Posts Tagged ‘Hate Map’

SPLC — More Hate Map-Inspired Violence?

September 8, 2019

Most readers are familiar with the 2012 attempted mass shooting in Washington, DC, where 28-year-old Floyd Corkins walked into the lobby of the Family Research Council (FRC) with the intent of murdering as many staffers as he could. Fortunately, the FRC office manager, Leonardo Johnson, was able to subdue Corkins until police arrived, despite having been shot by Corkins during the struggle.

Corkins, a Gay rights activist, told FBI investigators, in no uncertain terms, that he had identified the FRC as an anti-LGBT “hate group” based on that designation on a Southern Poverty Law Center “Hate Map.”

The SPLC, which goes to great lengths to try to tie lone-wolf shooters to any right-wing ideology they can find, immediately dismissed claims that their “Hate Map” fundraising tool had inspired Corkins in any way.

If it hadn’t been for the “Hate Map,” it’s unlikely that Corkins would ever have heard of the FRC. Instead, Corkins pled guilty to three felony charges, including of committing an act of terrorism while armed, receiving a 25-year sentence for his crimes.

Yesterday we learned that a self-identified Antifa member, Alexander Dial, 37, had been charged with “…one count of felony riotone count of second-degree assaultone count of second-degree unlawful use of an electrical stun gun, tear gas or mace, and one count of fourth-degree assault,” during the so-called “End Domestic Terrorism” rally in Portland, OR, on August 17.

Dial Antifa2

Alexander Dial, 2019

The article, posted on the BizPac Review website, includes a number of video links posted by journalist and Antifa documentarian Andy Ngo, which show numerous instances of Antifa thugs attacking Alt-Right thugs with hammers, clubs and chemical sprays. Alexander Dial, who goes by the Twitter handle “betacuck4lyfe” appears in several of the segments.

As a result of Dial’s arrest, a GoFundMe site was created to help raise money for his legal costs.

The blurb on the site makes no attempt to deny Dial’s participation in the violence, even posting a photo of Mr. Dial in action, (note the same “Beta Cuck” t-shirt as shown above).

Dial Antifa

“As many of you are aware, the man you see in the right side of the photograph in the red helmet  is Alexander Dial (trending on Twitter as #betacuck4lyfe), a protestor who was defending Portland, Oregon along with a large group of local citizens against SPLC-designated hate groups who had invaded the downtown area without permits in order to spread their rhetoric of intolerance. “

“Unfortunately, the Portland Police arrested Alexander during this demonstration and have chosen to criminally prosecute him. These are serious charges and he needs your help now!”

Inevitably, despite this kind of irrefutable documentation, the SPLC and the Media routinely refer to Antifa as peaceful “counter-protestors” even when they are clearly as violent, or even more-so, than the alt-Right thugs they claim to be protesting.

Even Antifa admits to and glorifies the violence in Portland. They posted the photo of Dial allegedly attacking the alt-Right members on their own GoFundMe site intentionally, to raise as much money from sympathetic donors as possible.

The site also implies that Dial and the other Antifa members selected their targets based on “SPLC-designated hate groups” and that their motivation for the attacks was to stop the spread of “their rhetoric of intolerance.” In short, to censor their ideological opponents by any means necessary, including criminal violence.

There are several ironies here that are too good to ignore, not least of which is the fact that it was real Fascist Brownshirt goons who would use “any means necessary” to break up Communist Party meetings in Germany, nearly a century ago. Antifa, who claim to be champions of “tolerance” and admirers of Soviet Communism, are engaging in the very Fascist acts they claim to abhor.

The reference to “invad[ing] the downtown area without permits” is also laughable, considering Antifa claims to be an anarchist organization, but suddenly they are worried about permits when it suits their cause? In fact, the alt-Right thugs who marched in 2017’s “Unite the Right” riots in Charlottesville had permits, which didn’t stop the Left-wing thugs from showing up to battle them.

Perhaps the sweetest irony of all comes near the end of the GoFundMe blurb:

“Transparency is very important to [Dial]. Any extra money donated that is not spent as described above will be donated to the ACLU without exception.”

Is it possible that Antifa adherents have no knowledge of the ACLU’s history of defending the free speech rights of the very people they are attacking, including fighting for the right of neo-Nazis to march in heavily-Jewish Skokie, Illinois, in the 1970s?

In fact, the ONLY reason Jason Kessler obtained a permit for his “Unite the Right” rally in 2017 was BECAUSE the ACLU went to bat for him in court, AGAINST the City of Charlottesville!

“Ironic” is the only term when a self-described “tolerant” group bent on censorship gives money to one of the biggest advocates of free speech in the country, no matter how abhorrent many may find that speech.

At the end of the day, it is the six-digit-salary execs at the SPLC and other Hate Industry organizations who are the big winners every time thug meets thug. SPLC donations nearly tripled between 2016 to 2017, from $50 million to $132 million, based largely on the Charlottesville riots and the annual “Hate Map” fundraising tool.

It is in the SPLC’s financial interest to agitate their Progressive donor base and Antifa leftist thugs whenever possible. Real peace would cut into profits.

 

SPLC — “White Nationalists on the Rise!”

September 1, 2019

Ever since the Southern Poverty Law Center released its “Hate Map” fundraising tool for 2018 this past February, the party line has been that “White Nationalist groups are on the rise!” The SPLC bolsters this claim by noting that it had assigned 100 White Nationalist “hate groups” to the US for 2017 and that number had exploded by 48% to 148 for 2018.

Scary news, no doubt, until you recall that the SPLC is the sole arbiter of the “hate group” label. It can claim as many alleged groups as it likes for a given year and nobody in the Media will bother to vet the company’s claims.

Fortunately, we at Watching the Watchdogs are more than happy to take a look. Using nothing more than a desktop computer and basic web searching techniques that any journalist, researcher or donor could easily replicate, we attempted to see how many of the SPLC alleged groups could be located online, if they had physical addresses that could be identified, or any other information that would make their existence seem likely.

We do not claim that these results are absolute by any means. If any of our readers can provide corroborating information we will update our results immediately.

Better still, since the SPLC is known to monitor this blog, perhaps they would be willing to share their information about these alleged groups with us and the donors.

Big claims demand big proof, or any proof, for that matter.

We have color coded our results to highlight important aspects of the claims. Those highlighted in red appear to be defunct, based on news reports or results from the Intern Archives amazing Wayback Machine that indicate a website has been offline for months or more.

Those groups highlighted in blue are new to the “Hate Map” tool, or were at least not present on the 2017 map.

Those highlighted in yellow are the SPLC’s infamous “statewide” phantoms for which the company provides absolutely no documentation whatsoever, not even an alleged city or town. As such, these claims are meaningless and discarded from the get-go.

The SPLC lists 322 of its 1,020 alleged groups as “statewide” for 2018. The company added 107 brand new “statewide” phantoms in 2017 alone, and nobody in the Media called them out on it.

Let’s begin with those alleged groups for which no information could be found. If anyone has information on the location of these alleged groups, please contact us directly, especially the claimants from the SPLC.

WN-No Location-2018

The Shieldwall Network is a new addition to the “Hate Map,” which the SPLC attributes to the known neo-Nazi Billy Roper. According to their own estimates, they are a pretty sad “group” and not much of a threat.

The SPLC actually had a pretty good fix on the one-man “group” known as New Albion last year. After his election to the office of Town Manager for Jackman, Maine, (Population 900), Tom Kawczynski, made no secret of his white nationalist beliefs and his plans to establish a “new Albion” populated by whites only.

As the Daily Kos reported in January, 2018, the people of Jackman pitched in $30,000 out of their own pockets to pay off the racist and send him on his way. Kawcynski told the Daily Kos that he was packing up his one-man website and leaving town.

Jackman’s other “hate group,” the New Right also vanished from the Internet when Kawcynski left town, though nothing definite was found tying the two together.

Identity Evropa was the big winner in this category. In 2017, the SPLC claimed 15 chapters of this group, with four assigned to particular states and the other 11 being “statewide” phantoms. By 2018, the SPLC claimed that the group had more than doubled to 38 alleged chapters, half of which were “statewide,” as we will see below.

From what we can find, Identity Evropa’s main claim to fame is putting stickers on traffic signs and leaving flyers proclaiming “It’s okay to be white!” on college campuses. Other than several “bannering” events where a handful of people have gathered to unfurl banners from overpasses, usually decrying illegal immigration, most of their activity seems to occur late at night as the acts of individuals.

Again, we only have the SPLC’s word for it that these chapters actually exist, as no information for them in these particular states could be found online. Single individuals, just like one-man websites, are not “groups” and the physical threat of Identity Evropa has yet to be proven, especially by the SPLC.

Speaking of one-man websites, we next explore those alleged White Nationalist groups for which nothing more than a website and post office box or private mail box (PMB) from, say, the UPS Store or other mailing services, could be found.

For years, the SPLC denied tracking one-man websites on its annual “Hate Map,” using the boilerplate disclaimer that: “Websites appearing to be merely the work of a single individual, rather than the publication of a group, are not included in this list. “

The 2017 “Hate Map” included this disclaimer, which was subsequently dropped for the most recent, 2018 map:“Entities that appear to exist only in cyberspace are not included because they are likely to be individual Web publishers who likely to falsely portray themselves as powerful, organized froups [sic].”

Also in 2017, long-time SPLC frontman Mark Potok was claiming that: “We make a big effort to separate a man, his dog and a computer from a group with on-the-ground activity.” (Ironically, that same year Mr. Potok, quoted in Esquire magazine, described the neo-Nazi website, The Daily Stormer, as “mostly Andrew Angelin, his dog, and a computer.”

Potok claimed 32 chapters of The Daily Stormer website for 2017 (one in Ohio and 31 “statewide” phantoms) and 21 for 2018, all of which are “statewide.”

On February 21, 2019, SPLC “Outreach Manager” Kate Chance told a crowd of 300 in Mankato, MN, that: “An online presence isn’t enough to be added to the list; a group has to meet at least once a year at a physical location.”

WN-Website 1-2018

WN-Website 2-2018

We counted six alleged “groups” that had physical addresses that could be verified by Google Maps street view tool, but several turned out to be private residences or online vendors.

Patriotic Flags of Summerville, SC, an online vendor, has been on the “Hate Map” for ten years now. While they do offer Confederate battle flags, they also offer historic Confederate state flags, numerous iterations of the US flag with varying numbers of stars, flags of every nation on Earth, including all of Africa, Asia and Israel, “Peace” flags, as well as a number of LGBT “rainbow” flags. Not your typical “white nationalist” fare.

Radix Journal is the blog for the National Policy Institute website, but the SPLC counts them as two separate “groups.”

The H.L. Mencken Club is primarily a website, though they do offer annual conferences, with registration fees starting at $250.

The Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation is another website that offers the occasional get-together. In February, 2019, they invited members to join them for an evening of Viennese waltzing at the Organization of American States embassy in Washington, DC.

