Archive for August, 2016

SPLC — Why is the “Hate Map” Static?

August 31, 2016

This week has seen repeated online headlines reading that “White Lives Matter has been designated a ‘hate group'” by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), broadcast from a number of media sites, some of them major players, here, here, here, here, here and here.

What most news outlets, from the New York Times to Time magazine to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution neglect to mention is that is that the SPLC won’t actually get around to adding White Lives Matter to its “Hate Map” fundraising tool until February, 2017. But six months from now, WLM is going to have a place on the Wall of Shame, by golly.

This raises the question, and admittedly, such heresy borders on flagrant “journalism,” as to why the SPLC’s “Hate Map” is static in a world of dynamic websites?

The oft-repeated photo accompanying the SPLC’s polished press releases, dutifully reprinted in online media sites across the board, shows a handful of neo-Nazi wannabes desperate to get a rise from the media, as the local populations have shown little interest in WLM’s blather.

WLM.png

There they are, America, the existential threat that ought to keep your eyes wide open at night and your checkbook wide open by day. Think about it.

So to get back to the uncomfortable question, why IS the SPLC’s “Hate Map” fundraising tool static when every media website, social media outlet or even private blog, such as our own Watching the Watchdogs dynamic? It makes no sense, unless you follow the money.

The SPLC releases its annual “Hate Map” every spring, purporting to identify all “hate groups” across the nation on a state-by-state basis from the previous year. Oddly enough, there is no legal definition for “hate group,” so the “groups” listed are purely at the whim of the SPLC, which receives no external oversight or review.

In short, we KNOW the “groups” listed on the SPLC’s “Hate Map” fundraising tool, which include t-shirt shops, one-man blogs and an Italian restaurant outside Pittsburgh, really, really are “hate groups,” because they tell us so.

If knuckleheads like White Lives Matter are such a threat, why won’t the SPLC post them on the “Hate Map” today? Why wait six months?

Well, it’s like this. The “Hate Map” is a fundraising tool, and as such it always refers to the previous year. The current SPLC “Hate Map” actually refers to existential threats from 2015. A little late to take up arms against the outrageous slings and arrows from last year, the “Hate Map” serves an important fundraising purpose. Media outlets from the New York Times, NPR, Time Magazine and the BBC will pick up the SPLC’s bogus “hate group” numbers and repeat them verbatim, ad nauseum, without ever performing even the most preliminary fact checks on the company’s claims.

If the SPLC were actually to create a dynamic tool the company would have to deal not only with scrutiny when it added “groups” to the “Hate Map,” but when they just as arbitrarily removed “groups” from the tool.

Case in point: In February, 2015, the SPLC designated 40 “hate groups” to New Jersey, giving it the fourth highest total in the land. This unsubstantiated claim led Mark Pitcavage, Intelligence Director for the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) to publicly challenge the reliability of the the numbers his brothers-in-arms at the SPLC were putting forth.

“According to Mark Pitcavage, director of investigative research at the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the SPLC has a habit of counting single individuals as groups or chapters, which can give a skewed impression of hate groups in any given state.” [Emphasis added]

The Southern Poverty Law Center’s list is wildly inflated,” said Pitcavage. “They list skinhead groups in places where there are no organized groups, but instead it’s just a couple of individuals.” [Emphasis added]

After being publicly humiliated by the ADL, the SPLC reduced its “hate group” count for New Jersey from 40 to 21, due largely to the arbitrary removal of 13 chapters of the AC Skins skinhead group that the company swore was a threat to all that we hold dear in 2015.

AC skins

The beauty of the “static map” system is that even though the ADL debunked the SPLC’s New Jersey claims in March of 2015, the reduction to the “Hate Map” didn’t come until February, 2016, resulting in a full year of fundraising. That one year delay resulted in uncounted donor-dollars wafting their way into the SPLC’s already bloated coffers.

If the “Hate Map” served any purpose beyond agitating the company’s mostly elderly, mostly Progressive donor base, it would be accurate up to the minute.

This friends, is why the SPLC’s “Hate Map” fundraising tool only comes out once a year. It’s not about identifying “threats,” it’s about gulling the gullible. Give early and often and we’ll tell you all about it next year.

 

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SPLC — Here comes the Klan… again!

August 24, 2016

Even with a presidential election year and the Olympics going on, summer is often a slow time for the Media machine. This helps to explain the recent spate of “news” articles based on bogus numbers from the Southern Poverty Law Center.

In late February, the SPLC released its annual “Hate Map” fundraising tool that proclaimed that “the number of ‘hate groups’ jumped by 14%” in 2015″. As usual, a closer look at the SPLC’s claims, something the Media couldn’t bother to do, reveals a different story.

In 2008, on the very week of Barack Obama’s historic election as President of the United States, SPLC public relations guru, Mark Potok, was predicting “explosive growth” in hate groups in retaliation for “the tanking economy” and “a Black man in the White House.”

In 2009, the first year of the Obama Administration, Potok managed to scrape up 6 new “hate groups,” the smallest increase in SPLC history. In 2010, Potok added 70 new groups, but in that same year the number of “homeless hate groups,” those alleged groups which Mr. Potok cannot even locate on any map, including his own, jumped by 99, effectively producing a net loss.

