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:

10. Black Kettle Award

We thought the relentless womanizing of neo-Nazi and former Klan boss David Duke was so well known, so notorious even in the white supremacist underworld, that he’d never have the effrontery to play the William Bennett of the radical right. After all, even Tom Metzger, a one-time deputy of Duke’s in the Klan, has said, “We used to tell people, ‘When Duke comes to town, make sure your wife is safely locked up and don’t let him near your daughters.” Boy, were we wrong! This November, in a caterpillar-to-butterfly morph from skirt-chasing playboy to moralizing geezer, Duke huffed and piously puffed through a video attacking “the Jews” and their “dominant role” in pornography, with a heavy focus on “Sigmund SCHLOMO Freud” (emphasis his, naturally). Although he’s gonna hate our color scheme, we just have to say it: David Duke is the sexpot calling the kettle black.

9. Most Decisive Solution to Promiscuity Award

We’re mightily sorry, of course, to concentrate so heavily on sex, but the radical right in this country seems absolutely obsessed with the matter. And so we come to the deep thinker Bryan Fischer, the wannabe historian at the virulently anti-gay American Family Association who wrote last May: “Homosexuality gave us Adolph Hitler, and homosexuals in the military gave us the Brown Shirts, the Nazi war machine and 6 million dead Jews.” Around the same time, Fischer came up with a solution to the pressing problem of promiscuity. Citing the biblical story of Phineas, who murdered a couple with a single spear thrust during the sexual act and so won God’s favor, Fischer said that “God is obviously looking for more Phineases in our day,” which is marked once again by “rampant sexual immorality.” But isn’t that a little, well, harsh? Not hardly, sayeth Bryan, who adds with a straight face, “I’m happy to serve humanity by increasing biblical literacy, one passage at a time.”

8. Dumbest Film Critics Award

When the film “Machete” was released last fall, most critics, despite its virtuous-Mexicans-vs.-evil-gringo-vigilantes subplot, recognized it for what it was — Robert Rodriguez’s latest kitschy and ultra-violent exploitation film, spiced up with a few cartoonish references to contemporary political reality. But not the nativist far right, which rose up on its collective hind legs in spluttering, outraged victimhood. VDARE.com’s Alexander Hart howled that the film had an “anti-white, anti-American, treasonous agenda.” The white supremacist Council of Conservative Citizens barked about the “anti-white snuff film.” William Gheen of Americans for Legal Immigration PAC mewed that the film might provoke “massive civil unrest,” in which case he promised to “demand that MACHETE be withdrawn from theaters.” To hound-dog conspiracist Alex Jones, it was a “pro-immigration psy-op” with “an anti-gun message.” Well, not really. As the New York Times’ Stephen Holder, recalling another grim threat identified by the right, wrote: “The only viewers it is likely to upset are the same kind of people who once claimed that the purple Tinky Winky in ‘Teletubbies’ promoted a gay agenda.”

7. Most Misguided Celebrants Award

Most Americans know the Civil War as America’s bloodiest conflict, one that cost the lives of some 620,000 soldiers and 400,000 civilians and ultimately resulted in the laying to waste of the South. But not the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV), the Southern heritage organization that has been embroiled in recent years in an internal battle between racial extremists and others. The SCV last August announced that as part of its sesquicentennial commemorations it would “CELEBRATE THE BEGINNING OF THE CONFEDERACY IN MONTGOMERY, ALABAMA” on Feb. 19, 2011, with a parade up historic Dexter Avenue to the Alabama State Capitol. Yes, that’s the very same route taken by civil rights marchers in the famous 1965 Selma-to-Montgomery march, but the SCVers won’t be applauding civil rights. Instead, they’re there to ensure that the Confederacy is “portrayed in the right way.” What that means can be discerned from the fact that the SCV website promoting the event includes an essay from extreme-right Louisiana pastor Steve Wilkins, who wrote in Southern Slavery, As It Was that “[s]lavery as it existed in the South … was a relationship based upon mutual affection and confidence.” Yep, it was pretty nice South in those days. And what’s not to like about slavery?

6. Most Pandering, Useless Law Award

The latest round of baseless attacks on Muslims began last summer with the so-called Ground Zero controversy over an Islamic center proposed for Lower Manhattan, and was fueled by the likes of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who likened Muslims to Nazis. From there, it just went downhill. In November, legislators in Oklahoma passed a perfectly useless law meant to pander to the most mindless fearmongers out there — the people who just can’t quit claiming that Islamic “shariah” law is sneaking into the American legal system. In fact, this religious code has only come into play once in the U.S. courts — a misguided New Jersey judge refused to issue a restraining order against a Muslim man who forced his wife to have sex, as shariah law says is a husband’s right — and was immediately overturned on appeal. A whole string of real lawyers and legal scholars, disputing the absurd claims of propaganda mills like the Center for Security Policy, say the law has no point at all. “Talk of shariah law taking root in our country is just a way of stirring up nativist fears,” said our own Richard Cohen, SPLC’s CEO. “It would require throwing out the entire Constitution, including the Bill of Rights.”