The FGF event previous to the Grand Ball was an 80th birthday tribute to publisher Jon Utley in 2014 and a PowerPoint presentation from 2011. This spotty social calendar would seem to fall short of Kate Chance’s claim that “groups” needed to meet at least once a year.

Red Ice Radio, as the name implies, is an online radio station based in Sweden. Its Internet ISP provider is listed as Magill University, in Montreal, Canada. The physical street address given is for a UPS Store in Harrisonburg, VA. Does it seem right that Harrisonburg should be tarred with a “hate group” for a private mail box to a Swedish website?

Website Right Stuff 1

The Right Stuff is the big winner of the website category, growing from 21 alleged chapters with ten “statewide” for 2017, to 34 alleged chapters with 14 “statewide” for 2018. Even the SPLC describes TRS as a blog, but that doesn’t stop them from counting it 34 times.

It’s worth noting that ten TRS chapters are making their “Hate Map” debut this year, with eight others that were listed in 2017 having vanished altogether.

This takes us through 91 of the SPLC’s 148 alleged White Nationalist “hate groups,” and we don’t have a lot to show for it. Let’s wind this up with a peek at the SPLC’s “statewide” phantoms for this category, for which they provide no proof whatsoever.

WN-Statewide-1-2018

As mentioned previously, many of Identity Evropa’s alleged chapters are “statewide,” including many that are making their debut. (Editor’s note: The Washington DC chapter should have been included in the previous IE graphic and not this one. Our apologies.)

WN-Statewide-Evropa-2018

Also mentioned were The Right Stuff’s phantoms, including many new chapters claimed by the SPLC.

WN-Statewide-Right Stuff-2018

The Patriot Front grew from four alleged chapters in 2017, with one assigned to Chicago and the other three “statewide” phantoms, to 15 alleged chapters for 2018, all 15 of which are “statewide.”

The SPLC appears to be losing its “hate groups” faster than it can create them.

WN-Statewide-Patriot-2018

And there we have it. Of the 148 White Nationalist groups claimed by the SPLC for 2018 a full 57 of the alleged groups, or 39% of the total, are “statewide” phantoms, up from 35% in 2017. Another 41% appear to be mainly websites, with little, if any, on-the-ground activity.

Using the same tools available to journalists and donors, we could not find any verifiable evidence for the remaining 20%.

Again, we don’t claim that because we could not find a group that it did not exist, but it is not up to us, to journalists or to donors to prove the SPLC’s claims. It falls squarely to the Southern Poverty Law Center to show their work, to document their claims where everyone can see their proof.

With the hundreds of millions of donor-dollars the SPLC took in over the past two years alone, based largely on their “hate group” claims, we do not feel that this is too much to ask.

Trust, but verify.

 

SPLC — North Carolina’s “Hate Groups” 2018

August 24, 2019

As part of our continuing series investigating the Southern Poverty Law Center’s “hate group” claims on a state-by-state basis, we will be having a look at the Tar Heel State of North Carolina.

As our decade-long research on the SPLC’s “hate group” methodology indicates, there is plenty of tar, and no shortage of feathers, to go around.

Our choice of North Carolina for the next installment in the series was prompted by a news story about an official proclamation passed by the Boone Town Council on August 15 of this year.  Mixed in among the 14 “Whereas’s” and pithy quotes by Einstein, Emerson and Plato, is the oft-repeated, seldom investigated, claim by the SPLC of 1,020 “hate groups” in the US for 2018.

We broke our results into three separate categories – those with confirmed physical addresses or no confirmed information whatsoever, those appearing to be online entities only (websites, blogs or vendors) and those that the SPLC has designated as “statewide.”

Before we begin, here are a few important points that need to be mentioned:

  • There is no legal or universal definition for “hate group”
  • The SPLC is the sole arbitrator of the lucrative “hate group” label, based on its own intentionally broad definition: “All hate groups attack or malign other groups.”
  • Post Office boxes or Private Mail Boxes (PMBs) are not “hate groups”
  • Web entities are not “hate groups,” even by the SPLC’s own definitions.
  • The SPLC’s “statewide” designation is meaningless, as it provides no verifiable information whatsoever that a donor or journalist could use to verify the claim. The term is therefore meaningless and all “statewide” groups are considered to be null and void. Fully 322 of the 1,020 alleged groups designated by the SPLC for 2018 are “statewide” phantoms, or one-in-three. The SPLC added 107 “statewide” groups in 2017 alone.
  • Watching the Watchdogs reviewed this list using basic web-searching techniques available to all journalists, researchers and donors. We do not imply that the results are in any way flawless, nor does this review imply advocacy or promotion of the beliefs or doctrines of any of the groups listed.
  • We welcome all corrections, comments or other verifiable information. We would especially appreciate hearing directly from the SPLC itself, as they are known to monitor this blog.

With that out of the way, onward to North Carolina!

Of the 40 alleged “hate groups” assigned to North Carolina by the SPLC for 2018, we were able to find physical addresses for 11 of them, using basic web searching techniques and verifying the results using Google Maps’ street view app.

We do not claim that this methodology is fool-proof, or necessarily the final word on the subject. It is not up to us or anyone other than the SPLC to prove that the groups they claim in their fundraising materials actually exist.

Since we know the SPLC monitors this blog, we invite and encourage them to contact us and show their work. If they have the proof in hand, how hard can it be to show it?

NC Address

North Carolina – 2018

Keen-eyed readers may notice that all 11 groups listed fall under the SPLC’s “Black Nationalist” category. In all, 19 of the 40 groups assigned to North Carolina last year are black, or nearly half the alleged total.

According to the SPLC, North Carolina’s 19 alleged Black “hate groups” outnumber all of the state’s alleged Ku Klux Klan, Neo-Confederate, Neo-Nazi, Racist Skinhead and White Nationalist groups COMBINED, and 13 out of 14 of the latter are “statewide” phantoms (versus only one alleged Black group).

As we have noted on numerous other postings, the SPLC claims that Black Nationalist groups are the largest and fastest growing category of “hate group” on its nationwide  “Hate Map” fundraising tool.

According to the SPLC, Black “hate groups” outnumber ALL of the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Confederate, neo-Nazi and Racist Skinhead “groups” on the “Hate Map” COMBINED, at 264 versus 262. Strip out the “statewide” phantoms and Black “hate groups” outnumber the other four categories combined BY THREE TO ONE, at 252 versus 82.

It turns out that 13 of North Carolina’s alleged Black “hate groups” are Black Hebrew or Black Israelite groups, whose main claim to infamy, according to the SPLC, is that they have the hate-filled audacity to “assert that black people are the biblical “chosen people” of God.”

Despite the evidence of their own numbers, the SPLC continues to claim that white “hate groups” are on the rise, a claim parroted by the Media and ultimately found in the recent Boone proclamation.

NC Website

North Carolina 2018

Next up, we have 12 groups for which no physical address could be found, or only a website or Facebook page was located. Granted, just because we were unable to find any information on these alleged groups it in no way proves that they do note exist. That being said, it’s not up to us to prove a negative.

If the SPLC has the evidence, make them produce it.

To that end, while we were not able to find a physical address for the Loyal White Knights of the KKK, we did find a recent video interview by the Charlotte Observer with three people who claim to belong to the group.

“BeaSSt Productions” would seem to be an online vendor of neo-Nazi music, but no sign of them could be found online today. Our review of other state “hate group” claims have found several cases where the accused has either moved to another state or has vanished from the Internet entirely.

With more than 300 full time employees on the payroll, nobody at the SPLC appears to have been tasked with checking on these older claims. But really, why would they? It’s not as if anyone in the Media is going to call them on it.

Last, and by all means least, we have those infamous groups for which the SPLC can provide no documentation whatsoever. Instead, the company buries them under the categorical slush fund known as “statewide.”

NC Statewide

North Carolina 2018

Since the SPLC couldn’t bother to allege a known city or town for these groups, they can be discarded out of hand. Big claims demand big proof, or any proof, for that matter.

Just for laughs, since nearly half of the alleged groups the SPLC assigned to North Carolina last year are homeless phantoms, it might be instructive to see how some of those “statewide” groups stack up nationwide.

Statewide 2018

SPLC “Statewide” groups -2018

As it turns out, 169 of the 210 alleged “hate groups” listed above are “statewide,” or 80% of the total. There are still more than 100 others on the nationwide list, but we thought it would be instructive to show in just how many cases all, or nearly all, of the alleged “groups” turn out to be unverifiable, homeless ghosts.

So there you have it. Of the 40 alleged “hate groups” assigned to North Carolina by the SPLC last year, only 11 have verifiable, physical addresses, and all of those are black “hate groups.”

In the final analysis, fully 90% of North Carolina’s alleged “hate groups” are either Black or invisible, and at least two, if not three, of the four groups remaining are websites.

The Town of Boone’s official proclamation, which cites the SPLC’s spurious claims and bemoans an alleged “rise in white nationalism” is little more than self-serving virtue signaling.

Ironically, it seems that Boone’s demographics are 94% white and less than 4% Black. Only one member of the town council is non-white.

North Carolina is only 68% white. Maybe the town council should look into its own issues of “white supremacy” and see what it can do to bring Boone out of 1919 into 2019.

That’s what the SPLC would want them to do.

—————————————————————————————————-

Considering the Southern Poverty Law Center took in over $111 million donor-dollars in 2018 and $130 million more, based largely on these flimsy claims, some of you readers might consider reporting this to your state attorneys general as potential consumer fraud.

Watching the Watchdogs will be happy to provide any additional information upon request.

SPLC — Virginia’s “Hate Groups” 2018

August 16, 2019

Every so often, it is useful to take a closer look at the “hate group” claims made by the Southern Poverty Law Center. In the first of a series of such claims directed at various states, we have examined the “hate groups” the SPLC has assigned to the Commonwealth of Virginia.

First, a little background information:

  1. There is no legal definition for “hate group.” As abhorrent as most people would find the words and deeds of many of these groups, it is important to remember that it is entirely legal to belong to any of them. This is why the FBI and local law enforcement cannot act against them until they actually break the law, or appear to be on the verge of doing so.This observation is not to be interpreted as any kind of endorsement for any group, but a reminder that as soon as individuals decide that “it’s okay to punch a Nazi,” it is only a matter of time before it’s okay to punch someone who “looks like a Nazi,” or “sounds like a Nazi,” or drives a Volkswagen, etc.Sooner or later, someone will decide that YOU must be a Nazi.Until just recently, the SPLC’s “Hate Map” tool always included the boilerplate disclaimer that:

    Listing here does not imply a group advocates or engages in violence or other criminal activity.”

    That disclaimer went away a couple years ago, leaving the donors to come to their own conclusions. Another SPLC claim that was attached to every new “Hate Map” until recently read:

    Hate group activities can include criminal acts, marches, rallies, speeches, meetings, leafleting or publishing.”

    The very idea that an organization purporting to defend civil rights would deliberately conflate six of the most fundamental, constitutionally protected First Amendment rights with “criminal acts” and “hate group activities” is beyond comprehension.

