September 07, 2017

The Southern Poverty Law Center Is a Dangerous Joke. Why Do Reporters Use It as a Source?

"The Southern Poverty Law Center almost got me killed," writes attorney Casey Mattox. "Why does the media still propagate its 'hate' map?"

Maajid Nawaz wonders the same thing. The Muslim author known for his courageous warnings against jihadism now finds himself on the SPLC's anti-Muslim "extremist" list and is a thus a target for violence, as he explains in this fascinating conversation with the atheist Sam Harris (whose podcast, perhaps surprisingly, is one of my favorites).

The SPLC "has become a dangerous joke," says attorney David French. "Reporters should stop using it as a source." Yesterday 47 conservative leaders and organizations urged reporters to cut ties with the SPLC.

The SPLC "is far from a reliable, nonpartisan, and authoritative source," adds Mark Pulliam. Its principal function today "is to provide an aura of respectability to liberal journalists wishing to disparage conservative groups and to provide cover for political battles."

Reporters (and their editors)including at the Tulsa WorldThe Oklahoman, The Journal Record, the Associated Press, KFOR, News9, and otherscontinue to treat SPLC as an authoritative source. Alas, this is one more reason that only one in seven Republicans trust the media.

  • Tony Perkins has "all the evidence you need for why SPLC is not credible." To stay up-to-date, visit
  • Journalist and author Karl Zinsmeister says the SPLC is in fact "the 'anti-hate' group that is a hate group."
  • "The Southern Poverty Law Center makes millions lying about people," Margot Cleveland writes. "It’s time for the media to stop letting them arbitrate what comprises a 'hate group.'"
  • Shikha Dalmia discusses "the sad hysteria of the Southern Poverty Law Center."
  • "The SPLC has been forced to pay $3.375 million to the British Muslim reformist and anti-extremism campaigner Maajid Nawaz," Douglas Murray writes.
  • "The Southern Poverty Law Center is notorious for labeling mainstream organizations 'hate groups' for holding to traditional Christian teachings," The Oklahoman's editorial board points out. "The organization's practice of playing fast and loose caught up with it when the SPLC included Islamic reformer Maajid Nawaz and his organization, the Quilliam Foundation, in its 'Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists.' When the SPLC refused to retract the claim, Nawaz threatened to sue. The SPLC is now paying Nawaz $3.375 million. In a statement, an SPLC spokesman said, 'Since we published the Field Guide, we have taken the time to do more research …' The group found Nawaz 'made valuable and important contributions to public discourse, including by promoting pluralism and condemning both anti-Muslim bigotry and Islamist extremism.' In other words, the SPLC labeled Nawaz an extremist, and only then determined if he really was one. Sadly, this appears to be business as usual at the SPLC."

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