The Corner

Spreading the Smear

Just typing “Southern Poverty Law Center” makes me want to scrape off my shoes, but there’s a facet of their underhandedness that struck me recently.

As dishonest and politically motivated as some of their “hate group” listings are, there is a limit to how many of their mainstream political opponents they can label this way. If they’re too promiscuous with the “hate group” label, they would lose what little credibility they have left with reporters and even with their donors, the collection of whose money is the SPLC’s very reason for existence. So long as they reserve the designation mainly for groups that at least sound scary — Aryan Nations, Supreme Ferret of the Ku Klux Klan, whatever — even if they’re just P.O. boxes with no members, they can get away with it. But labeling AEI, for instance, or the Bradley Foundation as “hate groups” would strain the credulity of even a lot of gullible lefties.

So instead, the SPLC includes such targets (including, I’m proud to say, the Center for Immigration Studies) in lists of those “spreading bigotry,” or whatever, along with others they have decided to label “hate groups,” secure in the knowledge that the SPLC’s allies further down the leftist food chain will apply the label for them, serving the SPLC’s purposes without the SPLC having to take responsibility.

This happens all the time, but one example that came to my attention was the Dustin Inman Society, a mainstream (and quite effective) anti-illegal-immigration group in Georgia headed by D.A. King, a former Marine whom I know. King’s nemesis is the director of the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials (GALEO), Jerry Gonzalez, who repeatedly writes that the SPLC has designated King’s outfit a “hate group” (see here and here, for instance). The point is not whether D.A. is a hater (he’s not — I’m not even sure he’s a restrictionist, since he limits himself to illegal immigration, and I’ve never heard so much as an epithet from him, even in private, let alone any Zionist conspiracies or Trilateral Commissions or even longing for the Lost Cause). Instead, the point is that Gonzalez, like many other activists in comparable situations, is simply lying, and he knows he’s lying, and the SPLC knows he’s lying — but that’s okay, because it’s part of a strategy of spreading the taint of racism to all those who disagree with the SPLC’s politics.

Mark Krikorian, a nationally recognized expert on immigration issues, has served as Executive Director of the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) since 1995.

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