  2. The SPLC’s definition of a “hate group” is intentionally broad, so that the company can apply it as widely as possible, as we will shortly see:“All hate groups have beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics.”“Attack or malign” is too imprecise to be useful, and, as we have pointed out repeatedly in the past, is all too often applied selectively by the SPLC, so as not to offend the almighty donors.Due to the lack of an official or universal definition for “hate group,” the media and donors rely on the SPLC’s claims, thereby making the company the sole arbiter of that extremely lucrative label ($111 million donor-dollars in 2018, $130 million in 2017, way up from a mere $50 million for 2016). 
  3. The SPLC’s definition of “group” is criminally broad to the point of outright fraud. The company has no benchmark for determining how many people actually constitute a “group,” and makes no verifiable estimates of how many members a “group” might actually have.Laird Wilcox, one of the most respected researchers on the Hate Industry, noted nearly 20 years ago:“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.”More recently, in 2015, Mark Pitcavage of the Anti-Defamation League repeated Wilcox’s findings in the South Jersey Times:“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.”

     

  4. In addition to numerous PO box “groups,” the SPLC’s “Hate Map” is loaded with one-man websites, something the company has denied counting for years:”Websites appearing to be merely the work of a single individual, rather than the publication of a group, are not included in this list. “The 2017 “Hate Map” included this disclaimer, which was subsequently dropped for the most recent, 2018 map:“Entities that appear to exist only in cyberspace are not included because they are likely to be individual Web publishers who likely to falsely portray themselves as powerful, organized froups [sic].”Also in 2017, long-time SPLC frontman Mark Potok was claiming that: “We make a big effort to separate a man, his dog and a computer from a group with on-the-ground activity.”

    In February, 2019, the SPLC’s new outreach director, Kate Chance, told a gathering in Mankato, Minnesota: “An online presence isn’t enough to be added to the list; a group has to meet at least once a year at a physical location.”

    As we shall see in our examination of Virginia’s SPLC-designated “hate groups” below, these claims are patently and demonstrably false.

The Southern Poverty Law Center assigned 39 “hate groups” to Virginia for 2018. Using basic Internet search skills that any journalist or donor could easily duplicate, we searched for information on each group.

While thorough, we do not in any way claim that these searches are infallible or that other information may not be available elsewhere. If any readers have verifiable information on any of these groups, please contact us through the Comments section at the end of this post.

Better still, since the SPLC is known to monitor this blog, perhaps they would be willing to show their work and share their information with the world and their donors.

Big claims, after all, demand big proof, or any proof, for that matter.

To simplify our results, we broke our findings into three basic sections. The first consists of alleged “groups” where either a physical address could be identified, or those where no information could be found whatsoever.

The second section identifies “groups” that appear to exist only as websites. The last section contains alleged “groups” that the SPLC has designated only as “statewide,” a dubious device that we will explore further in detail.

VaGroups2018-3

Group One

As our Group One results indicate, we were only able to identify five alleged groups with verifiable physical addresses. Using Google Maps street view tool, we were able to identify brick-and-mortar locations with appropriate signage.

Using this tool, we were able to eliminate several other groups listing physical addresses on their websites when those addresses turned out to be private mail forwarding services, such as the UPS Store.

It’s worth noting that the advocacy group, ProEnglish, has been residing in Washington, DC, since at least 2017, according to the Internet Archive’s amazing Wayback Machine, and should not be on Virginia’s list to begin with.

In fact, whether or not you agree with ProEnglish’s stated mission to make English the official language of all federal and state governments, the argument is a legitimate political position, which in no way “attacks or maligns” anyone. Calling the organization a “hate group” because you disagree with the position is disingenuous at best, especially since the vast majority of the world’s nations have one or more official languages.

Three of Virginia’s alleged Black Nationalist groups had verifiable addresses as well. The rhetoric of the Nation of Islam’s leadership clearly falls within most people’s definition of anti-Semitism.

Seventy-six of the 264 Black Nationalist groups the SPLC designated nationwide last year are Nation of Islam mosques, but surprisingly, the company does not consider them to be “Muslim hate groups,” as that would clash with their more lucrative “anti-Muslim hate group” category.

The largest single alleged anti-Muslim group on the map is ACT for America, at 47 iterations, but the national website no longer tracks local units and all new members must sign on as individual activists. If the SPLC can show proof of the locations of any of their ACT groups we’d be very interested in seeing it.

It’s also noteworthy that Virginia’s remaining Black Nationalist “groups” are Black Israelite churches, who are “hateful” because, as the SPLC notes, “Some religious versions assert that black people are the biblical “chosen people” of God.”

Think about that for a moment.

VaGroups2018-Full

Group Two

Group Two of our results are those for which nothing could be found beyond a website and Post Office or Private Mail Box (PMB). While people may gain access to these “groups” through their websites or snail mail, there was nothing on any of the sites to indicate any extensive jackboots-on-the-ground, with one glaring exception.

The Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation (FGF), whose mission since 2003 has been “…to promote and preserve the glorious traditions and culture of Western civilization and Christianity,” invited its members to join them this past February for a magnificent “Evening of Viennese Waltzing” in DC.

Waltzing

If Western Civilization and Christianity were not enough to trigger SPLC donors, a night of waltzing would be money in the bank.

The event previous to the Grand Ball was an 80th birthday tribute to publisher Jon Utley in 2014 and a PowerPoint presentation from 2011.

VDARE and American Renaissance are both online blogs. Washington Summit Publishers, IHS Press and even FGF are online booksellers. In the Spirit of Chartres Committee, “Dedicated to promoting and defending Pre-Vatican II Catholic social teachings…,” offers books like Ethics and the National Economy and Catholicism, Protestantism, and Capitalism, as well as DVDs of lectures recorded in the early 2000s.

The American Immigration Control Foundation is located in picturesque Monterey, Virginia (population 156), which is also home to one of the best maple syrup festivals this side of northern New England. There is more of hotcakes than “hotbeds” in that part of the world.

Red Ice, as its website explains, “delivers videos” and offers “an alternative to the mainstream, covering politics and social issues from a pro-European perspective.” Based in Sweden, they recently announced a presence in Harrisonburg, Va, but the address given is for a UPS Store in a strip mall, and their website ISP is registered in Montreal, Canada.

Harrisonburg is a college town and the local colleges and universities compete nationwide for the best students. Does the town really deserve to be tarnished with a “hate group” over a private mail box for a foreign website?

In all, 15 of Virginia’s alleged “hate groups” appear to exist only as online entities. We won’t pretend that some, perhaps many, will find their content to be offensive, but it is still protected speech and do one or two social Neanderthals running a website really constitute a “group”?

Is it really “attacking and maligning” when you have to physically search these “groups” out in order to be properly outraged?

Perhaps the biggest question would be how many people would ever have heard of these “groups” without the free worldwide publicity generated by the SPLC?

VaGroups2018-Statewide

Group Three

Our last section deals with those alleged “hate groups” the SPLC has merely designated as “statewide,” without even going through the motions of making up an alleged city or town.

As many Watching the Watchdogs readers are painfully aware, our primary focus is to get out the word that the SPLC’s “statewide” designation is worthless for verifying any claims about these groups. As the data provided above demonstrates, even the inclusion of a known location is no guarantee that a “group” actually exists there.

Imagine telling someone that your organization had identified hundreds of active UFO bases across this great land of ours.

“Great Scott!,” they might exclaim. “Where are they?”

“We found 17 in Georgia, 23 in Wisconsin, four more in Rhode Island…”

“This is incredible news! You have to take us there!”

“Um, well, we don’t actually know WHERE the sites are, but we sure as heck know that they are really out there. Trust us!”

People would throw rocks at you, and rightly so. Tell the same folks that you found hundreds of invisible “hate groups,” with no verifiable proof whatsoever, though, and they will throw millions of donor-dollars at you instead.

Incredible news, indeed. Literally.

Nationwide, fully 322 of the 1,020 “hate groups” designated by the SPLC for 2018 are “statewide” phantoms. That works out to one-in-three, just as it does with Virginia’s alleged count. In many states, 80-, 90- and even a full 100% of the groups designated are homeless “statewide” phantoms.

The SPLC padded its “Hate Map” with 107 brand new “statewide” phantoms in 2017 alone. And nobody in the Media said a word.

Just for fun, check out how some of Virginia’s invisible “groups” fare across the country:

VaGroups2018-Statewide-Nationwide

Nationwide “Statewide Groups”

In all, 153 of 194 alleged “groups” turn out to be “statewide” across the country, or, once again, roughly one-in-three. Do you see a pattern here?

We found this exercise to be illuminating and we hope you did as well. As mentioned, we plan on examining the “hate groups” designated to several other states, though we will skip the lengthy preamble next time and get right to the meat.

It is our intention to pass this information along to the Attorney General of Virginia’s consumer fraud division. Considering the hundreds of millions of dollars the Southern Poverty Law Center takes in from peddling these faulty figures, the matter deserves to be brought to the attention of the proper legal authorities.

Maybe that will induce the SPLC to show its work. If they have the proof in hand already, how hard can it be?

 

SPLC — Hate Map 2019 — Prove It!

March 3, 2019

Well, Friends, it’s that magical time of year again when the Southern Poverty Law Center unveils its latest annual “Hate Map” fundraising tool. The map purports to identify “hate groups” in the US over the previous fiscal year. As always, the map is filled with half-truths, untruths and every ham-fisted propaganda technique known to man.

And as usual, the Media has been reprinting the SPLC’s spurious claims without   even the most rudimentary fact checks.

Not to fear. We at Watching the Watchdogs are only too happy to run a fact checker over the “Hate Map,” and, unlike the SPLC, we will show our work. There’s a lot to unpack here, so pull up your hip boots, slip on your rubber gloves and let’s wade in.

Hate Groups: There is NO legal definition for “hate group.” Period. This is why even the FBI does not, cannot, designate “hate groups,” but somehow a private fundraising company can and the Media has no problem with it.* Think about that.

[*There does exist a single FBI document online that lists a number of violent, criminal groups by name. This is an internal training document, written in 1995 and reprinted a couple of years ago, verbatim. The designation of these groups as “hate groups” is solely the opinion of the author, not a description used under federal law.]

The fact is that a “hate group” is whatever the SPLC says it is. The company is the sole arbiter and designator of that insanely profitable label. They receive no external review or oversight. They control the world’s supply of “hate group” designations, and, like any monopoly, they are prone to abuse their power.

Physical Locations: If you are going to designate “hate groups,” then you need to provide hard evidence that a journalist, researcher or even a donor can use to verify your claims. That’s not too much to ask. In fact, it’s pretty much Journalism 101. “Trust, but verify.”

The SPLC does include a number of brick-and-mortar organizations on its “Hate Map,” such as the Family Research Council and the Center for Immigration Studies, but these make up a fraction of the overall total. Otherwise, all we have is the company’s word for it that there is a chapter of the League of the South in Weogufka, Alabama, (Pop. 282), and that’s not good enough. It certainly isn’t professional journalism.

On February 21, 2019, SPLC “Outreach Manager” Kate Chance told a crowd of 300 in Mankato, MN, that: “An online presence isn’t enough to be added to the list; a group has to meet at least once a year at a physical location.”

