also give you state government assistance.

Notice how many Russians are doing just that? You have no issues with Russian babies being born here right? Yea I know, they are White. Your bigotry shows loud and clear.

The "Southern Poverty Law Center" is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING for ANY American to be proud of,.. and the word "sham" doesn't come anywhere near the lowest description that SHOULD be applied to this despicable organization,... that gives the word "Southern" a distasteful connotation..!

spoken like a true fat slob from NY... You and spanky are twins...

I'm only trying to counterbalance morons like you "Fart", who give Florida a bad name that makes everyone think "It must be something in water that creates so much subnormal intelligence down there.."

In many, many ways, and for a long time, "southern" has carried a "distasteful connotation", historically, politically, and socially.

The SPLC is a disgraceful bunch of haters sponsored by leftists. Look at their list of Christian organizations and people like k.Ali who tells the truth about Islam and Sharia. Worse is the media platforms that depend on their "lists". UnAmerican and anti free speech.

Hmmm, no fan of SPLC for sure, but if a group expressed a profound interest in the country remaining majority-white in the face of all statistics that refute that by as soon as 2032, we will not be majority white. That's blatant nationalism. Aside, they don't just presumably want to limit immigration, they publicly espouse low immigration, regardless of the reason and are an all-white group; FAIR is even worse in its agenda to limit immigration, even legal immigration to preserve nationalism. So, which is better? Far right? or Far left? NONE. They are all bad for this country. Reject them all and think for yourselves for a change... Become part of the Independent movement...

YOU appear to intentionally seem to make "nationalism" seem like a bad word. I REALLY think you should get out your dictionary, and look up that word "nationalism": A little education would seem to go a long way in your apparently miserable life... (and I say that with hope for your future edification..)

Perhaps you could learn a little history yourself there pauper. Nationalism is the antithesis of America. "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" I'd go on, but you are too stupid and uneducated to know what that means. It's racist, unemployed, trailer park trash like you that gives the rest of the country a bad name... By the way, nationalism is synonomous with seperatism, isolationism and sectarianism... Your welcome for the 6th grade lesson. Apparently, based on your friends comments, it might be helpful in your job search. Good luck Adolph...

That's a poem that was written and then put on a plaque years after the writer died because friends of the writer what to memorialize the writer. The only thing actually written on the statue is JULY IV MDCCLXXVI.

*wanted to

Don't HAVE a dictionary, huh?

Perhaps you should pursue a little education too tiny... It might help you get yourself a job... Better yet, haul tail back to NY and get a job back home instead of sponging off of all us good, hard working Floridians there mama's boy...

Extreme "nationalism" is the foundation of fascism.

And the Democrat party is the foundation of the KKK.

Democratic party of 100 yrs. ago... Those types turned Republicans about 50 yrs ago...your welcome for the history lesson...

Of the 1,020 “hate groups” claimed on the SPLC’s “Hate Map” for 2018, fully 322 are marked only as "statewide," meaning that the SPLC provides no corroborating information, not even a known city or town, let alone any kind of membership headcount, that a journalist, researcher or donor could use to verify the company's claims. That’s 32% of the alleged total right off the top, or almost one-in-three. We just get to take the SPLC's word for it that these "groups" are really, really out there with no evidence whatsoever. That's not good enough, and it certainly isn't good journalism. Big claims demand big proof, or any proof, for that matter. Of the 75 alleged "groups" the SPLC has assigned to Florida, 21 are "statewide" phantoms, including all of the alleged KKK, neo-Nazi and racist skinhead groups. By contrast, the company lists 22 Black "hate groups," none of which are "statewide." SPLC "hate group" numbers are for fundraising, not for fact finding.

Only wish you would use your considerable talents to addressing the extreme groups spewing hate against African-Americans; our Jewish, Catholic and Islamic faith communities; and others. They are vastly more dangerous than the Southern Poverty Law Center.

True ... and ESPECIALLY in the south!


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nancy smith


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