The SPLC’s “Hate Map” — The Biggest Lie

There are two old truisms regarding propaganda, (occasionally attributed to Hitler and Goebbels, respectively): “The people will accept a big lie more readily than a small lie, and “A lie, told often enough, becomes truth.”

Such is the case with the Southern Poverty Law Center’s infamous “Hate Map“.

The “Hate Map” is the primary responsibility of the SPLC’s public relations guru, Mark Potok, and is one of the keystones of that group’s multimillion dollar fund raising apparatus. The map serves as a simplified visual aid intended to document the SPLC’s “hate group” allegations, and is referenced frequently in media releases.

These claims are picked up by others and repeated, ad infinitum, with almost nobody bothering to actually look at the “data” provided.

  1. SPLC founder, Morris Dees, is the sole arbiter of what constitutes a “hate group”
  2. Even the FBI does not track “hate groups” as there is no legal definition for that term.
  3. Mark Potok has claimed on numerous occasions that “…a “hate group” has nothing to do with criminality… [or] potential for violence…”Rather, as Potok put it, “It’s all about ideology.”
  4. On March 25, 2009, Potok told the San Luis Obispo Tribune that “…inclusion on the list might come from a minor presence, such as a post office box.”
  5. On July 6, 2009, Potok reported to that the “Intelligence Report, which Potok also writes and is the source of “data” for the “Hate Map,” …relies on media, citizen and law enforcement reports, and does not include original reporting by SLPC [sic] staff.”

So basically, the “Hate Map” primarily documents legal, non-violent groups whose only crime is to run afoul of Mo Dees’ ideology. “Groups” are identified by such scanty evidence as PO boxes and second hand information gleaned by Mark Potok’s glorified, $143,000 donor-dollar-a-year newsclipping service.

The 2008 iteration of Potok’s “Hate Map” makes the claim that SPLC has identified 926 “hate groups” in the US, based on the scrupulously scientific methods mentioned above. Almost every state in the union has at least one “hate group” according to Potok.

Even more alarming, Potok reports “a 54% increase since 2000.” Pretty scary stuff, until you realize that Potok’s job is to increase the numbers by 4-6% each year, whether the “groups” exist or not. Over the course of 8 years of this constant padding, hitting “54%” is no great feat.

Donors might be even more justifiably alarmed if they realized that the SPLC’s top three officers, Dees, Cohen and Levin, split between themselves more than $7 million donor dollars from the donation pot since 2000.

A small price to pay, no doubt, for such valuable information.

If one actually looks at Mr. Potok’s “Hate Map” for California, however, the state with the largest collection of alleged “hate groups,” you will immediately notice that the first 14 “groups” on the list are not affiliated with any locale. They merely exist in Mr. Potok’s mind, and serve to pad California’s alleged total by 17%.

One phantom group, the Golden State Skinheads, actually appears on the list twice!!! Remember the last time YOU saw an actual Skinhead?

Where exactly are the first 14 "groups" located?

Fourteen percent of Number 2 ranked Texas and 11% of Number 3 Florida‘s languish in limbo as well.

In some states, such as Wyoming, New Mexico and Maine, the number of unaffiliated, “phantom” groups is 100%. We know that these “hate groups” are really, really there, because the SPLC are experts, as Potok reminds us in every one of his PR press releases.

In all, 127 of Mr. Potok’s “hate groups” are homeless. They exist solely to pad the numbers.

On July 21, 2009, Potok commented in the  “Still, [Potok] said the public should remain vigilant about the activities of hate groups, even though individuals are responsible for the majority of hate crimes in America.”

So every year the number spurious “hate groups” rises predictably according to the SPLC’s rigid legal standards, (“It’s all about ideology!”), and every year Mark Potok dutifully records the latest round of second- and third-hand reports of marauding post office boxes, even though Potok admits that “lone wolves” are the biggest threat, not “hate groups.” And every year the media and the SPLC’s aging donor base lap up these spurious numbers as truth.

The lie gets bigger every year and is repeated ever farther afield and more often each year.

Every year the number of donor dollars increases, with more than $31 MILLION of them rolling in last year.

Somewhere, in the Seventh Level of Hell, Joe Goebbels is laughing.

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9 Responses to “The SPLC’s “Hate Map” — The Biggest Lie”

  1. Nathan Says:

    Yeah I live In San Luis I don’t believe there is a hate group here it’s a pretty small city and I have been here 25 years I have never personally seen one.