Even a cursory glance at the “Hate Map” shows numerous one-man websites. In 2015, Mark Pitcavage, Director of Investigative Research at the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), stated publicly that 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.”

Pitcavage’s statement confirms what veteran fringe-group researcher Laird Wilcox has been saying for decades: “There was another phenomenon I noticed. Several racist groups published large numbers of local post office box listings, as in local chapters.”

“When I tried to check these [SPLC “hate group” claims] out I found that many of them were false—the box was closed after one rental or that the mail was forwarded elsewhere. I think a lot of these never existed or were just some guy renting different post office boxes.”

In 2009, the SPLC’s own Director of Intelligence, Mark Potok, confirmed the P.O. box scam to the San Luis Obispo Tribune: “Potok says inclusion on the [“Hate Map”] list might come from a minor presence, such as a post office box.” (March 25, 2009)

If you claim there’s a “hate group” chapter in Weogufka, or any other known city or town, just show your proof. Prove to us that an alleged group on the “Hate Map” is not a one-man website or long-abandoned P.O. box. If the SPLC has done all of the research it claims it has, how hard can that be?

“Statewide” Chapters: This is the ultimate smoking gun when it comes to exposing the spurious nature of the “Hate Map” fundraising tool.

Of the 1,020 “hate groups” designated by the SPLC for 2018, fully 322 of them are simply marked “statewide,” meaning the company provides no verifiable information, not even a known city or town, whatsoever. Nothing. Nada. Zilch.

That’s one-in-four alleged groups right off the top and nobody in the Media seems to have a problem with it. “Nothing to see here, folks…” Literally. As the graph below indicates, the SPLC simply makes up “statewide” groups out of thin air.

For 2017, the SPLC claimed that the number of “hate groups” rose by 37 chapters to 954. The number of “statewide” phantoms grew by 107, from 193 to 300, over the same period. The company is losing “groups” faster than it can create them.

Statewide Numbers

Fear and Outrage: The purpose of the SPLC’s annual “Hate Map” is to generate fear and outrage, which the company then deftly spins into cash donations and political power. For 2016, the SPLC reported tax-free donations of $50 million. For 2017, the year of the Charlottesville riots and Trump the Baleful, donations exploded to $132 million and the company’s cash endowment ballooned to more than $433 million, 98% of which is designated as “unrestricted” in use.

Clearly, the SPLC has a strong financial interest in keeping the number of alleged “hate groups” as high as the donor market will bear.

When the “Hate Map” was simply a tool to separate gullible donors from their hard-earned money it was bad enough, but those victims were self-selected. They didn’t care if the SPLC’s “facts” were bogus or not because they wanted (and still do want) to believe them with all their heart and soul. As far as SPLC donors are concerned, they’re getting what they are paying for.

The truly terrifying thing about the SPLC’s “Hate Map” scam is that it is now finding its way into the private realm, with social media giants such as Apple, Google and Twitter using this disinformation to decide who gets to speak and who gets banished to the Cyber-Gulag.

As Orwellian as that situation is, unfiltered, unvetted SPLC “hate group” propaganda has been finding its way into government discourse at all levels, from local to federal, for years.

Certain law enforcement agencies and think tanks regurgitate SPLC claims, knowing full well the numbers are meaningless, because the fear generated by them guarantees continued funding for another year.

2018: The Hype: Time to have a closer look at the SPLC’s hyperbolic claims for the 2018 “Hate Map.” This year the company was kind enough to provide a handy link on its “Hate Map” that allows you to download the data into a spreadsheet. This makes spotting the inaccuracies so simple that even a professional journalist could do it.

The company also provides a handy graph showing the steady growth, more or less, of alleged “hate groups” since 1999. That chart doesn’t really present well on WordPress, so we’ve enlarged a segment to make things a little clearer.

“Hate groups have reached RECORD HIGHS!!!”

It’s true. According to the map, “hate groups” reached 1,020 in 2018, the highest number ever designated by the SPLC; i.e., a “record.” We’re doomed!

What was the previous record? The SPLC designated 1,018 “hate groups” in 2011 as proof of an “explosive growth” due to the 2010 election of Barack Obama. Despite controlling the supply of “hate group” labels, the SPLC could only show “explosive growth” of 1.6% for the first full year of the Obama Administration, which was soon followed by “record-breaking” decline (in fact, the only series of declines in SPLC history) of a whopping 23% over the course of the president’s second term in office.

And while the number of alleged groups grew by 16, from 1,002 to 1,018, the number of “statewide” phantoms “exploded” from 148 to 247 over the same period, as shown by the chart above.

2018 Hate Group Graph 1

2018 Hate Group Graph 2

“Hate groups have GROWN BY 30% over the past four years!!!”

Propagandists absolutely adore percent signs. When you’re selling fear and outrage nothing stirs up the customer base like an empty statistic. Most Media articles will mention a 7% increase in the number of alleged groups from 2017 to 2018, but none of them will mention that the number of “statewide” phantoms grew at an identical rate last year. So what was gained?

The SPLC had to go back to its self-imposed 2014 trough to come up with a far more impressive sounding 30% increase. What the company fails to mention, and what nobody in the Media will tell you, is that the number of “statewide” phantoms grew by 84% over the same span.

“White “hate groups” are SURGING!!!”

According to the SPLC’s own numbers… not so much. The chart below indicates that one full year into the Trump-o-Caust, fully nine out the company’s fifteen “hate group” categories have DECLINED since 2017, (shown in yellow), and two others, marked in blue, have remained static, although even “Hate Music” is down from 2016 levels.

In fact, Ku Klux Klan is at an all-time record low of 51, according to SPLC records, far surpassing its previous all-time low set during… wait for it… the Obama Administration. Apparently, they don’t make “surges” like they used to.

Comparisons-2018-2017

That leaves the four categories, marked in red, that reflect an alleged increase over 2017 levels, but, as with all things SPLC, a closer look reveals a very different story.

General Hate: When you’re in the fearmongering game it is often helpful to have a nice, generic, catch-all phrase that allows you to designate the “other” without having to go into a lot of detail. This is why the SPLC’s “General Hate” category has been so important to the company over the years.

These groups espouse a variety of rather unique hateful doctrines and beliefs that are not easily categorized. Many of the groups are vendors that sell a miscellany of hate materials from several different sectors of the white supremacist movement,” says the SPLC website.

“Many of the ‘groups’ are vendors,” meaning that if you are a one-man website selling neo-Nazi music or Confederate t-shirts, you are a bona fide “group.” No matter that people have to actively seek you out in order to purchase your 100% legal wares, you are a “threat” and must be demonized and shut down by the thought police.

This is especially ironic as long-time SPLC frontman Mark Potok was claiming as late as February, 2017. that: “We make a big effort to separate a man, his dog and a computer from a group with on-the-ground activity.”

(Sadly, the following month, Mr. Potok was unceremoniously kicked to the curb by his employer of 20-odd years without so much as a “thank you” for his decades of highly lucrative service. Potok created the “Hate Map” out of thin air and used it to bring  hundreds of millions of tax-free donor-dollars into the SPLC’s coffers. Some gratitude.)

So what drove the increase in “General Hate”? For the most part, it can be tracked to the SPLC’s “creative accounting” techniques. In 2017, the company trotted out a brand new “hate group” category: Neo-Völkisch. Sounds Teutonic, no? The Nazis were German and so these Neo-Völkisch haters must be evil too.

Neo-Völkisch adherents worship the Norse or Germanic gods, spirituality premised on the survival of white Europeans and the preservation of dead or dying cultures they presume to embody.”

Are they dangerous?

…violence rarely erupts from the neo-Völkisch movement.”

So why are they a “hate group” now?

Hyper-masculine imagery fetishized within neo-Völkisch spheres reinforces misogyny and traditional gender roles.

Yes, folks, “traditional gender roles.” Not to be confused with the Amish, Muslims, Orthodox Jewry and a large percentage of Latino immigrants. No doubt their slogan should read “Me Tarzan. You Jane.” And the Media never said a word.

The SPLC has apparently abolished the neo-Völkisch brand and folded all of those organizations into “General Hate,” making up more than half of that category’s recent increase. One group, the Asatru Folk Assembly, even expanded from 11 chapters (10 of which were “statewide”) to 17 chapters (15 “statewide”).

The “American Guard,” which was already in “General Hate” limbo, expanded from 10 chapters/10 “statewide” to 17 chapters/17 “statewide.” The “Proud Boys” also showed a healthy increase by burgeoning from 3 chapters/ 1 “statewide” to 44 chapters/16 “statewide” overnight.

If the SPLC has vetted addresses for 30-plus new chapters, now would be a really good time for them to produce them. How hard could it be?

White Nationalist: The core cause of the increase in this category lies mainly with the SPLC’s own peculiar form of inflation.

“The Right Stuff” is a new addition to the “Hate Map,” and appears to be a blog, which begs the question as to how exactly the SPLC can designate 34 chapters of it (14 of which are statewide)?

This isn’t the first time the SPLC has franchised websites (which they make a “big effort to separate” from actual “groups,” remember?). In 2015, the SPLC recognized exactly one chapter of Daily Stormer, a one-man website out of Ohio that Mark Potok described as “mostly Andrew Angelin, his dog, and a computer.”

By 2016, the SPLC was counting 31 Stormer websites (30 “statewide”) which has declined to 22 chapters for 2018, 21 of which are “statewide.” How does a one-man website end up with multiple chapters, and how are websites, real or imagined, “groups”?

What was it that SPLC Outreach Director Kate Chance said about “a web presence alone” not being sufficient for a “hate group” designation? What was it that SPLC Intelligence Director Potok said about the company “making a big effort” to exclude one-man, one-dog websites from the list?

“The Patriot Front” went from 4 chapters/1 “statewide” to 16 chapters/15 “statewide” last year. “Identity Evropa” was another big winner in 2018, more than doubling from 15 alleged chapters/11 “statewide,” to 38 chapters/19 “statewide.”

The vast majority of Evropa’s increase seems to come from reports of posters and stickers for the “group” being found on lamp posts and college campuses. The only recent sighting of actual men-on-the-ground came a few weeks ago when 11 men were spotted on a hill overlooking the University of Utah unfurling a banner marked “End Immigration!”

Identity Evropa makes its propaganda posters available online, where any individual can download them and distribute them under the cover of darkness. While emotions run high on both sides of the debate, “End Immigration” is as valid and as legal an opinion as anything any Open Borders supporters could post. Immigration is a legal matter. You can be for it, against it or neutral on the issue, as you deem fit.

Once again, the SPLC is using the actions of lone-wolf individuals, just as it does with anonymous P.O. boxes, to pad out its lucrative “group” counts. If the the company has the proof, let them show it.

Neo-Confederate: One of the smaller categories on the “Hate Map,” neo-Confederate groups allegedly made modest gains from 31 chapters/6 “statewide” in 2017 to 36 chapters/9 “statewide” in 2018.

