With all of the attention the Southern Poverty Law Center has been getting in the press lately over the simple JONAH fraud suit in New Jersey, we couldn’t help but notice that the term “civil rights organization” had mysteriously dropped from the SPLC’s press releases.
After consulting with the Internet Archives’ marvelous Wayback Machine, we discovered that the SPLC has dropped the term “non-profit civil rights organization” from its Who We Are webpage, sometime around March of 2014.
December 29, 2013, now you see it:
March 11, 2014, now you don’t:
Seems rather odd, one would think, but the SPLC actually got out of the civil rights business in 1981, when its founder, Morris Dees, discovered there was far more money to be made hawking “hate groups” than taking on Death Row cases.
All of this was presaged by the SPLC’s $155,000-donor-dollar-a-year PR guru, Mark Potok, who glibly explained to a group of visiting high school teachers and students in 2008:
“In the 70’s… “poverty law” was actually the phrase… it was a phrase used that just applied to… essentially… civil rights law… to kind of human rights legal actions.”
“I know a couple years ago there was a big discussion internally [at the SPLC], ‘Should we change our name to something else?’ People think, you know, that it’s all about, sort of, defending poor people, and that’s not really, exactly what our mission is. By that time, people knew the name so well that, you know, we made, I think, the obviously right decision not to change the name.”
Why would they even consider changing their multimillion-dollar brand name? Because they had dumped the “civil rights law” aspect decades before.
And with more than $302 MILLION dollars in cash on hand, the term “non-profit” seems a little silly.
The SPLC may have stopped claiming it is a civil rights organization, but it has yet to correct anyone in the media who mistakenly identifies them as such.
Looks like it’s up to all of us.