After adding a token number of “groups” in 2011, Potok’s numbers plummeted 22% in the years following “a Black man’s reelection to the White House.” Obviously, declines like this are bad for business, and it’s probably no coincidence that the SPLC found that donations, which averaged $54 million dollars for 2013 and 2014, had dropped to a mere $30 million for 2015.

Faced with that kind of hemorrhaging, Mark Potok did the logical thing and fired up the “hate group” machine, which had never failed to bring in the cash in the past. And so we get the mysterious “14% jump in hate groups,” even though the 2015 total is still below Potok’s 2008 numbers.

One of the two leading increases came from a huge spike in that old fundraising standby, the Ku Klux Klan. According to Mark Potok, “the Klan more than doubled (!!!)” in 2015, largely in retaliation for Confederate flags coming down around the South and Black Lives Matter.

What the Media choose to ignore is that Mark Potok is the guy who slashed his own Klan numbers “by more than half” from 163 in 2013 to only 72 in 2014. And he did so voluntarily. It’s not like he produces a single fact to back up any of his claims.

When you take into account that, according to Potok’s own numbers, the KKK “jumped” from 163 to 190 over two years, it is hardly noteworthy, especially when you look at Potok’s ridiculous Klan claims.

Texas, in particular, experienced a dubious tenfold expansion in Klan groups in 2015, from five to fifty, in just one year, due largely to the addition of the Texas Knights and the expansion of the United White Knights, with 13 Texas communities allegedly acquiring one chapter of each. That’s right, 13 Texas communities acquired TWO brand new Klan groups last year. That makes perfect sense.

From five to fifty, overnight? Really, Mr. Potok?

This becomes even more ludicrous in light of Mark Potok’s public pronouncements that the Klan was all but dead, which is even more astonishing considering Potok’s premature “explosive growth” predictions. Ooops! Here’s what the “nation’s leading expert” has to say about the Ku Klux Klan:

“The Klan of today is small, fractured, impotent and irrelevant,” Potok said.” (www.timesfreepress.com, September 12, 2010)

The Klan is a sorry shadow of its former self. It’s common for the KKK to brag about big numbers, but usually they are largely outnumbered by the counter-protestors, Potok said. Even on the white supremacist scene, the Klan is seen as less important today, he said.

‘They just don’t have the people to put on the street, no matter what they boast about,’ Potok said.” (www.chronicle.augusta.com, October 21, 2010)

The 2011 Hate Map included 221 alleged chapters of the KKK, (109 of which were “homeless”), and yet, within weeks of the map’s release, Mark Potok publicly pronounced the demise of the “Invisible Empire” for all intents and purposes.

“But Potok said the Klan has disintegrated. “There is no Klan now,” he said, only a collection of squabbling organizations.” (www.sanluisobispo.com, March 23, 2011)

And just a week ago…

“The Klan today is weak, poorly led and without any sort of centralized organization,” Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center, told Vocativ. The SPLC tracks extremist groups like the KKK. “It’s even looked down upon by other hate groups – they look at them as these country bumpkins, and they’re generally right.” (www.vocativ.com, August 18, 2016)

And what do Potok’s peers in the Hate Industry think about his numbers?

“According to Mark Pitcavage, director of investigative research at the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the SPLC has a habit of counting single individuals as groups or chapters, which can give a skewed impression of hate groups in any given state.”

“The [SPLC’s] list is wildly inflated,” said Pitcavage. “They list skinhead groups in places where there are no organized groups, but instead it’s just a couple of individuals.”

As veteran extremist group researcher, Laird Wilcox, warned us back in 1998:

“What [the SPLC] apparently did was list any group they could find mention of, including groups only rumored to exist. These included the large number of “post office box chapters” maintained by Klan and skinhead organizations. Some Christian Identity “ministries” consist only one person and a mailing list and many “patriot groups” consist of but three or four friends.

They also listed many groups whose actual affiliation is neither KKK nor neo-Nazi and who would argue with the designation of “white supremacy.” In short, they misleadingly padded their list. When the SPLC releases their list, either in print or on the Internet, it fails to contain actual addresses that might be checked by journalists or researchers. Several listings refer to “unknown group” and the name of a city or town.” — The Watchdogs, p. 79

Even Mark Potok had to admit to the post office box scam:

“Potok says inclusion on the [hate group] list might come from a minor presence, such as a post office box.” (www.sanluisobispo.com, March 25, 2009)

And there you have it, right from the horse’s mouth. When the SPLC is losing money at the donor level the first thing it does is to trot out the tired, moth-eaten Ku Klux Klan to bring in the cash. It’s pathetic, but it works like a charm.

Nobody ever went poor selling zombies to the American public.

Next time we’ll have a look at the second major “cause” of Potok’s “14% jump in hate groups,” Black hate groups, which, according to  Mark Potok, outnumber the Klan outright and neo-Nazis, racist Skinheads and White Nationalists COMBINED.

Talk about “retaliation” for Black Lives Matter…

Stay tuned for that stupidity.


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