Trust Not the Southern Poverty Law Center

Charlotte Allan, Weekly Standard, March 7, 2017

 

It’s hard to say what’s worse: the outrageousness of the Southern Poverty Law Center in pinning the label “white nationalist” and “extremist” on anyone who bucks the prevailing politically correct narrative, or the credulity of the mainstream media in treating the SPLC as a neutral source.

As you probably know by now, Bell Curve author and American Enterprise Institute scholar Charles Murray, invited as a guest speaker to discuss his latest book about class divisions, Coming Apart, on March 2 at Middlebury College in Vermont, was blocked from speaking by a horde of militant student protesters, who also assaulted and sent to the emergency room a female Middlebury professor who had live-streamed an interview with Murray (a fall-back plan from the scheduled lecture). Well! Here is the March 4 report from the Associated Press:

A libertarian author who has been called a white nationalist said college students who protested his guest lecture this week were “scary.”

Middlebury College said a professor was injured by a protester following a demonstration against guest speaker Charles Murray on Thursday.

The Southern Poverty Law Center considers Murray a white nationalist who uses “racist pseudoscience and misleading statistics to argue that social inequality is caused by the genetic inferiority of the black and Latino communities, women and the poor.”

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A story posted the same day by Washington Post reporter Peter Holley stated, “The Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled Murray a white supremacist and a eugenicist.”

The Post, at least, gave Murray a chance to respond. Murray, who has a doctorate in political science from MIT and who co-authored The Bell Curve (1994) with the now-deceased Harvard professor Richard Herrnstein, pointed out that he had been married for 13 years to an Asian woman and has two Asian children.

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The AP and the Washington Post are not the only media to take whatever the SPLC says as gospel truth. Right after the November 8 election the New York Times announced its launching of a new column it titles “This Week in Hate,” chronicling a supposed jump in “hate crimes”—nearly always, by the way, featuring alleged white perpetrators and minority victims, almost never vice versa—after the election of President Trump. Guess what outfit appears to be the Times‘s chief source? Why, the SPLC, of course!

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The SPLC is quite upfront about its lack of interest in the hate activities of, for example, the militant “anti-fascists” who trashed the University of California-Berkeley campus in February in order to prevent Milo Yiannopolous from speaking there. The SPLC “monitors and exposes the activities of the American radical right,” its web page says.

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The idea that the SPLC offers neutral expertise on extremism is laughable. It has been a fund-raising Colossus for decades (see, “King of Fearmongers,” April 15, 2013) thanks to its genius at apocalyptic direct-mail, in which the Klan and other “hate groups” are always one donation away from taking over the country. Reporters should be ashamed of treating it as an arbiter of respectability.

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