Not only were most of the gains made by “statewide” phantoms, but a new inductee, “Wildman’s Civil War Surplus” store, in Kennesaw, GA. has been added to the list. The sole proprietor, and apparently the one and only member of this new “group,” appears to be octogenarian Dent “Wild Man” Myers.

This cranky old hippie doesn’t seem to be much of a threat to the world at large (although he is reported to pack twin .45s). The important thing is that his appearance, attitudes and demeanor will outrage the SPLC’s donor base. Thanks to the fundraisers at the SPLC, Wild Man Myers has gotten more free publicity than he could ever have dreamed of. At least this “group” has a fixed physical address, which is more than can be said of most.

Wildman's Kennesaw

Wildman’s One-Man “Group”

Black Nationalist: According to the SPLC,” Black “hate groups” represent the largest single category of “hate group” on their “Hate Map” fundraising tool. If you strip out all of the “statewide” phantoms from the tool, Black “hate groups” are also the fastest growing category by far, according to the SPLC.

Black Hate Groups

In fact, at face value, Black “hate groups” outnumber ALL of the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Confederate, neo-Nazi and Racist Skinhead “groups” on the “Hate Map” COMBINED, at 264 versus 262. Strip out the “statewide” phantoms and Black “hate groups” outnumber the other four categories combined BY THREE-TO-ONE, at 252 versus 82.

Remember the narrative, folks: “White hate groups are on the rise!”

Naturally, these inconvenient facts wouldn’t sit well with the donor/customer base, so the SPLC has to make excuses: “The black nationalist movement is a reaction to centuries of institutionalized white supremacy in America.”

Insinuating that Blacks and other Persons of Color are somehow incapable of the very human traits of nationalism, tribalism, xenophobia and racism is the lowest form of soft racism. Thank goodness POC’s have the White Saviors at the SPLC to swoop in and protect them.

Still, there must be some reason for including them on the list: “Most forms of black nationalism are strongly anti-white and anti-Semitic.” Considering the lucrative rhetoric that pours forth from the SPLC, one can imagine that “anti-white” sentiments fall pretty low on the company’s list of offenses.

The most baffling charge leveled against Black “hate groups” is that “Some religious versions assert that black people are the biblical “chosen people” of God.”

Think about that. The SPLC is actually weighing in as to which religious sect has copyright on who are God’s “chosen people.” No pandering here. Move along.

It’s also worth noting that the 76 chapters of the Nation of Islam, plus a handful of overtly Black Muslim groups hidden under “General Hate, do not count as “Muslim hate groups,” even though their religion is their primary reason for being.

The SPLC pads out its 100 alleged Anti-Muslim “hate groups” with 47 individual chapters of “Act for America” and ten “statewide” chapters of the “Soldiers of Odin,” (out of eleven), so having nearly twice as many Muslim “hate groups” would confuse the customers.

Collateral damage: So what happens when the Southern Poverty Law Center sets its sights on your state, your town or even your own person? While the primary function of the “Hate Map” is to extract lucre from liberals, there are serious ramifications for real people on the ground.

At the state level, negative publicity generated by the SPLC’s spurious “hate group” numbers can dissuade individuals and corporations from moving to your part of the country. Who in their right minds would relocate the next Apple, Amazon or Facebook headquarters to a “hateful” state or city?

The quote from the Anti-Defamation League’s Mark Pitcavage, cited above, came in response to a headline in the South Jersey Times that claimed: “New Jersey has the fourth highest number of hate groups in country, says Southern Poverty Law Center.”

The SPLC had assigned 40 “hate groups” to New Jersey that year, including 14 chapters of the AC Skins (“AC” as in “Atlantic City”). As Pitcavage noted, the SPLC’s claims were “wildly inflated” with the company listing one or two individuals as “groups.”

By 2015, whether because of, or in spite of, Mark Pitcavage’s “outing,” New Jersey’s “hate group” count dropped from 40 to 21, largely by shedding 13 of the 14 alleged chapters of the AC Skins overnight.

Larger states, like New Jersey, California, Texas and Florida can absorb stupid “hate group” claims better than smaller ones, although the last thing New Jersey needs is another spurious groin kick to its reputation. This year’s “Hate Map” has introduced a new meaningless “statistic” that directly affects many states with smaller populations.

The 2018 “Hate Map” now identifies those states with the highest number of “hate groups per capita.” The company comes to this worthless designation by dividing the state’s population by 100,000 and then again by the number of alleged “hate groups.”

Predictably, those states with the smallest populations ranked highest on the list, with states like Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, New Hampshire and South Dakota making it into a “Top Ten States per Capita” Hall of Shame. What kind of numbers does it take to get into this elite club?

Alaska: 4 groups/3 “statewide”
Hawaii: 5 groups/3 “statewide”
Idaho: 10 groups/4 “statewide
New Hampshire: 10 groups*/6 “statewide
South Dakota: 7 groups/2 “statewide

(*Two of New Hampshire’s alleged “groups,” the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and its online publishing arm, IHM Media, are located in the same building in tiny Richmond, NH, population 1,155. The SPLC counts them twice to pad its numbers.)

The “per capita” designation is worthless and is designed only to spread fear and outrage among the donors. Under this warped measurement, these small population states have more McDonald’s, Burger Kings and Starbucks “per capita” than other states. So what? Do Whoppers and Big Macs cause “hate groups”? Is there a link between lattes and “extremism”?

(Don’t laugh. In 2012, the peer-reviewed academic journal, Social Science Quarterly, actually published a paper based on SPLC “data” claiming that Walmarts cause “hate groups.”)

For 2011, the SPLC assigned 20 chapters of the Georgia Militia to that state’s “hate map,” tucked under the “General Hate” catch-all. One chapter was pinpointed to somewhere in Camden County, another was at large in Blairsville (population 611) and locations for the remaining 18 chapters were simply left blank (in those days, the company didn’t bother with the “statewide” canard, it simply left locations for 25% of its locations blank. It’s not like anyone in the Media is going to say anything about it.)

Eighteen out of 20 locations left blank and yet the SPLC included every last one for the 2011 “hate group” count. By 2012 the count was one group in Camden County/13 blank, in 2013 they counted Camden County and 11 blanks, and by 2014 the “group” had vanished into thin air as quickly as it had appeared.

Georgia, like New Jersey, is already the butt of a lot of bad publicity. What happens when 27 out of the 63 “groups” the SPLC assigned to Georgia for 2011 are homeless phantoms? That’s 43% of the alleged total right off the bat. Remember, one-in-three Georgians are minorities. What does this needless, worthless negative publicity do for their economic opportunities? The only people profiting from the “Hate Map” are at the SPLC.

Let’s zoom in to the city/town level. Major cities can absorb “hate group” hits up to a point, but there’s a limit. Baltimore’s image is hardly burnished by the claim that it is home to 11 “hate groups,” seven of which are Black Nationalists, according to the SPLC. What does that even mean for the people on the ground there?

When the SPLC assigns “hate groups” to smaller municipalities the ramifications are even greater. Politico Magazine, hardly a right-wing rag, documented the plight of two small towns, villages actually, who were added to the SPLC’s “Hate Map” for 2017 on the flimsiest of evidence.

Tony Rehagen’s February 2018 article, “What happens when your town lands on the Hate Map?” ought to be required reading for every schoolchild, journalist and donor. As the article’s subtitle indicates: “You freak out. You try and clear your name. You get nowhere.”

Case in point, the village of Gurnee, Illinois, sits beside Lake Michigan and its economy relies heavily on lake-based sports tourism. With no warning whatsoever, the village found itself on the 2017 “Hate Map” with one chapter of the Ku Klos Knights of the KKK.

Horrified at the accusation, the mayor and police chief of Gurnee contacted the SPLC for more details about this group. According to Heidi Beirich, who replaced the cast-off Mark Potok as SPLC Director of Intelligence, someone at the company found a single post on a KKK website where an individual, claiming to be an “exalted cyclops” posted his name and the address “Gurnee, Il, 60031.”

As Rehagen notes in his article, that scrap of address isn’t even “enough information to get a letter properly delivered,” but it was more than enough to get Gurnee on the “Hate Map.” As further proof, Beirich claimed that she sent an email to the guy’s Gmail account and the fact that she allegedly received a reply from that anonymous account PROVED that there was a KKK group in Gurnee.

Think about that, SPLC donors. This is the kind of hard-hitting investigative research your dollars are funding.

When the Chief of Police informed Dr. Beirich that he had performed a thorough investigation and could find no evidence of anyone by that person’s name ever living in Gurnee, the Director of Intelligence told him the matter was out of her hands. Gurnee would remain on the “Hate Map” for all of 2017 until the new version was released in February 2018.

Think about that… Any 12-year-old can update a web page, but the SPLC’s online “Hate Map” is static and frozen in time forever. Really? We’ll explain the real reason for Beirich’s inaction directly, but first another tale from Rehagen’s article that is even more ludicrous than this one.

The village of Amana, Iowa, also known as home to the Amana Colonies, also found itself on the 2017 “Hate Map” as home to one of the “Daily Stormer” websites mentioned previously in this post. The problem was that the Amana Colonies were founded in the mid-nineteenth century by German Lutheran immigrants (who later founded the Amana Corporation of refrigerator, washing machine and Radarange fame) and is currently a historic landmark listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. It’s populated by costumed “interpreters” demonstrating 19th century farm life.

Amana Colonies

Amana, Iowa

Assigning a “hate group” to Amana is about as logical as assigning one to Virginia’s Colonial Williamsburg or Massachusetts’ “Plimoth Plantation.”

Never one to allow facts to get in the way of a juicy “hate group,” Heidi Beirich explained to Amana’s officials that she had solid evidence. As Tony Rehagen recounts:

“Someone at the SPLC spotted a chat thread on the Daily Stormer, in which someone with the screen name “Concerned Troll” had proposed a neo-Nazi “book club” meeting in an Amana café. No one in Amana was able to confirm to the SPLC whether or not the meeting actually took place, but that was enough to earn the corn-carpeted state its only swastika.”

That’s it, friends. The rock-solid evidence the SPLC uses to assign “hate groups” to known cities or towns. How many other localities have been tarred needlessly by such tissue-thin evidence? Why is Tony Rehagen one of the few professional journalists to actually question the SPLC’s claims?

Despite being in the same jam as Gurnee, Amana had a somewhat happier outcome. It seems that there is one editing loophole in the otherwise permanent “Hate Map” fundraising tool. Heidi Beirich was able to move Amana’s neo-Nazi “group” off the village and into the “statewide” category. Iowa still ended the year with four “hate groups,” because whatever number the SPLC cooks up each February goes on all of its press releases and other fundraising materials for the entire fiscal year. For that number to change would hint at fallibility.

Gurnee was not so lucky, though. Unfortunately, Heidi Beirich had already assigned a “statewide” chapter of the Ku Klos Knights to Illinois, and while it would not be unprecedented for the “Hate Map,” even the most ardent SPLC donors would have a hard time swallowing two “statewide” chapters in the same state. So Gurnee had no choice but to suck it up and wait a full year until the next “Hate Map” could be cobbled together to clear its name.