5. Most Prurient Suspicions Award

A specter is haunting the far right — the specter of photos of naked conservatives being ogled by the minions of Marxist/fascist/anti-Christ President Barack Obama. All the powers of the nutty extremists have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this specter: from Fox News’ Glenn Beck to various anti-gay propagandists. It began with Beck worrying about the Z Backscatter Van, a mobile scanning device used by law enforcement to peer into parked tractor trailers and the like, and flowered with a Beck follower’s warning that any “Obama regime bureaucrat” could now end up salivating over “dozens of photos” of “you and your family, totally nude.” Then the Obama-wants-to-see-you-naked story morphed into an Obama-wants-to-feel-you-up narrative, with anti-gay activists like Peter LaBarbera of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality warning that gay airport security officers will get “turned on” while patting down travelers of the same sex. The last act came courtesy of Eugene Delgaudio, a slightly mad Virginia county commissioner who concluded in December that new airport search procedures are motivated by the “homosexual agenda,” not terrorism. Delgaudio’s apparently a very brave man, facing down the sex-starved gays and all. “The Homosexual Lobby’s lackeys in the media hate me,” he whines. And about that, at least, Eugene Delgaudio is very likely right.

4. Biggest Scaredy-Cat Doomsayer Award

Ever wonder why Glenn Beck, kind of like House Speaker-Designate John Boehner, always seems to be crying? Maybe it’s because there’s so much scary, scary stuff happening out there — or maybe in there, meaning inside the nightmarish chamber that is Beck’s storm-tossed skull. Last fall, in a classic moment even for the connect-the-dots blackboard conspiracy theorist, the Fox News host warned his radio audience that he’d been talking to certain experts — he refused to identify them, but said they were “our financial advisors … stat-related guys” who are as qualified as a particular former U.S. comptroller general — who had warned him that a quarter of Americans could well be starving come Jan. 1. Then he went on to quote a bizarre little outfit that’s called the National Inflation Association (NIA) and predicts an “upcoming hyperinflationary crisis,” although virtually no serious economist agrees. The NIA says, on the basis of no one knows what, that two pounds of sugar will “soon” run you $62.21; a can of Folger’s coffee will go for $77.71; a Hershey’s chocolate bar will cost $15.50; and so on. Beck checked them out thoroughly, he reports, and has established that they are “credible people.” WAAAAH!!

3. Happiest Concentration Camp Award

That would have to be Auschwitz, which, despite what you may have heard, wasn’t really about Zyklon-B gas chambers, Dr. Josef Mengele’s twin experiments and unbelievable brutality from SS guards — at least if you believe one Caroline Yeager, a woman of apparently leaden stupidity. It seems that Yeager strolled through the Polish facility last year (more than 60 years after it was abandoned by the fleeing Nazis) and she’s pretty sure now that the tour guides, not to mention thousands of historians, witnesses and survivors, aren’t telling the whole story. Indeed, she says the camp where some 1 million Jews were murdered was really about “reform, re-education and rehabilitation.” Locals saw the place as “luxurious,” what with its “attractive red-brick sleeping quarters,” “bunk beds with mattresses,” “flush toilets,” “tree-lined” streets, cultural events, sporting facilities, and more. Yeager’s sleuthing, which also disclosed that SS guards regularly socialized with inmates and even married them after the war, came to us early this year courtesy of The Barnes Review, the infamous Holocaust denial journal. Of course, Yeager did have an attitude even before she went a-touring: She writes on her blog about how she was “drawn to National Socialism as a viable alternative [after] learning about its true nature as opposed to the lies I had been taught.”

2. Unlikeliest Gay Rights Activist Award

So you’re a group of conservative gays and lesbians in a political party that isn’t always too friendly toward you and you’re looking for a speaker. Who you gonna call? Well, if you’re GOProud, an organization that bills itself as representing “gay conservatives and their allies,” the eyebrow-raising choice turned out to be Ann Coulter, the right-wing author and mindless attack dog who indeed did speak to the group’s “Homocon” gathering last September. Yes, that’s the very same Ann Coulter who infamously called then-presidential candidate John Edwards a “faggot,” prompting even reliable right-wingers like columnist Michelle Malkin to rebuke her for giving conservatives a bad name. The same one who described Al Gore as a “total fag.” The gal who implied Bill Clinton was gay and who complained last February that a particular federal education official’s “idea of a good sixth grade field trip is to take the kids to the Tony Awards,” given for excellence in theater. Not a problem, said Christopher Barron, board chairman of GOProud. “The gay left has done their best to take all the fun out of politics.” So if you must bash gays, do it like the woman who once proposed that America “kill [Muslim] leaders and convert them to Christianity,” leavening garden-variety hate medicine with a spoonful of fun “fag” jokes.