  2. Aaron Says:

    The map is selective as to who’s hate they track I noticed that La Raza is missing from their map.

  3. Paul Says:

    Hate groups need not be based in a particular city to have a dangerous presence. Having a website is one way of exerting noxious influence.

    • rkeefe57 Says:

      There’s no legal definition for “hate group.” As long as we’re labeling people because we don’t like what they say, why is my subjective opinion of a “hate group” any better than yours?

      The SPLC hides behind the meaningless smear “hate group” because it allows them to attack anyone without accusing them of any actual crimes.

      What happens when the SPLC arbitrarily decides that you or your friends “exert a noxious influence”? The SPLC has already told the Missouri Highway Patrol and even the DHS that a real good way to spot “domestic extremists” is to look for third party bumper stickers on their cars.

      That doesn’t scare you? It scares me to death.

  4. anjakimberley Says:

    Reblogged this on Anyanka's blog and commented:
    crazy amount of funding for something so subjective. It has A value but these figures, if true, are mind boggling

  5. Says:

    I grew up in Kingsburg in the San Joauquin Valley in CA. I knew skin-heads personally. They were me childhood friends and became neo-nazi and skin heads in Jr. High and High School. I was still friends with them, but had no clue where all the hate came from… until I met their families. I also used to live in San Luis Obispo and was on a community mediation board that oversaw hate crimes and there were regular accounts of Black residents having bricks thrown through their windows with the N-word written on them… so yeah, I know lots of skin heads in CA, lots of them are into punk rock and identify with neo-nazi movements mostly through music. Just sayin

  6. Says:

    there is also a listing on the SPLC site that gives the actual crimes by each person and a breif description of why it was classified as a ‘hate crime’ – maybe you could read each of those and count up the numbers for yourself. I agree that ‘hate groups’ are harder to classify as most of the skin-heads, neo-nazis or KKK in my home town didn’t belong to any official organized group, they just acted that way with their small group of friends and family members….

  7. rkeefe57 Says:

    I have indeed seen the SPLC’s list of “hate incidents, (not hate crimes) and I’ve crunched those numbers as well.

    The SPLC generously provides a downloadable spreadsheet, so I urge all readers to look a the numbers for themselves.

    The SPLC counted 316 “incidents” for 2011, which on the face of it, works out to roughly one “incident” per million Americans. Nobody should ever be the victim of hate, but at a million to one, we’re hardly looking at an epidemic here.

    If you download the spreadsheet and sort it by category you’ll notice some interesting factoids. First of all, 25% of the incidents fall under “vandalism.” Again, nobody should to put up with this kind of stupidity, but gang graffiti and kids carving swastikas on park benches is not the threat the SPLC makes it out to be in their fundraising propaganda.

    Furthermore, the largest single category on the list, comprising 35% of the total, (more than one in three) is what the SPLC calls “legal developments,” which are nothing more than updates on previous “incidents.” It works like this:

    January 1, some idiot spraypaints something stupid on a building. That’s one “incident” of vandalism.

    January 3, the idiot is arrested and charged. Legal Development 1.

    May, 21, the idiot goes to court and pleads “not guilty.” Legal Development 2.

    August 4, the idiot is found guilty in court and pays a fine. Legal development 3.

    And so, the SPLC counts the same incident four times in one year. THIS is hard data?

    These two categories alone make up 60% of the total. Another 10% involve leafletting and rallies. While most people are offended by these activities, they are constitutionally protected First Amendment rights. We don’t have to like them, but we have to allow them.

    Incidentally, a quick look at the “hate incidents” posted as of July 6, 2012, shows that 51 of the 116 “incidents” listed for this year are Legal Developments. That’s 44% right off the top.

    You can find a further breakdown here:

    And by the way, this Hate Map™ post is two years old. Here’s the latest version and the numbers are even crazier than this one.

    Again, I don’t want anyone to take my word for anything. I got all of my numbers directly from the SPLC web site just as anyone else can. All I ask is that people actually LOOK at the numbers, as I have, and draw their own conclusions.

  8. The Science of Political Success – The Power of Positive Exposure – Libertarian Party of Bradford County Says:

    […] You read that right, Morris Dees, the leader of the organization so relentless in continuing to cast myself, Brien James, and others as racist extremists, long after we have abandoned those organizations and openly renounced identity politics, HIMSELF defended Klansmen who beat freedom riders, and was sympathetic to the violence. He worked for segregationist politicians. He did it for money. The SPLC does not list him on its “hatewatch” site. […]

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