In 2008, the small town of Winchester, NH, (nextdoor neighbor to the aforementioned Richmond, NH), spent a year on the “Hate Map” because of an alleged KKK group, even though town selectmen and Police Chief Gary Phillips attested that there was no “group” in town. In the same article from the Keene Sentinel newspaper, Anthony D. Griggs, identified as an SPLC research analyst, described the difficulty in identifying “hate groups” and made an amazingly candid observation:

“In some instances, it could be just a guy and a couple of his buddies,” Griggs said.

The “hate group” smear attacks entire communities, as if they are somehow to blame for every nut who opens a P.O. box or posts some stupidity on a web site. Towns like Gurnee and Amana have very tourism-dependent economies. They did nothing wrong but were still held hostage to the whims of the SPLC’s fundraising machinery and, with very few exceptions, like Tony Rehagen, the media turn a blind eye to it because lurid tales of “hate groups” are solid gold click-bait.

And finally, what happens to individuals targeted as “extremists” by SPLC fundraisers?

When the SPLC created  “A Journalist’s Manual: Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists” in October, 2016, it included the names of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a woman born in Somalia who underwent forced female genital mutilation at the age of five, and Maajid Nawaz, a British-born Muslim of Pakistani descent. Both people are outspoken critics of Islamic extremism. Both have criticized violent Muslim fundamentalists and the doctrine that drives their actions.

Soon after being placed on the list, Nawaz explained the consequences to David A. Graham of The Atlantic magazine:

“They put a target on my head. The kind of work that I do, if you tell the wrong kind of Muslims that I’m an extremist, then that means I’m a target,” he said. “They don’t have to deal with any of this. I don’t have any protection. I don’t have any state protection. These people are putting me on what I believe is a hit list.”

Ayaan Hirsi Ali was already on a Muslim extremist hit list. As the SPLC piece explained. “While in the Netherlands, she wrote the script for a short and provocative film about women and Islam directed by the Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh, who was murdered in the street by a jihadist a short time after its release. The murderer left a note threatening to also kill Hirsi Ali pinned to his victim’s body with a knife.”

The SPLC piece put Ali, who moved to the United States for her own safety, on the same hit list as Maajid Nawaz. Unlike Ali, and most people who find themselves on SPLC lists, Nawaz had the wherewithal to sue the company for defamation and in mid-2018, the SPLC conceded defeat and entered into a settlement with Nawaz for $3.4 million.

While Ayaan Hirsi Ali and the other “extremists” were not compensated, the SPLC ultimately took down its online “field guide” altogether. In fact, the link we provided for it had to be routed through the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine. The same link on the SPLC website now redirects to an apology to Nawaz. The good news is that the SPLC’s $433 million cash reserves remained intact. The $3.4 million settlement was paid out by the company’s insurance carrier.

One final incident, which received a lot of publicity at the time but bears repeating here, in August 2012, LGBT activist Floyd Corkins walked into the Family Research Council’s (FRC) office in Washington, DC,  with a gun. Corkins later told investigators that his intent was to kill as many FRC personnel as possible because the SPLC listed the organization as anti-LGBT on its “Hate Map.”

Fortunately, the FRC’s security guard, Leo Johnson, who was unarmed, was able to subdue Corkins, in spite of being shot himself in the struggle. The SPLC, who are always quick to attribute the actions of every lone-wolf loon to the “far Right” or as being “emboldened by Trump,” were even quicker to deny that any Left-wing loons could possibly be influenced by its “Hate Map” propaganda.

It is our hope that the long-winded examples laid out above will give some people, especially professional journalists, pause when it comes to blindly accepting SPLC “Hate Map” propaganda as “fact.” To recap:

  • There is no legal definition for “hate group.” The SPLC is the self-appointed arbiter of that label and uses it to generate hundreds of millions of dollars.
  • If nothing else, the simple fact that the SPLC hides hundreds of its alleged “hate groups” under a meaningless “statewide” umbrella ought to cast doubt on the accuracy of its claims. If they have the proof, demand that they produce it.
  • The vast majority of the remaining “hate groups” are only identified by an alleged city or town. As the stories of Gurnee, Amana and Winchester show, those claims are often based on ridiculously flimsy evidence, such as an anonymous P.O. box or Tweet. Make the SPLC show its evidence.
  • Despite claims to the contrary, each year’s “Hate Map” includes dozens of one-man web sites and online vendors and booksellers. Make the SPLC explain how someone like Wild Man Myers constitutes a “group” and what real threat he poses to the community. “We don’t like it!” isn’t good enough.
  • Empty, meaningless “statistics” like the SPLC’s new “per capita” counts are worthless. They are intended solely for creating outrage and fear and pose real public relations problems for low-population states that can least afford it.
  • The SPLC’s spurious “hate group” and “extremist” claims create real economic and safety issues for communities and individuals. The whole purpose of the “hate group” label is to dehumanize people in order to agitate the SPLC’s donor base.

As of this writing, there are two civil law suits pending against the SPLC. The Center for Immigration Studies is pursuing a RICO-based racketeering suit against, the SPLC, Heidi Beirich and SPLC president, Richard Cohen, for repeating the claim that the Center is a “hate group.”

Maryland attorney Glen Allen is also pursuing a racketeering case against the SPLC, Beirich and Mark Potok. Allen contends that the SPLC purchased stolen documents which the company then used to get Allen fired from his post as an attorney for the City of Baltimore.

Both cases have merit, and both cases reference the SPLC’s “hate group” tactics, but neither actually address the demonstrable inaccuracies in the “Hate Map” tool that we have laid out above. It seems pretty apparent that the SPLC uses these claims, knowing full well that the information is bogus, in order to accrue hundreds of millions of dollars in tax-free donations.

If any journalist or attorney would be willing to pursue a fraud suit against the Southern Poverty Law Center in the future, we at Watching the Watchdogs will make all of our evidence available upon request.

As we have said many times, the SPLC’s “Hate Map” numbers are for fundraising, not for fact-finding. Make the company show its proof once and for all.

 

SPLC — 2018 Hate Map: Fake News Galore

February 25, 2018

The Southern Poverty Law Center recently released its 2018 “Hate Map” fundraising tool, and as usual, the Media is regurgitating the company’s claims without performing even the most rudimentary fact-checks.

Fortunately, that’s what we here at Watching the Watchdogs do best.

First, a little housekeeping:

  1. The 2018 “Hate Map,” as with all of its predecessors, refers to the number of alleged “hate groups” the SPLC designated for the previous fiscal year. The 2018 map refers to alleged groups from FY 2017.
  2. There is no legal or even universal definition for the term “hate group,” which is why even the FBI cannot, does not, designate “hate groups,” but somehow a private “advocacy group” can do so, early and often.
  3. Even the SPLC, which is the sole arbiter of the lucrative “hate group” label, does not have a firm definition for “hate group” beyond the nebulous and elastic claim that “All hate groups have beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics.”That “definition” is suitably vague enough to be applied to nearly anything. As we will soon see, a “group” need not even be an actual boots-on-the-ground “group” to be included on the list. The “Hate Map” is rife with one-man websites, online vendors and nearly 300 “Statewide” phantoms.
  4. As Mark Potok, the SPLC’s former longtime Intelligence Director, stated publicly on numerous occasions: “…a “hate group” has nothing to do with criminality… [or] potential for violence…” Rather, as Potok put it, “It’s all about ideology.”No crime. No violence. Just “wrong thinking.”

    According to the SPLC, “Hate group activities can include criminal acts, marches, rallies, speeches, meetings, leafleting or publishing.” That any advocacy group could deliberately conflate six of the most fundamental First Amendment civil rights with “criminal acts” and “hate group activities” is beyond belief.

    Under this “definition,” Dr. King, the Freedom Riders and anyone even remotely associated with the Civil Rights Movement would be guilty of “hate group activities.”

With this background information in mind, let’s have a look at the 2018 “Hate Map.”

The latest “hate group” count is up from 917 to 954, which, in the wake of the very real racial tensions of 2017, including the Charlottesville riots, is a surprisingly low increase of only 4%

Keep in mind, when you are the sole arbiter of the “hate group” label, you can make up as many as you want. The Media, and more importantly, the almighty donors, would have swallowed nearly any number the company saw fit to claim.

As mentioned above, the SPLC cannot actually locate 297 of these groups on any map, including their own. This number includes 291 “Statewide” chapters, for which no information other than an alleged home state is provided, as well as two groups skulking in “Incomplete,” one each in “Eastern” and “Central” Pennsylvania and one each in “North” and “South” California.

Hard data doesn’t get any harder than this, folks. Fortunately, the Media and the donors aren’t all that big into facts.

It’s also worth mentioning that there were “only” 191 “Statewide” phantoms on last year’s map, for a surge of 51%, meaning the company is losing “groups” faster than it can designate them. That 4% increase must have come from somewhere.

The SPLC provides no information on these alleged groups whatsoever. It cannot provide a known location or any kind of headcount for the membership. We get to take the company’s word for it that these “groups” really, really exist.

That’s not good enough and it certainly isn’t good journalism. Big claims demand big proof, or any proof, for that matter.

This year, Watching the Watchdogs is launching the hashtag #ProveItOrRemoveIt to encourage the SPLC into showing its proof that any of its 954 alleged groups actually exist.

Well, surprisingly, despite coming off the most racist year in decades, the increase didn’t come from the reliable Ku Klux Klan bogeyman. According to the fearmongers at the SPLC, Klan groups actually decreased by 45% in 2017, from 130 to 72, tying the record low set during the Obama Administration.

The SPLC attributes the precipitous drop to the fact that today’s white supremacists are put off by the old fashioned image of the Invisible Empire. Today’s racists pine for a “hipper” image, they posit.

2018 Ku Klux Klan _ Southern Poverty Law Center

While homeless “Statewide” phantoms made up 23% of of the Klan groups on the 2017 map, that number has increased to 39% of the much smaller count for 2018.

Neo-Nazis seemed to be all the rage in 2017 and the “Hate Map” backs that up by claiming a 21% increase in Hitler wannabees from 99 alleged groups to 120 last year.

What the report doesn’t mention directly (you have to look for it, as we do) is that the number of “Statewide” Neo-Nazi phantoms “exploded” by 100%, from 45 to 91.

White Nationalists remained stagnant at 100 alleged groups last year, surprisingly. The number of WN “Statewide” phantoms barely inched up at all, from 30 to 35. Given the lurid media coverage of Charlottesville and other atrocities, one could be excused for predicting unprecedented growth in 2017.

Even the Racist Skinheads took a hit last year, down from 79 to 71 alleged groups, though the number of “Statewide,” “Central” and “Eastern” generalities grew from 60 to 63.

Say that last part out loud: The Southern Poverty Law Center cannot account for EIGHTY-NINE PERCENT of its alleged Racist Skinhead groups and yet the Media considers the numbers to be utterly reliable. Wow.

Considering that it was the removal of Confederate war statues that sparked the Charlottesville riots and at least a few other confrontations last year, readers may be surprised to learn that the number of “Neo-Confederate” groups designated by the SPLC last year dropped by an incredible 29%, from 43 to 31 alleged groups.

