Posted on March 12, 2013

CNN Already Back to Credulously Citing SPLC Hate Group Lists

Mary Katharine Ham, Hot Air, March 6, 2013

The same organization’s lists from which a crazed, politically motivated shooter bent on mass murder picked a peaceable, mainstream, socially conservative non-profit on which to attempt massacre? Yep, same lists.

The number of American “patriot” extremist groups has reached a record level, according to a new study, and experts are warning of a wave of anti-government violence.

A report released Tuesday by the Southern Poverty Law Center counted 1,360 “patriot” extremist groups in 2012 — up by 7% from 2011. The study defines patriot groups as anti-government militias driven by their fear that authorities will strip them of their guns and liberties.

“They believe the Constitution is being raped. With hate groups, things are going to get worse because they feel like they’re in battle,” said David Gletty a former FBI informant who spent time undercover with various militia and extremist groups. “It’s not surprising with their hatred of President (Barack) Obama that there are even more hate groups out there.”

The study said California has the most patriot extremist groups, with 81.

Pardon me if this next paragraph makes me question the methodology:

The SPLC report also offers a bit of good news: The number of “immigrant-bashing” extremist groups — so-called nativism organizations — is way down from 2011, falling by 88%.

So, the total number of “hate” groups is going up 7 percent while nativist organizations are going down a whopping 88 percent? Either the statistics are full of it, there were only six nativist groups to begin with, or we have the most tolerant extremist haters in the world, even though you’d assume the issue of comprehensive immigration reform might stir up such sentiment, not reduce it.

All right, so the report isn’t entirely credulous, even though the lede was. Let’s meet some of the people SPLC classifies as dangerous extremists:

But Jesse Walker, of the Reason Foundation and author of an upcoming book, “The United States of Paranoia: A Conspiracy Theory,” said counting groups isn’t a good way to measure the threat. “It’s dubious to assume growth in numbers is related to violence.”

Also, the center’s definition of hate groups has changed in the past year, kicking up a controversy. Critics accused the group of unfairly bundling together organizations with vastly different points of view — and painting them all as potentially violent.

For example a North Carolina-based group calling itself “Granny Warriors” appears on the SPLC list of active “patriots.”

But founder Linda Hunnicutt says her organization is harmless.

“I am deadly!” she joked. “I’m 74 years old. I have COPD. I have congestive heart failure. I’m sewing a quilt.

Hunnicutt acknowledges she’s no friend of the federal government, but, she wishes no harm on anyone.

“All these people that want to bomb places and kill children, come on,” she said. “Who would be in sympathy with them?”

Hunnicutt said she and her group just want Uncle Sam to leave them alone. When Granny Warriors showed up on the SPLC list, Hunnicutt said she wasn’t surprised. But it made her wonder, “Is this all they have to do?”

Nonetheless, Hunnicutt’s thankful to be on the list because she said it increases her group’s notoriety.