In another ham-fisted fear campaign, the Southern Poverty Law Center has embarked on a series of unsubstantiated, unverified and largely anecdotal “reports” that claim hundreds of “hate incidents” (not to be confused with actual hate crimes) and over a thousand “incidents” have recently been reported across the country at large and hundreds more occurring within the nation’s school systems.
The undeniable cause of this effect? It could only be the hate-filled election of Donald Trump, right? What else could it be (that would still agitate the donors into forking over more money)?
As we have been reporting over the weeks since the election, neither SPLC “report” stands up to the slightest breath of fact checking. The company makes huge claims of receiving thousands of reports over a web page on their website where anyone in the world can “report an incident” and they themselves disclaim that their “Trump Effect” survey of “educators” is not scientific because the respondents were not chosen at random, there’s no mechanism to verify that the respondents were even “educators” and all of the responses were anecdotal.
The results of this survey are not scientific. The respondents were not selected in a manner to ensure a representative sample; those who responded may have been more likely to perceive problems than those who did not.
Opening her report on “election-related bias” in the elementary schools, Teaching Tolerance’s Maureen Costello makes the bizarre claim that:
“Every student, from preschoolers up through high school, is aware of the tone, rhetoric and catch-phrases of this particular campaign season.”
Really, Maureen? Every student glued to the debates, watching Meet the Press over their weekend Lucky Charms and Pop Tarts? Even kindergartners? Really? Costello peppered her report with anonymous quotes to prove that Hell’s hand-basket has arrived. [Caution: Some readers may find the following graphic content disturbing.]
One Muslim girl clung to her kindergarten teacher on November 9 and asked, “Are they going to do anything to me? Am I safe?” – Early Childhood Teacher, Tennessee
A lesbian student’s mother was telling her that life as we knew it was over, and she was quite distraught about her mother. Children are very worried about being deported or killed. – Elementary Counselor, Illinois
Pretty heart-wrenching stuff, no? It’s hard enough being a lesbian in the third grade without Donald Trump sending your mom over the edge, and let’s face it, Elementary Counselor — Illinois has never lied to us before.
On the national scene, more anonymous reports and more disclaimers that the anonymous reports were pretty much all anecdotal.
A Latina woman in Texas reported: I was walking my baby at my neighborhood park and a truck drove by with a male driving and a female passenger. The female yelled “white power” at us as they drove by and then sped away.
It doesn’t get much more Trump-related than that, or more undeniable. After all, it’s “anecdotal,” right?
November 15: “These incidents, aside from news reports, are largely anecdotal.”
December 16: “The SPLC made every effort to verify each report, but many included in the count remain anecdotal.”
- (of an account) not necessarily true or reliable, because based on personal accounts rather than facts or research: ‘while there was much anecdotal evidence there was little hard fact’
The SPLC “reports” do include several media reports, and if the anonymous, anecdotal incidents were not proof enough, “Many harassers invoked Trump’s name during assaults, making it clear that the outbreak of hate stemmed in large part from his electoral success.”
This time, the SPLC got it right. A growing number of “incidents” really were directly tied to Trump’s election.
Unlike the SPLC, we’re not going to jump to any conclusions because the authorities are still working through the case, and unlike the SPLC, we believe that everyone is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, not a court of public opinion.
This young woman says she made her story up because she was late for curfew:
Let’s be honest. A lot of hateful, ignorant things have been said before and after the election, with no shortage of them coming from Trump himself, and sadly, there is no shortage of knuckleheads who will commit hoaxes in accordance with the voices they hear in their heads.
One thing you can always count on, the SPLC will find a way to build a classic fearmongering campaign around them.
THIS JUST IN: A gay couple were removed from a JetBlue flight today for allegedly verbally abusing Donald Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, and her family, who were flying commercial.
According to tweets by one of the men, his husband was upset to find Trump’s family on the flight and was “chasing them down to harass them.” [Who says one spouse can’t testify against another? Someone’s going to have a lot of ‘splainin’ to do when they get home tonight.]
Finally, SPLC, a genuine “election-related hate incident” for your collection. Let’s see if it makes it onto the list.