The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

DHS Report Provokes Lies, Slurs From ‘Mainstream’ Pundits

By Sonia Scherr on April 17, 2009 - 2:41 pm, Posted in Media Extremism

From implying that undocumented immigrants were responsible for the mortgage crisis to promoting falsehoods about a brutal murder in Tennessee, syndicated columnist Michelle Malkin has never let the facts get in the way of her rants.

Now, in a column this week criticizing a U.S. Department of Homeland Security report on right-wing extremism, Malkin has made another utterly erroneous assertion: “The SPLC,” she wrote, “has designated the venerable American Legion a ‘hate group’ for its stance on immigration enforcement.” The claim rapidly spread to right-wing sites on the Internet and elsewhere.

In fact, the SPLC has never listed the legion as a “hate group” nor put it on any other kind of list. Intelligence Project Director Mark Potok on Thursday wrote Malkin and her syndicate to demand a retraction of the libelous statement. “Your assertion … amounts to reckless disregard of the truth,” he stated in an E-mail sent early Thursday. As of Friday afternoon, however, the SPLC had received no response. Malkin’s columns appear in major newspapers nationwide and are also published online.

In addition to including the misinformation in her April 15 column titled “You Might Be a Radicalized Right-Wing Conservative if…,” Malkin also proclaims the same falsehood in an item she posted the previous day on her blog. In it, she links to another blog called “This ain’t hell,” which she appears to have relied on for her “facts” — never mind that the blog doesn’t even get the SPLC’s name right. “This ain’t hell,” in turn, links to an SPLC blog post that doesn’t come close to asserting that the legion is a hate group. Instead, the story points out numerous misstatements and myths in a legion report on immigration enforcement. The legion later issued an updated report from which the most egregious mistakes had been removed.

Malkin and other right-wing media pundits are in a tizzy about the DHS memo, which they say defames veterans and conservatives generally as potential terrorists. In fact, the report — which identifies several economic and political factors contributing to a surge in rightwing extremism — does no such thing. It merely states that the department “assesses that rightwing extremists will attempt to recruit and radicalize returning veterans in order to exploit their skills and knowledge derived from military training and combat.” The SPLC separately investigated the issue and found that a significant number of white supremacists were joining the military to gain access to weapons and combat training.

It’s not only Malkin. Many on the far right reacted with white-hot fury to the DHS report and blamed SPLC (falsely) for its allegedly nefarious characterizations. On Wednesday, for instance, Michael Savage — a radio talk show host who has a weekly audience of more than 8 million people — attacked Potok with a viciousness that was remarkable even for him. Potok, Savage fulminated on his show, is “the hater of America,” a “communist slimebag” and “piece of garbage” who “target[s] patriotic Americans” and “comes from a communistic New York background.” The SPLC (“gangsters”) and Potok work for “Chairman Maobama,” Savage said, adding of “this piece of trash from New York, Mark Potok” that “I’d like spit in his face.” Savage’s furious rant set off a small avalanche of anonymous, threatening hate E-mail and telephone calls directed at Potok and the SPLC.

  • Mark

    I wonder if anyone has noticed that Mike Savage has alwys been a failure and a habitual liar whom like Rush Limbaugh (amother fat failure well in his 40s) who discovered that ranting and lying brought them financial succesa for the first time ever. I just wonder where the low brows that listen to this trash get enough money to buy anything from the sponsors of the right wing liars.

  • Becky

    What’s with all the grade school insults? Does anybody have anything ADULT to say? How about this: Conservatives & Liberals BOTH equally are messing up this country with their radical views. Yes, there are extremist groups on both sides, but the far right seem to have the edge when it comes to murdering their fellow Americans. The far left have some catching up to do on that front. They haven’t quite mastered the art of crushing someone’s head with a baseball bat, or hanging them from a tree, but I’m sure some of those crazy extreme animal rights activists are having visions of firebombing some scientist’s home…oh wait, according to SPLC, they already have. There was a report on this in an issue of The Intelligence Report a few issues ago. SPLC does monitor both sides, the reason you don’t see very many articles on the nuts on the left is because they aren’t as visible as say, the Klan or Aryan Nations, and haven’t (yet) committed a major act of domestic terrorism like in Oklahoma City. But i fear it’s only a matter of time before they become as violent as the far right. God help us all…

  • Marisa

    Lizz Forrest and the rest of the right-wing non-thinkers who continue to spew hate and voice their “opinions (which they have a right to do, no matter how stupid their opinions might be) are an embarrassment to this country. Michael Savage is an IDIOT and so is Michelle Malkin. Anyone who gives either any credibility is a fool.

