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I have written often, and recently, about the corrosive effect of the Southern Poverty Law Center's highly-politicized "hate" and "extremist" lists. Politico also recently focused on the problem, which I described in Southern Poverty Law Center “extremist” lists used “to silence speech and speakers”, including this quote from the Politico article:

Politico magazine has a very detailed article on the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), for which I was interviewed, Has a Civil Rights Stalwart Lost Its Way?. The article, written by Ben Schreckinger, addresses several aspects of the SPLC, including its massive accumulation of wealth seemingly beyond its needs. But much of the focus is on SPLC's aggressive politics and use of "hate" and "extremist" lists:

Keith Ellison, Democratic Congressman from Minnesota, is the favorite to become Chair of the Democratic National Committee. He has the support of big names like Chuck Schumer, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Harry Reid, among others. Yet for years there have been questions about Ellison's past association with Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam, as well as his association with anti-Israel groups. We touched upon Ellison's background in two recent posts: Scott Johnson of Power Line, who is based in Minnesota, has been following the career of Ellison for a decade. Scott talked about some of what he has learned about Ellison in a recent radio interview, Ten Years On The Ellison Case:

A North Carolina man named Craig Hicks murdered three young Muslims last week over what appears to be a parking dispute. Some liberals in the media have consulted the Southern Poverty Law Center on the subject---but have failed to point out that Mr. Hicks is an apparent fan of SPLC. Jesse Walker of Reason reported. H/t to Instapundit.
The Killer, the Reporter, and the Southern Poverty Law Center Craig Hicks, the man who murdered three Muslims in North Carolina this week, had a Facebook page. One of the groups he liked on it is the Southern Poverty Law Center. An AlterNet article about Hicks—reprinted today in both Raw Story and Salon—includes several long quotes from Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Guess what subject never comes up? No, I don't think the SPLC deserves any blame for the crime. That would be ridiculous. But the SPLC itself has a long history of throwing around blame in precisely that ridiculous way, so it would have been nice to hear how Potok reacts when an event like this lands in his own backyard. Double standards deserve to be challenged, right? By the way: While the AlterNet piece doesn't mention Hicks' apparent fondness for the SPLC, it does mention the fact that his Facebook likes lean liberal. But it dismisses this as unimportant, telling us the significant thing is that Hicks "appears to fit the psychological profile of violent extremists—regardless of their ideological stripes."
Patrick Poole of PJ Media recently made this observation:

On the O'Reilly show tonight, it was announced that the Southern Poverty Law Center has taken Dr. Ben Carson off the "Extremist" Watch List. And sure enough, Carson no longer is on the List. Carson's former Extremist profile now redirects to a page with this statement:
In October 2014, we posted an “Extremist File” of Dr. Ben Carson. This week, as we've come under intense criticism for doing so, we've reviewed our profile and have concluded that it did not meet our standards, so we have taken it down and apologize to Dr. Carson for having posted it. Legal Insurrection first brought this travesty to public attention last Friday. Whether you agree with Carson or not, he didn't deserve to be on a list with Klan and Neo-Nazi leaders (there are a few other people who don't deserve to be on the list, but that's a different matter.) Since our report, the issue has been the subject of hundreds of columns, radio shows, and obviously SPLC, worth $300,000,000, felt the heat. Who says a small blog can't make a difference. Should I do it? Should I? Okay, here goes: (WARNING, MAY CAUSE SEIZURES)

The Southern Poverty Law Center ceased long ago to be a neutral source of information. As we have documented over the past years, SPLC has used the credibility it earned decades ago fighting the Klan to turn itself not only into a huge money-raising machine, but also to poison the political process: SPLC's "Extremist" watch lists are particularly notorious, and in some cases blatantly political.   Most of the people on the list are on it without much controversy, including Klan and neo-Nazi figures.  But several critics of political Islam are on the list, as was Rand Paul in 2011 (accused of Electoral Extremism). Landing on SPLC's Extremist list can be politically deadly, and also deadly in the real sense.  The Family Research Council made the list because of its position on same-sex marriage, inspiring Floyd Lee Corkins to go on a murderous shooting spree at FRC headquarters. Yesterday I noticed a name I was surprised to see on the list: Ben Carson, listed as "anti-LGBT."

Stephen Jimenez is the author of "The Book of Matt," a book that calls into question the deeply ingrained narrative that the murder of Matthew Shepard was an anti-gay hate crime. The extensively researched book reveals that the Shepard anti-gay hate crime narrative may be all wrong. Jimenez, who is gay himself, has been praised by prominent gay rights activists, including Andrew Sullivan.  In response to the new information, Sullivan has even called the narrative "a politically convenient myth" deployed to "raise gobs of money and pass unnecessary laws." Stephen Jimenez: Meth And The Murder Of Matthew Shepard from The Dish on Vimeo. On Monday, The New York Post's Andrea Peyser lauded Jimenez for shedding light on "an uncomfortable truth":
 Jimenez unearthed a story that few people wanted to hear. And it calls into question everything you think you know about the life and death of one of the leading icons of our age.

How fitting that on the day a supposed sighting of the KKK at Oberlin College was revealed to be nothing more than a woman wrapped in a blanket, the Southern Poverty Law Center released its latest scare tool, New Report: Radical antigovernment movement continues explosive growth:
The number of conspiracy-minded antigovernment “Patriot” groups on the American radical right reached an all-time high in 2012, the fourth consecutive year of powerful growth by a movement that is becoming increasingly militant as President Obama enters his second term and Congress debates gun control measures, according to a report issued today by the SPLC... “As in the period before the Oklahoma City bombing, we now are seeing ominous threats from those who believe that the government is poised to take their guns,”  wrote SPLC President Richard Cohen, a member of the Department of Homeland Security’s Countering Violent Extremism Working Group. In October 1994, the SPLC wrote to then-Attorney General Janet Reno about the growing threat of domestic extremism; the Oklahoma City federal building was bombed six months later in the country’s deadliest act of domestic terrorism.
This is the same nonsense SPLC peddles every year at this time.  Sooner or later, like a ghoulish broken clock, one of SPLC's predictions will come true, but in the meantime, the SPLC still has not made amends for its "hate map" being used by the guy who shot up the Family Research Council to acquire targets. The SPLC count is grossly exaggerated.  If there's a Neo-Nazi website which lists branches in every state, SPLC counts that as 50 groups, even if the groups are only names on a website. The SPLC has upped the number of "hate groups" in my home State of Rhode Island to 4, including the same supposed neo-Nazi and Klan groups which we repeatedly have pointed out do not exist. In 2011, SPLC listed just one hate group (the non-existent neo-Nazi group):

SPLC Hate Map 2011 Rhode Island

But now SPLC lists 4 groups, putting the non-existent Klan group back on the map:

SPLC Hate Map 2012 Rhode Island

The SPLC also lists some other groups in Rhode Island that have no obvious existence. OMG, hate groups in RI have quadrupled!  Send money! I did a radio interview for ABC News today.  I can't find the clip, but Sam at The Last Tradition heard it and emailed:
I heard you on WABC news update putting the Southern Poverty Law center in its place. Way to go!
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