“Statewide” chapters celebrating the “Lost Cause” dipped slightly from seven to six, but on the plus side, Weogufka, Alabama, (Population: 282) joined Wetumpka, AL, and Waxahachie, Texas, on the list. (This really isn’t statistically relevant, but it is fun to say out loud.)

Anti-Immigrant, Anti-LGBT, Anti-Muslim and Christian Identity groups all remained largely unchanged for the year, so where exactly do we find any actual increases?

This year marks the debut of an entirely new “hate group” category, the Neo-Volkisch, which the SPLC describes thus:

“Neo-Völkisch adherents worship the Norse or Germanic gods, spirituality premised on the survival of white Europeans and the preservation of dead or dying cultures they presume to embody. Such individuals and groups use a variety of terms to describe their spirituality such as Odinism or Wotanism, Odalism, heathenism, Ásatrú or even paganism. Qualifiers like “Germanic” or “proto-Germanic” are sometimes attached to those terms. Other qualifiers like “Norse tradition” might also be used.”

Are they dangerous?

“…violence rarely erupts from the neo-Völkisch movement.”

So why are they a “hate group” now?

“Hyper-masculine imagery fetishized within neo-Völkisch spheres reinforces misogyny and traditional gender roles.”

Dear Freya! Not “traditional gender roles”! Oh, the humanity! What does that say about the Amish, Muslims, Orthodox Jewry and a large percentage of Latino immigrants? Will those hyper-masculine men make next year’s “Hate Map”?

So where are the 28 Neo-Volkisch groups located? Just where you’d expect to find Norsemen: Grand Rapids, Michigan, Brownsville and Grass Valley, California, Knoxville, Tennessee, Lynchburg, Virginia, and that perennial hotbed of hyper-masculine, horn-helmed hatred, Apache Junction, Arizona.

The other 22 alleged chapters? “Statewide.” Yes, friends, the SPLC has uncovered 28 chapters of a new species of “hate,” but they cannot tell you where 79% of them are actually located.

“That makes perfect sense to us!” quoth the Media. “Nothing to see here…”

In keeping with the man-bashing, the SPLC added a second new category last year, Male Supremacy. Calling it “the gateway drug to the Alt-Right,” (yes, someone was actually paid cash money to write that…), the two new “Male Supremacist” groups seem to be websites, rather than boots-on-the-ground groups that actually do things. The SPLC cites several blogs to prove their existence.

And, wait for it… 100% of these wimmin-hater “groups” are “Statewide.”

Last year, the SPLC counted 201 Black and Black Muslim groups in the land, the largest category by far.

(Even though this number included 68 chapters of the Nation of Islam and eight other Black Muslim groups tucked under the catch-all heading of “General Hate,” subsection, “Other,” none of these Islam-based groups have been deemed to be actual “Muslim hate groups” because the SPLC doesn’t track such things. Irks the donors, dontcha know, and that can run into money.)

This year the number of Black and Black Muslim “hate groups” has increased to 241, including the eight aforementioned “Other” groups, for an increase of 20%. The number of self-described Muslim groups rose from 68 to 94.

As the SPLC’s own chart indicates, these alleged Black “hate groups” have increased by more than 400% since the start of the century.

2018-Black Nationalist _ Southern Poverty Law Center

“Not to worry,” You may say. “The odds are that 8 out of 10 of these alleged “groups” are homeless “Statewide” phantoms.” Actually, only eight out of 241 are “Statewide,” up by a few pegs from last year.

Among the crimes attributed to these “Black Nationalist” groups are “forms of black nationalism [that] are strongly anti-white and anti-Semitic, and a number of religious versions assert that blacks — not Jews — are the Biblical “chosen people” of God.”

Yes, that is correct. The Southern Poverty Law Center has determined who the REAL “chosen people” of God are. Any other group claiming the mantle for themselves is practicing “hate.” Seriously.

Ah, but it plays well with many of the donors of the Fundamentalist Christian and Jewish persuasions.

And that, friends, is the whole purpose of the fantastically lucrative “Hate Map.” As shown, the numbers are not based in any kind of reality, the SPLC cannot identify how many people are actually in these alleged groups and makes no claim that the alleged groups are potentially violent or criminal.

“It’s strictly ideological,” said Mark Potok, and those ideologies, held by a pathetically minute portion of the US population today, are what agitate the donors and power the SPLC’s enormous money machine. Here are a few other things Mr. Potok has had to say about “hate groups” and the SPLC’s methodology:

“The numbers are absolutely soft,” said Mark Potok, a Southern Poverty Law Center spokesman. “We are talking about a tiny number of Americans who are members of hate groups – I mean, infinitesimal.” (Arlene Levinson, “Hate Groups, Crimes Said Rare in US,” Associated Press, July 8, 1999).

“We see this political struggle, right? …I mean we’re not trying to change anybody’s mind. We’re trying to wreck the groups, and we are very clear in our head, this is… we are trying to destroy them. Not to send them to prison unfairly or not take their free speech rights away… but as a political matter, to destroy them.”  (Holiday, 2008, track 13, https://archive.org/details/MarkPotok).

“I don’t think there’s any doubt that these are human beings and it’s a mistake to regard them as just a bunch of sociopaths… though most of them are. Let me say… our aim… sometimes the press will describe us as monitoring hate groups and so on. I want to say plainly that our aim in life is to destroy these groups. Completely destroy them!” (Sept. 2007,  https://youtu.be/fnTz2ylJo_8)

Clearly, neither Mr. Potok, before he got the boot from the company about a year ago, nor any of the six-digit-salaried white millionaires who run the company, or any of the other 295 company employees have any desire or any intention of “destroying” any “hate groups” anytime soon. You don’t kill the Golden Goose.

The SPLC is a multimillion-dollar “advocacy group.” It’s product is “hate group” fearmongering and its loyal customers are the almighty donors, nearly all of whom self-identify as “Progressive.” The company sells the customers what they want and the customers cannot get enough of the product. It’s a business, folks, not a mission.

Charity Navigator says they could be looking at a cool Billion-with-a-B donor-dollars for Fiscal 2017. Those numbers are due out soon and we look forward to breaking them down thereafter.

SPLC — White “Hate Groups” Declining

September 26, 2017

Did some number crunching today, using the impeccably accurate data produced by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

According to the “experts,” white “hate groups” have declined an average of 44% since 2011.

Black and Black Muslim “hate groups,” on the other hand, have increased by 44% since 2011.

SPLC Hate Groups 2011-2016

As we noted a few months ago, Black and Black Muslim groups are the largest single category on the SPLC’s lucrative “Hate Map” fundraising tool.

Odd that you don’t read more about that statistic in the media, no?

When you subtract the 191 “Statewide” phantom groups the SPLC added to this year’s map, those “groups” that the company cannot provide a known city or town location for (they’re out there, friends. The SPLC says so), the numbers become even more ludicrous:

Christian Identity — 1 phantom = 20
KKK – 30 phantoms = 100
Neo-Confederates — 7 phantoms = 36
Neo-Nazis — 45 phantoms = 44
Racisct Skinheads — 61 phantoms = 17 (Seriously?)
White Nationalists — 30 phantoms = 70

Black and Black Muslims — 5 phantoms = 196

These are the SPLC’s numbers, folks. They come right from the SPLC’s own website. That they are utter garbage, do not blame us.

Challenge Your Area’s SPLC “Hate Group” Designation

September 11, 2017

Two recent news events have brilliantly demonstrated just how unreliable and deceptive the Southern Poverty Law Center’s lucrative “Hate Map” really is. The SPLC releases this annual fundraising tool every February or March, to enormous media fanfare and the donor-dollars flow faster than the company can spend them.

Two small towns that were falsely smeared with “hate group” designations, Amana, Iowa, and Gurnee, Illinois, recently fought back and got the SPLC to rescind its spurious claims, though with very different results.

In the Amana case, the “town” is actually a collection of seven small villages known as the Amana Colonies. These villages were settled by German farmers in the 19th century and today the Colonies are on the National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places. People take their families there to see the old farms, blacksmith shop and grist mill. Think: Colonial Williamsburg or Plimoth Plantation.

So how does a tourist destination like Amana get listed on the “Hate Map”? Simplicity itself. Someone at the SPLC found a single troll posting on the Daily Stormer website saying that several neo-Nazis got together on a single afternoon in an Amana coffee shop as a “book club” and they haven’t been back since.

There’s no indication of how many people actually showed up at the coffee shop, but the SPLC’s definition of “group” can mean one or fewer individuals.

Amana officials fought back, demanding that the SPLC’s new PR Guru, Ryan Lenz, remove the phony “hate group” designation from their town. Lenz, who replaces veteran SPLC “Former Employee” Mark Potok, initially refused. A local TV news team, KCRG out of Cedar Rapids, did the unthinkable and followed up on Amana’s complaint. You can see the report here (after a 30-second ad spot). On August 28, Lenz and the SPLC eventually relented and agreed to remove the hate group designation… sort of.

What Lenz did was to simply relocate the alleged Daily Stormer site from Amana to “Statewide.” “Statewide” is where the SPLC puts “groups” they cannot locate on any map, including their own. There are currently 191 “Statewide” groups on the most recent “Hate Map,” or nearly one-in-four. The SPLC provides no information whatsoever about the alleged groups and the media say “sounds good to us.”

Iowa still has four “hate groups,” (three of which are now “Statewide”), and the national “hate group” count remains at 917 for 2016.

In 2011, long before he was unthinkably kicked to the curb, we had the opportunity to ask Mark Potok directly about these phantom “groups.” At that time, Potok could not account for 262 of his 1,002 alleged groups, and though a small number of them were marked “Statewide” on the map, the vast majority were simply empty slots with no location whatsoever, other than a particular state.

After acknowledging that the question “was not illegitimate,” Mr. Potok sputtered along, making several astounding admissions, such as the “Hate Map” was based largely on anecdotal reports, was “… a very rough measure,” and “an imperfect process,” which is hardly the impression the SPLC gives in its annual “Hate Map” press releases.

In the end, Potok stated, “What those basically are, those are state-wide units… that’s what those groups are…” And with that, the interview was pretty much ended, but it confirmed Potok’s high standards for inclusion on the lucrative “Hate Map.”

On March 25, 2009, Potok had told the San Luis Obispo (CA) Tribune that “…inclusion on the [hate group] list might come from a minor presence, such as a post office box.”

On July 6, 2009, Potok told the Appleton (WI) Post-Crescent that, “…the [hate group] report relies on media, citizen and law enforcement reports, and does not include original reporting by SPLC staff.”

With such high standards and scrupulous research methods as that, it is a wonder that any “hate group” could wind up on the “Hate Map” in error, but this year it happened, twice. Or not.

The second location to fight back against the “hate group” smear was the village of Gurnee, Illinois. On September 8, 2017, the local paper, the Lake County News-Sun reported that:

“Gurnee police and village officials said they have been told by the law center that the village was included after the center found that someone who listed his address as Gurnee had registered on a KKK website.