  • carrisima

    But isn’t Malkin Jewish? If so, DUH!

  • Dave Muckey
  • Rev. Dr. L. Wayne Stewart

    Looks like the right wing respondants do not remember Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and the person(s) who blew up the Federal building there.

  • Cheryl

    There is no such thing as a “sensible conservative” that is an oxymoron. Those of us who are moderates still have critical thinking abilities because we shy away from intellectual shortcuts and don’t allow religion to take away our right or ability to use reason.
    This country will not progress until we have a true return to reason and boot out all of this crap that plays on pathos, while at the same time using religion to justify its methods. Moderates (true moderates-not the fake bozos in the Senate) are more socially libertarian (not the political kind-they just racists who hate to pay taxes), fiscally conservative (that doesn’t mean stingy-it means making sensible Long Term investments) and on every other issue it is a matter of truly thinking it through.
    Yes, people should come here through the proper channels. Yes, we should put policies into place to at least slow down the flow-why? Simple 5.1 million jobs have already been lost and the stimulus pkg won’t replace those. When unemployment gets too high so does crime, and unfortunately because of high anxiety so does hate crime. People who are already here legally with green cards need jobs before they’re handed out to newcomers who have cut in line. We need to get our hose in better order before we send out any more invitations.

  • Ernie

    CURIOUS: The DHS report may be seen here:

    Especially those folks who think that military personnel were singled out for harsh or untrue comments by DHS, you might want to read the FBI report from July 2008 produced during the Bush Administration in which many of the same points were made concerning white supremacist recruitment of military personnel based upon actual FBI case files from 2001-2008: SEE:

  • Lee Ann

    While I admire that the SPLC is “keeping an eye on the radical right,” I fail to understand why it doesn’t also keep an eye on the radical left. There are numerous hate groups (including some classified as “minorities” in this country) who vilify Jews, “whites,” and others.

    Young, white males don’t have a corner on the market when it comes to hate. If the SPLC is sincere in its efforts to monitor hate, it shouldn’t be selective about which groups it monitors or highlights on its website.

    The SPLC was the first organization I ever donated to way back in the 70s when I was just beginning to learn about non-profits, charitable giving and the like. Until I see a more even-handed and honest approach, I’ll be sending my donations elsewhere.

  • Floridatexan

    This is so typically Republican–stir up hatred whenever and wherever you can, even if it’s a complete and utter lie. (Tell a lie enough times and even you begin to believe it as truth). Like Michelle Malkin, Lizz Forrest, Michael Savage, Rush Limpbaugh, and my personal favorite, pinhead neo-Nazi Sean Hannity.

  • Shadow Wolf

    johnny crybaby–

    “Maybe you’re drinking too much moonshine.”

    Actually I’m straight-edge and well taken care of, or maybe you’re not creative enough….

    “If you’re gullible enough to believe the DHS “report”.

    Why not?
    The sources are credible, and the recent history relating to the right wing extreminists movement doesn’t lie.
    Maybe your tin of skoal chewing tabacco is laced with crystalized methaphetamines???

    “I though you are pro second amendment.”

    That’s right. But you’re foolish enough to assume that someone who is pro-gun rights is somehow supposed to be connected to the right wing movement, let alone–a white supremacist. The mentality of your state is an “Us vs. Them” ratio, indeed manipulating transparency by distorting the fact that if you’re pro-2nd amendment, then you must be a “right-winger”. That concept all by its bitty self is quite lame. How many non-Conservanuts who are also gun enthusiasts without being remotely associated with white supremacy? But of course, you’re too narrow-minded to grasp the fact that Americans regardless of their political status, can legally own a firearm(if they meet the requirements that is.)
    Talk about your “capal-tunnel syndrome” .

    “Also, aren’t you against illegal immigration.”

    You mean you forgot? Or is it that you can’t tell chalk from cheese? You might wanna lay off the METH, johnny boy.

    “You may deny it, but you are a “right wing extremist” too.”

