SPLC: “Potok’s Pinheads”

As its increasingly elderly donor base shuffles invariably toward that actuarial inevitability that awaits us all, the Southern Poverty Law Center is always on the lookout for innovative ways to attract new blood.

As a more positive counterpoint to his somewhat grim “Hate Map,” SPLC public relations guru, Mark Potok dreamed up a brilliant device he calls the “Stand Strong Against Hate” map.

In exchange for nothing more than your full name, postal and e-mail addresses, you too can “stand strong” and become a digital pinhead on an interactive national map.

By adding their personal information to the SPLC’s massive mailing list, pinheads are assured that they are doing their part in “stopping the racist backlash from infecting your community.”

Interestingly, the site makes no mention of exactly how being a pinhead will stop the backlash, or what becomes of your personal information?

It goes without saying that you will soon begin to receive donation requests within weeks of taking a stand.  A skeptic, however, realizing that SPLC founder Morris Dees was inducted into the Direct Marketing Association’s Hall of Fame in 1998 for his fund raising prowess, and who has been known to buy and barter a few mailing lists in his day, might wonder if the esteemed “civil rights icon” might not be tempted to sell or rent your info to the highest bidder.

No guarantees of privacy are given or implied.

The text accompanying the map repeats Potok’s spurious statistics about alleged “hate groups” and even offers visitors the opportunity to report their own “hate incidents,” after signing up for the pinhead program, of course.

Potok and his minions will follow up on the reports, as long as no actual investigation or documentation is required. As Potok told the Postcrescent.com on July 6, 2009, his all-important “Intelligence Report,” the keystone of all SPLC fund-raising propaganda and source of data for the Hate Map, “…relies on media, citizen and law enforcement reports, and does not include original reporting by SPLC staff.”

Simply brilliant. Is it any wonder that PR man Potok is compensated with more than $143,000 donor dollars a year? It hardly seems like enough when you consider the tens of millions of donor dollars Mr. Potok’s whimsical creations bring into the Center’s coffers each year.

Who can estimate how many of the $156 million donor dollars residing in the SPLC’s “Endowment Fund” are the direct result of Mr. Potok’s efforts? Potok really deserves a bigger cut of the donor pie.

There’s plenty of cash to go around, kids, and no doubt Potok’s Pinheads will be called upon to add their mite to the all important donor pot, too.

Hate doesn’t stand a chance against the power of pinheads.

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