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

The Last Word: Hatewatch’s 4th Annual Smackdown Awards

By Mark Potok on December 27, 2010 - 10:41 am, Posted in Year-End

A skirt-chasing neo-Nazi huffs about the sexual mores of “the Jews.” An infamous Fox News personality predicts that one quarter of Americans will be starving come New Year’s Day. A Southern heritage group initiates a festive commemoration of the war that left more Americans dead than any other. A woman who took a walking tour of Auschwitz six decades after the Nazis ran it describes it as a luxurious and friendly work camp. All ’round, it’s been quite a year on the domestic radical right, and our intrepid staffers have had quite a time keeping up with it all. But as we do every year, we’ve hiked up our pants, put on our wading boots, and plunged into the sewers in an effort to bring you a hair-raising assortment of the very worst of the radical right in 2010. Here, with apologies to Keith Olbermann, is a countdown of the list dredged up by Hatewatch’s 4th Annual Smackdown Awards Committee:

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Critic: King’s Proposed Hearings on Muslim ‘Radicalization’ Evokes McCarthyism

By Ryan Lenz on December 23, 2010 - 4:39 pm, Posted in Anti-Muslim

U.S. Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), known for his incendiary remarks about Muslim Americans, has asked for a round of hearings into the radicalization of Muslim America – a move at least one member of Congress worries smacks of a Joseph McCarthy-style witch hunt.

In an editorial published this week in Newsday, and in subsequent cable news interviews, King, the incoming chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, voiced concerns that American Muslims are being recruited to serve as domestic proxies for radical Islam. He said law enforcement should investigate what he describes as “homegrown terrorism.”

“I will do all I can to break down the wall of political correctness and drive the public debate on Islamic radicalization. These hearings will be a step in that direction. It’s what democracy is all about,” King wrote, adding that, “To some in the strata of political correctness, I’m a pretty bad guy. To be blunt, this crowd sees me as an anti-Muslim bigot.” ( continue to full post… )

White Supremacist Turned FBI Snitch Turner Sentenced for E-Threats

By Robert Steinback on December 22, 2010 - 6:06 pm, Posted in Neo-Nazi

The sentence wasn’t as harsh as he feared, but neo-Nazi blogger and shock-jock radio host Hal Turner will spend 25 months in prison worrying about white racists he believes will be eager to snuff him for having been an FBI informant.

Turner, 48, whose vicious rhetoric was much admired among white supremacists until his FBI connections were revealed three years ago, was convicted Aug. 13 of using his blog to threaten three federal judges. U.S. District Judge Donald E. Walter sentenced Turner to 33 months in prison Tuesday despite the defendant’s impassioned protestations of his innocence. Turner faced a maximum of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. The eight months Turner has already spent in custody will count toward his sentence.

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FAIR Pushing Utah to Take Expensive Anti-Immigrant Plunge

By Leah Nelson on December 21, 2010 - 1:41 pm, Posted in Anti-Immigrant

The Salt Lake Tribune on Sunday published a lengthy investigative report on the origins of the immigration bill proposed by Utah State Rep. Stephen Sandstrom (R-Orem). Chief among the story’s findings is that Michael Hethmon, general counsel to the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI), played a major role in crafting the bill.

IRLI is the legal arm of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, a nativist extremist hate group with a penchant for hiring officials who are active in white supremacist organizations and write for anti-immigrant hate sites. FAIR characterizes itself as just another conservative-leaning organization seeking to tighten enforcement of immigration law, but it is the flagship of a network of organizations created by John Tanton, the racist architect of the modern anti-immigrant movement who has produced an abundance of white nationalist commentary. The Southern Poverty Law Center has designated FAIR as a hate group. ( continue to full post… )

AFA’s Fischer Doubles Down on Anti-Gay Lies

By Robert Steinback on December 20, 2010 - 4:18 pm, Posted in Anti-LGBT, Extremist Propaganda

Like a desperate gambler who simply can’t make himself fold an obvious losing hand and instead increases his bet, Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association apparently has concluded that the best defense for being caught in lies is to further inflate them.

The Southern Poverty Law Center last month published “Ten Anti-Gay Myths Debunked,” reviewing 10 of the most common untruths put forth by anti-gay activists who operate under the banner of so-called “pro-family” organizations. Fischer on Nov. 26 responded to that article with an essay of his own, claiming that the 10 myths identified by SPLC were, in fact, 10 unequivocal truths.

The problem was, Fischer’s vaguely sourced rejoinder was packed with demonstrable fictions, including references to outdated research and research the authors themselves insist doesn’t say what Fischer and his ilk claim it says. I pointed out several of those in a response to Fischer. (During an interview with independent talk-show host David Pakman [here and here], who challenged Fischer with the evidence I presented, Fischer actually argued that the studies did come to the conclusions he stated – never mind what the studies’ own authors said.)

On Dec. 16, Fischer again reiterated that the SPLC’s 10 myths were, in fact, truths – using the exact same misrepresented research as in his first essay. (He even cites again Columbia University researcher Robert Spitzer, who declares in an online video that his research didn’t conclude what Fischer claims it does.) But this time, Fischer goes a step further: Now he is distorting what the SPLC wrote, evidently hoping – once again – that readers won’t check his “facts.” ( continue to full post… )

Racist CCC’s Comic Book Complaint: The Gods Must be Crazy

By Evelyn Schlatter on December 17, 2010 - 6:42 pm, Posted in White Nationalism

The white supremacist Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC) is calling for a boycott of the upcoming movie “Thor,” based on the Marvel comic book story and directed by Kenneth Branagh. One would think that a film fantasy about a Nordic god (played by blond, blue-eyed Australian actor Chris Hemsworth) performing heroic acts would have a racist group like the CCC squealing with delight.