    That’s quite retarded.
    Then why on Earth is Janet Napolitano a Democrat? That’s like believing the elevator goes one way, in terms of immigration reform.

  • Jonathan


    I don’t know if you were referring to me, but I was always very critical of the Bush administration: Patriot Act, ignoring the Constitution, gratuitous wars, etc.

    The danger here is excessive governmental power. Whether it is an “R” or a “D” regime makes no difference, it is still a usurper of power.

    What would the Founding Fathers think of the Federal government today?

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Hey, how many of you whiners were aware that it was the Bush administration which requested this report be made, long before the election, and it was compiled by Bush administration hirees? Kinda puts a damper on your whole conspiracy theory, doesn’t it?

  • Jonathan


    Did you get carpal-tunnel syndrome from all that typing?

    “You’re either a retard or you’re drunk on Budlight.”

    Neither. Besides I don’t drink alcohol.

    Maybe you’ve been drinking too much moonshine Woolfie, if you’re gullible enough to believe the DHS “report”?

    “It is only BS if you’re a white supremacist.”

    I thought you are pro second amendment? If so, you are a right-wing extremist too! Also, aren’t you against illegal immigration? Two strikes! Maybe you are a covert “White Supremacist”?

    Woolfie-poo, you may deny it, but you are a “right-wing extremist” too!

  • Jakob


    Michael Savage a “sensible” conservative? Who calls for the gassing of 100 million Muslims, and later says it’s OBAMA who’s the Nazi? Who agrees with Fred Phelps and the WBC that we should blame homosexuals for the economic crisis? And of course, Savage advocating the “militarization of our children”? Savage wants to be the one who provokes a new McVeigh-style terrorist attack against America, only you don’t know it – as Savage always tells his sheep audience.

  • Shadow Wolf


    “The SPLC seem to be trying to imply that the “right extremist threat” manipulated “White Supremacist”, and thus “White Supremacist” conspiracy.”

    You’re either a retard or you’re drunk on Budlight. What the SPLC is trying to imply is that the report released by the Dept. of Homeland Security was indeed credible enough to warrant a “right-wing extremist threat” alert for public info, under the Obama administration based on several reasons explained therein, simply because of the very fact that white extremists are either cowardly and easily frightened by a “Black President”–a Poplawski, if you will, or for some odd reason, they just don’t seem to possessed the means to cope under a different political administrative rule. In other words, they lack civility, so they engage in barbarous domestic terrorism like McVeigh.

    “I couldn’t help making a joke about how its really a conspiracy by Jews aided by “people of color”.

    Yup. The “people of color” who suck up to their white masters on the far right like fodder for their “conspriracy theories”, are the Michell Malkin, Anna Gaines, Al Rodriquez, or Marcus Epstiens are the ones coming to mind, So I couldn’t agree more.
    It is the same B.S. “conspiracy theories” that Richard Poplawski was “manipulated” with.

    “The point being that the DHS report is a bunch of BS.”

    It is only BS if you’re a white supremacist. Do you think the American public has forgotten about Timothy McVeigh on that fateful day back in 1995 in Oklahoma City? I doubt it.

    “The DHS report is a piece of propaganda, aimed at demonizing patriotic American.”

    What about the BS reports by that Janus-faced CNN loon Lou Dobbsey aimed at “demonizing” Hispanic Americans such as his wife, Anna Gaines, and Al Rodriquez etcs? The kind of propaganda crap Hannity, Coulter, Savage and others regurgitate on a daily basis? Is that not propaganda BS aimed at scarying the wits out of chicken littles like Richard Poplawski???

    “Instead of worrying about “right wing extremists”, the Americans should be concerned about the excessive powers of the Federal government!”

    You’re only worried about the loss of your “white privledges” because of your “extremists” views from the far right. I’m all for the law enforcement and I praise their equal searches and seizures, the same as nonwhites in previous Republiloon controlled governments. Welcome to the club, johnny…..

    “white supremacists is a bogus term.”

    Just like “La Raza” is a bogus term. But I have already explained to you in the recent past what white supremacist refers to. And will continue to use it to define the neo-Con, natavists and neo-Nazis.

  • Jonathan


    Personally, I feel it is irrelevant if Michael Savage is Jewish or not. He seems like a sensible conservative to me.

