Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam
Look out! It’s another fake Islamophobia crisis.
“Huge Growth in Anti-Muslim Hate Groups During 2016: SPLC Report,” wails NBC News. “Watchdog: Number of anti-Muslim hate groups tripled since 2015,” FOX News bleats. ABC News vomits up this word salad. “Trump cited in report finding increase in US hate groups for 2nd year in a row.”
The SPLC stands for the Southern Poverty Law Center: an organization with slightly less credibility than Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Clown College, and without the academic degree in greasepaint.
And you won’t believe the shameless way the SPLC faked its latest Islamophobia crisis.
The Southern Poverty Law Center’s latest “hate group” sightings claims that the “number of anti-Muslim hate groups increased almost three-fold in 2016.”
That’s a lot of folds.
And there is both bad news and good news from its “Year in Hate and Extremism.”
First the good news.
Casa D’Ice Signs, the sign outside a bar in K-Mart Plaza in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, is no longer listed as a hate group. The sign outside the bar had been listed as a hate group by the SPLC for years. The owner of Casa D’Ice had been known for putting politically incorrect signs outside his bar. So the SPLC listed the “signs” as a hate group. (Even though there was only one sign.) Not the bar. That would have made too much sense.
Since then Casa D’Ice was sold and the SPLC has celebrated the defeat of another hate group. Even if the hate group was just a plastic sign outside a bar.
But the bad news, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, is that anti-Muslim hate groups shot up from only 34 in 2015 to 101 in 2016.
What could possibly account for that growth? Statistical fakery so fake that a Vegas bookie would weep.
President Trump is on the cover of the SPLC’s latest Intelligence Report: a misnomer of a title from an organization whose intelligence gathering led it to list a bar sign as a hate group.
But there’s actually another phenomenon responsible for this startling rise reported by the SPLC.
The SPLC decided to count 45 chapters of Act for America as separate groups.
How do you get a sudden rise from 34 to 101 hate groups? It helps to suddenly add 45 chapters of one group. Act for America isn’t a hate group. It’s also just as obviously not 45 groups.
And it didn’t come into existence last year.
Act for America was only listed as one group in the 2015 list. It shot up to 45 now.
The SPLC this year listed the Los Angeles chapter of Act for America as a separate group. But the chapter has been around for quite a few years.
Furthermore Act for America boasts not 45, but 1,000 chapters across the country. Why list just 45 of them? Look at it from the SPLC’s perspective. Next year, it can add 200 chapters and claim that anti-Muslim hate groups once again tripled. And then it can do the same thing again the year after that.
That way the Southern Poverty Law Center can keep manufacturing an imaginary Islamophobia crisis.
Also added to the list is Altra Firearms: a gun store that ran an ad declaring that it wouldn’t sell firearms to Clinton supporters or Muslims. Like Casa D’Ice, this is another case of the SPLC demonstrating that it has no idea what distinguishes a store whose owner says politically incorrect things from a “group”.
The list has added Bosch Fawstin: an artist who was the target of the first ISIS terror attack in America during the assault on the Draw Mohammed cartoon contest. The SPLC announced that it was adding the Eisner nominated artist to its list of hate groups after he survived the attack.
The SPLC’s actions were obscene.
After the attack, Heidi Beirich, in charge of adding targets to the SPLC’s hate map, announced that she would be adding Bosch to the list because the Center now knows his location.
Indeed the SPLC makes a point of highlighting the locations of likely terrorist targets. And the Southern Poverty Law Center’s map of hate has been used by terrorists before.
"Southern Poverty Law lists anti-gay groups. I found them online,” Corkins later confessed to the FBI.
When Leo Johnson, the building’s African-American manager, attempted to stop Corkins, the SPLC shooter told Johnson that he didn’t like his politics and opened fire. The SPLC gunman had planned to kill everyone in the office, but Johnson’s heroic actions saved their lives. The African-American building manager was forced to undergo painful surgeries because of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s hate list.
Despite its role in the terror attack, the SPLC continues to target the Family Research Council.
None of the so-called “Anti-Muslim hate groups” listed by the SPLC have shot anyone. The SPLC has.
Bosch Fawstin is a courageous activist. He’s also an individual. As am I. And the SPLC also has me up as a hate group. Other individual bloggers on the list include Atlas Shrugs, Refugee Resettlement Watch, Bare Naked Islam and Citizen Warrior.
6 of the SPLC’s “hate groups” are actually individuals. It’s understandable that the Southern Poverty Law Center is vague on the definition of hate. But you would think that it could figure out the definition of “group.”
No such luck.
It doesn’t take much to be listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
You don’t need to be a group to be listed by the SPLC as a hate group. You don’t even need to have a pulse. Inanimate plastic signs can be listed too.
The rest of the SPLC’s “increase” is padded out with assorted community groups opposed to refugee resettlement, such as Treasure Valley Refugee Watch, and any Christian ministry it doesn’t like.
But there is one barrier to being listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
No amount of overt anti-Semitism from CAIR’s Nihad Awad would ever get the Islamist hate group listed as a hate group. Even CAIR’s flirtation with Neo-Nazis and Holocaust deniers can’t get it on the hate map. The SPLC collaborated with the Muslim Public Affairs Council despite its anti-Semitism.
Instead the SPLC lists counterterrorism organizations such as the Investigative Project on Terrorism, the Clarion Project and the David Horowitz Freedom Center which point out their terror ties as hate groups.
The Southern Poverty Law Center is greedy, cynical and dishonest. Its latest ploy to gain headlines by inflating a group it had formerly listed as 1 organization into 45 by listing each chapter separately is the sort of behavior you expect from a lazy college student, not one of the wealthiest organizations in the country. And yet no one in the media will call out the SPLC for its greed, its bigotry and its lies.
The SPLC climbs into bed with extremists and terrorists and it smears counterterrorism organizations. It helps terrorists target their critics. And it solicits money through shameless lies.
It’s easy to indict the SPLC. But every indictment of the SPLC is also an indictment of a Fake News media that repeats its absurd lies without ever checking its facts.
When the media reports that there was a huge rise in anti-Muslim groups because the Southern Poverty Law Center turned 1 group into 45, it proves that it really is in the Fake News business.