A Note from the Editor - Watching the 'Watchers' - the SPLC Unmasked

By Wayne Lutton, Ph.D.
Published in The Social Contract
Volume 28, Number 3 (Spring 2018)
Issue theme: "The SPLC File - An Exclusive Report on the Southern Poverty Law Center"

The mainstream media frequently cite the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) as an unbiased, authoritative source of information about “hate” groups. As this special issue of The Social Contract reveals, it is, in fact, a hard-left activist organization that seeks to silence individuals and organizations that challenge its political and social agenda. And while it tries to discredit its opponents, it manages to raise millions of dollars in donations for the benefit of its highly paid executives. As Laird Wilcox, perhaps the nation’s leading expert on fringe political movements, told TSC’s Peter Gemma:

In looking over their fundraising stuff, I could see that they were sensationalizing racial conflict issues, and when their reports on “extremist” groups began appearing it was obviously a bogus fundraising scheme that was into demonizing and blacklisting.

As we pointed out in our report, “Profiteers of Hate,” published in the Spring of 2010, the SPLC is the creation of attorney Morris Dees and fulfills two roles: First, it serves as a cash machine for Dees and his close associates. Building upon George McGovern’s presidential campaign contributors lists, Dees has become one of the most successful direct-mail fundraisers in history. Thanks to the continuing flow of donations from easily frightened, guilt-ridden liberals, the SPLC has stockpiled hundreds of millions of dollars. In some instances, its fund-raising appeals have exploited the fallen victims of crazed lone gunmen before the interment of the departed. As long as Dees & Co. are able to earn a lucrative living from exploiting “injustices,” the menace that so-called “hate groups” pose will never diminish. “Hate” is the gift that keeps on giving!

Second, SPLC spokespersons, including President and CEO Richard Cohen, Intelligence Project Director Heidi Beirich, and legal director Rhonda Brownstein, serve as trolls and attack dogs of the far left. As contributors to our new report document, the SPLC has long realized the profitability of defamation.

The SPLC’s pernicious influence reaches from the mass media to education and law enforcement. Through their “Teaching Tolerance” project, they target impressionable youth in America’s grade schools. For over thirty years, the SPLC has been issuing reports and training law enforcement officers on what they describe as “far-right extremist activity.” In previous administrations, SPLC president Richard Cohen has served on the Department of Homeland Security’s Countering Violent Extremism Working Group and received the FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award. And YouTube has enlisted the SPLC in its “Trusted Flagger Program” to help censor videos posted at the popular website.

Critics of the SPLC cross the political spectrum. We invite TSC readers to bring the contents of this issue to the attention of opinion leaders in their communities.

About the author

Wayne Lutton is editor of The Social Contract

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