  • Jakob

    Newsflash: Michael Savage is NOT Jewish. He renounced Judaism when he started his radio show in 1994 and legally changed his name from “Michael Alan Weiner” to “Michael Savage”. He has also refered to Judaism as an anti-American religion, stating that the only “real” Americans are “white, conservative Christians”. Just in case some of us thought that Savage was still Jewish – which he is not.

    And note his language against gays, which is inspired by the Satanic anti-American Westboro “Baptist” “Church” and their “Reverend” Fred Phelps.

  • Jonathan


    The SPLC seems to be trying to imply that the right wing “extremist threat” was being manipulated “White Supremacists” and thus a “White Supremacist” conspiracy. I couldn’t help making a joke about how it is really a conspiracy by Jews aided by “people of color”. The point being is that the DHS report is a bunch of BS, it’s left-wing propaganda.

    As I said, Michelle Makin and Mr. Savage have many sensible things to say.

    The DHS report is a piece of propaganda aimed at demonizing patriotic, conservative Americans.

    Instead of worrying about “right wing extremism”, Americans should be far more concerned about the excessive power of the Federal government! Does that make me a “right-wing extremist”? :)

  • Carter

    If you are interested in non-classified copies of the report, you may contact:
    DHS/I&A Production Branch at,, or
    The report is 9 pages of non-redacted material for dissemination to the public.

  • Shadow Wolf

    “Or maybe simply because they don’t say enough nasty things about White people?”

    Sure, just “white people” of the opposite political viewpoints and perhaps other “Jews” such as Mark Potak and others. And if she is indeed “married to a Jew”, at least that should not make her very popular with the white supremacists in the lunatic fringe of the far right.
    But yeah, you’re right, “white supremacist” is not only a “bogus term” but its also an epithet aimed at mocking them in the same way they mock others who are not like them. Which is why I enjoy using that term.

  • Jonathan

    Funny, Michael Savage is Jewish and Michelle Malkin is married to a Jew. Hmmmm … maybe there is a Jewish “right-wing extremist” conspiracy going on? Ha! ;)

    Seriously, I’ve read both of their writings and listened on occasion to Michael Savage. They both have sensible things to say. Mr. Savage gets emotional when talking – it is clearly because he thinks it is good for ratings.

    So what on earth makes them “White Supremacists” – a bogus term – anyway? Pro 2nd amendment? Anti-illegal immigration? Or maybe simply because they don’t say enough nasty things about White people?

  • Shadow Wolf

    Michelle Malkin? Give me a break. The Phillipino immigrant has got to be what you call the “darkest skinned white supremacist” ever known. It is so funny that I can’t seem to make something out of it, she is totally out of this world. I forget what they call them, the folks who are nonwhite but write, talk, and act as if they’re white supremacists themselves.

    Anyhow, I don’t know if the American Legion should be regarded as a hategroup. Since my dad is a Vietnam Vet and he was a member of the American Legion post based in Nevada, the post included other Native war veterans like my dad and uncles. There is a Hispanic Legion Post right here in the valley. So I beg to differ that the American Legion should not be a hategroup.

    But on the contrary, Michelle Malkin “the darkest skinned white supremacist” is hilarious though. That’s like a klan in a white robe hanging out with the Bloods & Crips.

  • Carter

    In the above article I see several issues presented that have a complexity that are not easily sorted out.
    As an SPLC supporter, I have noted that approximately half a dozen articles wherein the American Legion was mentioned in association with hate groups. That the SPLC has not branded the American Legion a hate group is factual but the association is frankly a powerful, albeit not direct – condemnation of the Legion’s thinking & actions overall. This is akin to those who mention Black on White crime but don’t undertake to look at population percentage & ratio of individual perpetrators & victims.
    Groups such as the American Legion have a broad make-up of socio-political thinking. Mentioning them in direct association with Hate groups on several articles has a similar effect to mentioning that illegal immigrants all break the law.

    There is truth to the fact that all people who circumvent the legal immigration process do break the law at some level, that level is not at the same unwholesome level within that group of people.
    And the SAME could be said for the American Legion’s association with hate groups. Broad brush attacks bring broad brush responses. There are illegal immigrants who are a serious problem & drain on our system as there are American Legion members who address the issue with a unthinking reaction to the issue with an anti-Latino bias. But here there are members of those groups who are exceptions – and take exception to being painted into a corner due to the actions of others.