Gurnee police said an investigation into the name concluded there is no record of anyone by that name having been a Gurnee resident.”

Once again we see how the SPLC spins any microscopic link it can scrape up into a full-fledged “group.” And despite being contacted by the mayor and local police on the scene, the SPLC made the demonstrably false claim that:

“Nonetheless, officials said they were told by a representative of the Law Center that they only review and revise the map once a year, and it will be reviewed again in January.”

It was less than two weeks earlier that the SPLC actually DID revise it’s “Hate Map” tool for Amana, sort of, so why won’t the company do the same for Gurnee? The simple fact of the matter is that they can’t.

The annual “Hate Map” is a fundraising tool, and, as shown above, has very little connection with reality (Mr. Potok’s “very rough measure”). Each winter the six-digit-salary executives at the SPLC come up with a “hate group” count upon which they will build all media and fundraising claims for the following year. Once a number is fixed, someone like Mark Potok or Ryan Lenz will get busy finding enough “groups” to match the prescribed quantity.

As we have noted in the past, the SPLC’s “Hate Map” tool is static. You can move a few deckchairs around, as they did with Amana, but you cannot change the magic number. As we pointed out in August, 2016, even though the SPLC announced that the rag-tag group “White Lives Matter” posed an immediate existential threat, they would not add them to the “Hate Map” for another six months.

(The company eventually conjured up three “White Lives Matters” “groups” for the 2017 map, all of which are… “Statewide.”)

In an age where any elementary school child can update a website in seconds, this makes no sense whatsoever, unless the “Hate Map” is a sham.

While Mr. Lenz can hide nearly 200 “groups” under the “Statewide” label, in the Gurnee case, he assigned a chapter of the Ku Klos Knights of the KKK to that location in addition to a second, “Statewide” iteration of the group to Illinois overall.

Even by SPLC standards, having two “Statewide” entries for the same “group” in the same state stretches credulity. Therefore, the village of Gurnee is stuck with it’s “hate group” until next year.

This brings us back to the point of of this post. The mayor of Gurnee is rightfully dissatisfied with the SPLC’s “tough luck” reply: “We’re going to continue to pursue it,” Gurnee Mayor Kristina Kovarik said. “There is no reason to shame a whole community like that for no reason.”

Mayor Kovarik is completely in the right. There is no reason why any community or state should have to suffer the SPLC’s spurious “hate group” fundraising label. It unfairly smears the entire community based on nothing tangible whatsoever. The elected officials of Gurnee, Amana and every other locality falsely smeared have the reputation of their towns to protect and need to stand up against these unsubstantiated claims.

“Statewide,” governors, state and federal Senate and House members have the same, if not greater obligation to call out the SPLC and demand evidence. Serious claims require serious proof.

In 2015 the SPLC assigned 40 “hate groups” to New Jersey, (a state that doesn’t get enough negative publicity as it is…), giving that state the fourth highest total in the land and causing Mark Pitcavage of the Anti-Defamation League to publicly denounce the SPLC’s bogus counts.

“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 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.”

After being publicly outed by the ADL, the SPLC slashed New Jersey’s count from 40 to 21 on the next “Hate Map,” which was not issued until a full fundraising year later.

If the ADL can call the SPLC out for its “wildly inflated” “Hate Map,” so can local, state and federal representatives. Millions of people swallow the SPLC’s annual “hate group” numbers each year and few in the media will challenge the claims.

Huge corporations like Apple and Google are already making business decisions based on these bogus numbers. What legitimate company would build a new plant in a state with record numbers of “hate groups”? Why would skilled workers move their families to such “hate-ridden” states to work there?

While the SPLC rakes in tens of millions of dollars each year from its fraudulent “Hate Map,” the consequences for local and state economies could run into the billions.

Hold the SPLC responsible for its claims. Demand to see the proof.

 

SPLC — The Black Elephant in the Room

March 31, 2017

The Southern Poverty Law Center released its annual “Hate Map” fundraising tool in February and, as usual, it made a lot of claims without providing a lot of proof. One thing that immediately caught our eye, however, was this graphic on the company’s web site:

Active Hate Groups 2016 _ Southern Poverty Law Center

While the numbers given do add up to the 917 “hate groups” promised at first glance, as usual, closer inspection reveals that the SPLC cannot provide a known city or town location for 191 of them, or about one-in-five. When you strip out these homeless “hate groups,” especially from the “Big Four,”  you come up with significantly different numbers:

2016 Homeless

Nearly half of the groups attributed to the KKK, neo-Nazis, racist skinheads and white nationalists seem to exist only in the imagination of the SPLC’s Public Relations Guru and chief Hate Map cartographer, Mark Potok.

We know these homeless groups really, really exist because Mr. Potok tells us so, and that’s more than good enough for the media. Note that Mr. Potok can assign at least a city or town to nearly all of his alleged Black Separatist groups, but more on them in a moment.

The first graphic we showed you, giving the SPLC’s own breakdown of its “hate groups” by category, got little or no mention from the press. The one that really excited them was this one:

197-percent-hate-map-_-southern-poverty-law-center

Most media outlets were only too eager to allow Mr. Potok to pontificate on the, Gasp!!, “197% increase in anti-Muslim” groups to pay much attention to the other numbers. We explained Potok’s anti-Muslim group scam in an earlier post and won’t rehash it here.

Oddly enough, nobody in the media seems to have noticed that the biggest number on Mr. Potok’s list refers to his 193 alleged Black Separatist groups, which is to say, the largest single category of “hate group” in the country, according to Mark Potok.

When you add in the eight Black Muslim “hate groups” Mr. Potok has tucked away under “General Hate” (tucked away even more deeply under the sub-category of “Other”), you come up with 201 Black “hate groups” in all.

Even without stripping out the homeless “hate groups,” Mr. Potok’s Black groups outnumber his KKK groups outright and his neo-Nazi, racist skinhead and white nationalist groups by two-to-one, respectively, and yet the media doesn’t find this particular piece of Potokian punditry to be newsworthy. Why not?

The media couldn’t regurgitate Mr. Potok’s claims of 101 anti-Muslim “hate groups” quickly or often enough, and yet when Potok claims that 89 of his Black “hate groups” are distinctly Muslim in nature, nearly a one-to-one ratio to the alleged anti-Muslim threat, all we hear from the media is crickets.

“Nothing to see here. Move along!”

The remarkable thing about this situation is that Potok’s numbers are right out in the open where anyone on the planet can see them. You do not have to dig through his website or even be particularly numerate to compare the numbers. Mark Potok says that “hate groups” are some sort of threat to the world and that the largest segment of that threat, by far, is Black and/or Muslim, and yet nobody in the media will take him up on it.

Either Mark Potok and the SPLC are your go-to “experts” on hate or they are not. You cannot pick and choose which dire threat du jour you are going to take their word for. And take their word you must, because the SPLC provides little or no evidence to back the existence of most of its alleged groups.

Some “experts.”

SPLC — The “Anti-Muslim” Scam

February 22, 2017

The Southern Poverty Law Center released its latest “Hate Map” fundraising tool a couple of weeks ago and its “Senior Fellow” Mark Potok has been making the usual media rounds and making the usual empty claims.

The “Hate Map” is a highly lucrative fundraising tool that claims to track the number of SPLC-designated (there is no legal definition for the term) “hate groups” in the country for the previous year. As such, the most recent 2017 map refers to the U.S. in 2016.

Here are some of the highlights from the latest map, according to Mr. Potok:

197-percent-hate-map-_-southern-poverty-law-center

We’ll be breaking down some of the other “hate group” claims in future posts, but let’s have a closer look at the big news for 2017:

“Anti-Muslim Groups have exploded by 197%!!”

Ah, Mr. Potok does love his percent sign. It makes the most mundane figures pop with alarm and that brings in the donor dollars. Mr. Potok has been breathlessly announcing that anti-Muslim groups have “nearly tripled” in the past year, by growing from 34 alleged groups to 101, but shies away from the actual details in his media interviews.

We’re not shy at Watching the Watchdogs. We’ll be happy to flip the flat rock and see what scurries away.

The vast majority of Mr. Potok’s alleged explosion, (69% in Potokian terms) comes from one single source. In 2015, Potok added one single instance of something called “ACT for America,”from Virginia Beach, Va., to his Hate Map.

For 2016, Potok counted ACT 45 times! A Potokian increase of 4,400%!!

The group itself has been around since 2007, though Potok only discovered it in 2015. Even more amazing is that the ACT website boasts of more than 1,000 chapters nationwide. That’s a huge discrepancy that Mr. Potok seems eager to avoid.

Another ten groups arrived for the first time in 2016 in the form of “The Soldiers of Odin,” an apparent American offshoot of a Finnish anti-Muslim outfit founded in 2015. Of the ten chapters claimed by Potok he can only put a known city or town to two. The other 80% is part of the 191 “groups” Mr. Potok cannot locate on any map, including his own. Instead, he papers them over with a catch-all label of “statewide.”

We know all 191 of those groups are really, really out there because Mark Potok tells us so.

Most of the remaining “groups” are a rag-tag collection of one-off, one-man websites, something Potok claims he doesn’t count, except when he does, which is frequently, such as the “Sultan Knish: A blog by Daniel Greenfield” “group,””Islamthreat.com” and a couple of yahoos peddling pork-tainted anti-Muslim ammunition online.

It is with great sadness that we witness the passing of our all time favorite Potokian “hate group,” Casa d’Ice Signs, which was actually an Italian restaurant and bar in a K-Mart strip mall on the outskirts of Pittsburgh.

It’s not that we agreed with the crude messages that owner Bill Balsamico would put on the marquee sign outside his bar each week, but Casa d’Ice was the ultimate poster child for just how far Mr. Potok would go to stretch his definition of “hate group.”

The good news, according to Daniel Greenfield, is that Balsamico sold the business and retired, undefeated.

In all fairness to Mr. Potok, though, he never claimed that Balsamico was guilty of anything but “wrong thoughts.” As the stalwart Senior Fellow has proclaimed on man occasions:

“Our criteria for a hate group, first of all, have nothing to do with criminality, or violence, or any kind of guess we’re making about ‘this group could be dangerous.’ It’s strictly ideological.”

And so, there you have it. The suits at the SPLC decided that anti-Muslim “hate groups” were going to be the featured flavor for 2017 and instructed Mr. Potok to show “explosive growth” thereof for fundraising purposes and overnight one “group” becomes 45.

Some may remember that last year Potok swore that “the Klan had more than doubled in size!!” in 2015 by claiming it had grown from 72 chapter to 190 overnight. Potok failed to mention that he himself had slashed his Klan count from 163 to 72 the year before.

This year, as the graphic above notes, the Invisible Empire shrank by 32% to a mere 130 chapters, 30 of which Potok cannot find. And as usual, nobody in the media called him on it.

The graphic does include one truly astounding number, besides the spurious “197%” malarkey. Mr. Potok claims there are 193 Black “hate groups” in the country today, far outnumbering the KKK and every other category, respectively, and he knows where every one of those chapters are but two.

But that’s a topic for our next post.


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