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April 10, 2023

Holding the SPLC to Account

The hard-left, speech-suppressing pressure group is finally facing a serious lawsuit for defamation.

Leftists have become experts at smearing those who oppose them politically, all with the intent of silencing them. And there’s no better practitioner of this rotten tactic than the anti-hate hate group known as the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The organization’s favorite approach for silencing the opposition? Branding them as “hate groups,” and thereby marginalizing them. (Who knew “hate” was shorthand for “disagrees with leftist policies”?)

But that tactic might be on borrowed time. The SPLC is being sued by an obscure anti-illegal immigration group, and rather than granting the organization’s request for dismissal of charges as has so often happened in the past, a federal judge is allowing this lawsuit to go forward. As The Daily Signal’s Tyler O'Neil reports:

The SPLC branded the Georgia-based Dustin Inman Society an “anti-immigrant hate group” in February 2018 after the SPLC had previously stated in 2011 that it did not consider the society a “hate group.” The society, named after a 16-year-old Georgia boy killed in a 2000 car crash caused by an illegal immigrant, aims to combat illegal immigration.

“After telling the Associated Press in 2011 that we were not a ‘hate group,’ the SPLC changed their mind and made us an ‘anti-immigrant hate group’ within days of their registering as active lobbyists against pro-enforcement, immigration-related legislation here in the Georgia Capitol,” D.A. King, the society’s founder and president, told The Daily Signal in an emailed statement Tuesday.

Finally.

As columnist Robert Spencer writes, “The establishment media presents the findings of the Southern Poverty Law Center as if the SPLC were a careful, balanced research organization without any agenda beyond exposing ‘hate groups.’”

Indeed, the mainstream media has for years routinely gobbled up and regurgitated the SPLC’s talking points. The predictable result is that every Christian, conservative, Republican, libertarian, or constitutionalist organization is made to seem like they’re in cahoots with the Westboro Baptist Church.

A typical tactic of the SPLC is to remove the context of a quote from someone associated with one of its target organizations. It pulled this stunt on King by misrepresenting his warning during a 2007 Georgia Republican Club meeting that illegal immigrants are “not here to mow your lawn — they’re here to blow up your buildings and kill your children, and you, and me.”

The missing context? As King demonstrated to The Daily Signal, he was clearly referring to illegal immigrants “from countries with known ties to terrorism.”

The SPLC has trapped itself, King believes. “They were successful in telling other leftists that if you’re against illegal immigration … you’re anti-immigrant,” he said. “But when you tell somebody, ‘I’m not anti-immigrant as you charge. I have immigrants on my board [and] immigrant donors. My adopted sister is an immigrant. There’s a bazillion examples of newspaper articles and opinion pages where I have described … that I’m against illegal immigration.’”

To no one’s surprise, the SPLC isn’t interested in facts or context. It’s simply interested in silencing its political opponents and growing its $500 million war chest.

“How did a civil rights group dedicated to saving the innocent from the death penalty become a pernicious threat to America’s free speech culture?” asks O'Neil in his book Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. “How did an organization dedicated to fighting poverty wind up with millions in the Cayman Islands?”

These are great questions, but they’re only the beginning. As the Dustin Inman Society’s lawsuit goes forward, the SPLC will have plenty more to answer for.

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