    The SPLC has a deeper responsibility to avoid an “us against them” situation IF the possibility exists of a mutual understanding. The more there exists a respectful dialog between the SPLC & the majority of the public, the more cases will be won in court.

    That dialog is certainly not possible with certain groups. But certainly IS possible if certain conditions are met. [Excluding self acknowledged supremacist groups,] one has only to ask a single question to see my point….
    IF one truly believes that ALL Republicans (or Conservatives) are racists & ALL Democrats (or Liberals) are not; the above mentioned dialog will never be possible.

    The fact that someone like Micheal Savage said anything what-so-ever about the SPLC is (IMO) unimportant as that individual has the credibility of a bizarrely immature, mentally unbalanced entertainer who does not represent anything but his sponsors. Sponsors who gamble on his pathological blathering to entertain angry motorists on their evening drive in a traffic jam.
    It’s no mystery why he is not on at breakfast hour; people would get sick. It’s also no mystery why we have the level of Road Rage; with clowns like that setting the pace for “public commentary”.

  • Lizz Forest

    It is clear from the ravings of Liberal Fascist that thinking is not a word or deed in their lexicon. I see nothing but mindless hate dripping from their fact less babbling. As long as it feels good why bother to think. Some have stated that Liberalism is a mental disorder. Your writings confirm this as a fact. You all currently support politicians in office who have a clear history of lying cheating and stealing from the people. Yet to follow their teachings and support their behavior as if they were gods. Have you never learned to stop and question words and acts that are clearly stupid. Have you been so mesmerized by the cult of personality that you have become a mindless zombie incapable of rational thought? My observation is that most liberal minded folk do not have the logic to think beyond their feelings. When confronted by an intellectually honest idea most liberals shrink from thinking and respond not with alternate sound ideas or a bright intelligent position but instead attack the person by name calling. One example occurred yesterday when a well known failed radio personality on NBC, the people’s channel while being interviewed by Tom Brokaw, called those attend Tea Parties “TeaBagger”, and otherwise work to poison peoples minds to their point of view. Funny, this is very reminiscent of Adolf Hitler and Mussolini who’s parties also controlled the means of disseminating information, i.e. the press, radio and television. My what a great true and honest comeback answer to prof-er as a main point of argument against folks with whom you disagree. Today’s liberals are simply either uninformed, ill educated on real history, stupid, or mentally challenged, and thus are not equipped or even worthy of the time for a real American to waste in discussion. Yes, a liberal can research and parrot the words of others to make their point. Unfortunately the “others” they copy and cite as authority have not been careful in their own research of the facts so they use their imagination talent to make a factual point. On both levels this is intellectually dishonest and stupid. You insurrectionist fascist liberals all might have the seat of power today so I advise you all to enjoy it while you can for your days of power, lying, and stupidity are surly numbered and you will ultimately fail as your kind have always failed in the past. Hopefully this will be soon and at that time, “We the People”, as always, will have to come back and clean up the baby poop you laggards leave behind. At that time we will have to bring are own brooms and mops because you “I want it free” socialist will have taken them all with you as you leave the house of self rightest power, as in remember Billy Clinton and the gang? Gee, aren’t most of them back in the White House.
    Recommendation: Sonia, can you write a nice little article about how to be selected or appointed as a Secretary of the Treasury, or how to get on the president’s staff as a Czar by illegally avoiding to pay taxes or by taking kickbacks on government contracts? By the way, did you know that BO is an embarrassment?

  • daemonesslisa

    The DHS seems to be giving these right-wingers the rope, and they’re proudly hanging themselves! The sad thing is, they really believe that this insane anger is the solution.

  • Jonathan

    I’ve always felt that left-wing Extremism is a greater threat:


    “GREELEY, Colo. (AP) — The Weld County sheriff’s office is looking for whoever sent it a letter threatening to put bombs around Greeley next week unless illegal immigrants are released from jail.”

    As it may have been “Mexi-Nazis”, who were behind the threat, I guess one could actually consider it right-wing extremism!

  • curious

    Can you get a copy of this Dept. of Homeland Security report?

    Is it accessible online? Can someone drop a link?

    I’d like to read this new report on right-wing domestic terrorists.