The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has a recent history of labeling organizations that don’t advance the political Left’s ideology as “hate groups,” and this week CNN became just the latest news outlet to cite SPLC’s list as fact.
Justifying their decision, CNN writes, “[S]ince the FBI doesn’t keep track of domestic hate groups, the SPLC’s tally is the widely accepted one…” It may be “widely accepted,” perhaps, by liberals. However, the use of this list perpetuates a dangerous trend by the Left and their cheerleaders in the media of marginalizing conservative viewpoints rather than engaging them.
Although the SPLC presents their “hate group” directory as objective and definitive, closer scrutiny has revealed it is based off of ideological differences and does not make qualitative distinctions between groups. For example, Alliance Defending Freedom, a public interest law firm that has recently been busy defending religious freedom claims before the Supreme Court, is put on par with the American Nazi Party of West Virginia. In a sane world, it should not be difficult to see how a group defending a church-operated daycare’s right to government grants is different than a group claiming the legacy of Hitler.
And the stakes are much higher than mere accurate reporting. As Ryan Anderson of the Heritage Foundation points out, SPLC’s list once prompted a man with a gun to attack the Family Research Council (another designated “hate group”) after he found them included in the directory as an “anti-gay group.” What had FRC done to merit this domestic terror attack? As CNN has previously noted, they focus on family, abortion, and religious liberty issues, but SPLC takes issue with their view that marriage is defined as existing only between one man and one woman. Evidently, promoting policies which favor the traditional definition of marriage is the equivalent of burning crosses in 2017 America.
CNN, and the mainstream media as a whole, should take greater care when regurgitating the dangerous propaganda spouting from the Southern Poverty Law Center’s smear campaign against the conservative movement. Otherwise, the rampant distrust which Americans have for the media is likely to surge even further.
Photo credit: Josh Hallett via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)