Idris ElbaNot so. The CCC is upset about the casting of British actor Idris Elba, who is black, as Heimdall, the all-seeing, all-hearing sentry of Asgard, one of the nine worlds of Norse mythology. After all, Heimdall is supposed to be a Nordic god and, as such, he’s supposed to be white, the CCC declares.

Only in the warped worldview of a group like the CCC could the Hollywood depiction of a nonhuman fictional character derived from mythology as imagined by comic book writers be seen as a racial affront.

The decision to cast Golden Globe-nominated Elba as Heimdall was announced in late 2009, and it resulted in a flurry of discussion on comic book fan sites. Some fans have expressed reservations about the casting, but unlike the CCC, most were concerned about remaining true to the comic story line rather than taking issue with Elba’s race. Most, however, seem fine with the casting. One pointed out that the Asgardians, as represented in Marvel comics, are a diverse bunch, anyway, noting that some have died and been reborn as others, including “a black dude,” according to one fan, and that the Asgard have also accepted non-human aliens into their ranks. Another mentioned Heimdall’s nine mothers, so who’s to say what he might look like? And yet another summed it up like this: “Long as the movie doesn’t suck, I have no reason to care about the casting.”

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Assessing Muslim Terrorism: Lies, Damn Lies and Glenn Beck’s Statistics

By Leah Nelson on December 16, 2010 - 4:29 pm, Posted in Anti-Muslim, Extremist Propaganda

Are you prepared to believe there are 157 million Muslim terrorists in the world? You have a choice: You can take Fox News commentator and radio host Glenn Beck’s word for it — or you can insist on proof.

Pausing in the midst of a meandering condemnation of the mainstream media’s failure to take him seriously last week, Beck delivered up the shocking “fact” that 10% of the world’s Muslims are terrorists to his radio audience.

CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, a well-known author and expert in international relations who once was managing editor of the journal Foreign Affairs, didn’t buy Beck’s assertion. On his Sunday news-talk program “Fareed Zakaria GPS,” Zakaria called out Beck in no uncertain terms. [Editor’s full disclosure note: Zakaria is the brother-in-law of Mark Potok, editor of this blog.] “Beck wondered why this wasn’t receiving any media coverage,” he said. “Well, let me suggest one reason. It is total nonsense — a figure made up by Glenn Beck with absolutely no basis in fact.” ( continue to full post… )

SPLC Responds to Attack by FRC, Conservative Republicans

By Mark Potok on December 15, 2010 - 1:05 pm, Posted in Anti-LGBT

This morning, 22 members of Congress and a large number of other conservatives signed on to a public statement attacking the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) for listing several anti-gay religious right organizations as hate groups.  Published in two Washington, D.C., newspapers as a full-page ad, the statement was organized by the powerful Family Research Council (FRC) and other “pro-family organizations that are working to protect and promote natural marriage and the family.”

The statement, whose signatories included House Speaker-Designate John Boehner and the governors of Louisiana, Minnesota and Virginia, ran under the headline, “Start Debating/Stop Hating.” It accused “elements of the radical Left” of trying to “shut down informed discussion of policy issues” and decried those who attempt to suppress debate “through personal assaults that aim only to malign an opponent’s character.” The SPLC, it said, was engaging in “character assassination.”

It was a remarkable performance, given that it was precisely the maligning of entire groups of people — gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered people — that caused the SPLC to list groups like the FRC. Remarkable, too, was the accusation that the SPLC was avoiding debate — in fact, the very first public discussion of the issues raised by the SPLC came in a Nov. 29 debate between the FRC’s Tony Perkins and myself on MSNBC’s “Hardball With Chris Matthews.” ( continue to full post… )

Newest Extreme Right Demand: Bring Back McCarthyism

By Leah Nelson on December 14, 2010 - 8:39 am, Posted in Extremist Propaganda

Between 1950 and 1954, Wisconsin Sen. Joseph McCarthy led one of the most notorious political witch-hunts in U.S. history. Aided by the parallel activities of the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC), McCarthy’s anti-communist crusade divided politicians, captivated the media, and fanned the flames of anti-Soviet zeal in early Cold War America.

By 1954, when the Senate censured him for his “inexcusable” and “reprehensible” behavior, McCarthy’s name had become synonymous with demagoguery. HUAC’s star waned soon after, and the committee was dissolved in 1975. Paranoid anti-communist organizations like the John Birch Society maintained their vigilance against the (increasingly imaginary) communist threat, but most everyone else moved on.

Until now. ( continue to full post… )

Anti-Muslim Group Denounces One Professor, Defends Another

By Ryan Lenz on December 13, 2010 - 8:50 am, Posted in Anti-Muslim, Extremist Propaganda

The American Congress for Truth (ACT), an anti-Muslim group run by firebrand Brigitte Gabriel, has targeted a Muslim professor serving on a human rights board in Florida, accusing him of having ties to radical Islamic groups and serving as a “mosque operative” in city government.

After months of opposition to Parvez Ahmed’s nomination to the Human Rights Commission of Jacksonville — he was appointed earlier this year — ACT held a news conference on the steps of Jacksonville City Hall Thursday to release a DVD of edited clips of a speech Ahmed gave in October, which the group claims shows “irrefutable” evidence of Ahmed’s associations with the Muslim Brotherhood and radical Islam — despite the absence of any footage speaking directly to that charge. The lack of evidence apparently didn’t trouble Randy McDaniels, the Jacksonville ACT chapter leader who called the news conference. “It’s how he says what he says. What he doesn’t say. What’s inferred and the facts we know,” McDaniels said, adding that Ahmed was a “made man in the Muslim mafia.” ( continue to full post… )