1. Sleaziest Defense of Falsehoods Award

As the year began to peter out, the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Report released a study that sharply criticized a number of hard-line anti-gay groups on the religious right, saying that more than a dozen would be listed as hate groups early next year. As soon as word got out, Tony Perkins, leader of the Family Research Council (FRC), one of the groups we are listing, was invited to debate me on MSNBC’s “Hardball With Chris Matthews.” When our debate centered in on the FRC’s longstanding and completely false allegation that gay men molest children far more than heterosexuals, Perkins, in the very last moments of the show, asserted: “If you look at the American College of Pediatricians (ACP), they say the research is overwhelming that homosexuality poses a danger to children.” Well, Tony Perkins wasn’t being entirely straight there. In fact, the ACP is a tiny group that broke away from the 60,000-member American Academy of Pediatrics because that group had endorsed gay and lesbian parenting. The whole episode reminded some of us of the Ninth Commandment: “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.”

And that brings us, once again, to the end of this year’s edition of the Smackdown Awards (earlier editions are here, here and here). We wish our readers the very best of the holidays and a joyous and healthy new year. Over the next 12 months, we promise to stay on top of the radical right and its often horrifying denizens, if for no better reason that to once again be able to bring you, next December, the best of the very, very worst of American hate.

  • Matthew Bright

    I had a shower this morning. Then I read your greatest annual hits piece and now I feel like I need another one. I don’t know how you deal with it.

  • Scott

    So from reading this blog and various other sites in relation to these neo-nazi muppets, I have came to the conclusion that Movies, video games, gay people, TV, Internet, Youtube, Facebook, SPLC, Processed foods, Government and many many other things are really a Jewish plot to destroy the Aryan race and if you do not believe what they are saying then you are either a Jew, a race traitor or a commie.
    It was very interesting learning about the NSM leader Jeff Schoep. A man with no real education, no job, lives on welfare, criminal record for theft, 2 abandoned wives and 8 kids and is now married to a woman who was herself married to a black man for near ten years and has a bi-racial child. It is amazing how people look up to him and call him ” commander “. Real classy person. What a bunch of idiots.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Dick, Beck doesn’t have “facts” 90% of the time, and if you think otherwise you are obviously not checking at all. Then again, he doesn’t check either. And there is a good reason to paint traditional conservatives as racist- because they are.

    Also if you want to have some fun, feel free to cite any of Glenn Beck’s “facts” about anything, and prepare to be disillusioned.

  • Dick Lancaster

    Josh,

    The SPLC doesn’t cover far left groups or any group left of center because they ARE a far left group and their sole purpose is to paint all traditional, conservative Americans as racist.

    They used to publish “Klan Watch” until they ran out of Klansmen. There are not enough white racists to justify the grants and donations they receive so they invent them.

    Potok’s sarcastic and juvinile rant actually surpasses that of their number one nemisis, Glenn Beck. The difference between the two is that Beck invites you to check his facts; Potok censor’s you when you challenge him.

    I would ignore the demands for proof from the peanut gallery because useful idiots, in order to be useful, cannot accept facts. It fouls up thier investment.

  • Linnea

    Thanks for the Smackdown! The laugh was much needed… especially after yesterday’s awful news from Arizona. Nice to see the haters made the butt of some humor.

    Keep up your fantastic work, and stay safe.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Very interesting how right-wingers will so readily blab on and on about “radical leftists” doing all kinds of terrible things in America today, yet when asked, they can’t produce any names or groups.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Yeah Josh, please tell us who the radical left wing groups are who attack Christians and what-not. Perhaps you can post some stories to show how many people they’ve killed in the last 20-30 years as well.

  • Tom

    joshyboy, traditional marriage is one man, many hoes. spanking messes kids up, and never really stopped me from doing anything. stop thinking that current societal norms are god’s will, and stop thinking the democrat boogeyman is out to get you. now, in response, show me these groups you speak of and the proof of their actions, and i’ll be quiet. otherwise, shush.

  • Sam Molloy

    Josh, exactly what is the name of one of those groups? I’m sure SPLC would attack them. I think keeping the government out of our bedrooms would be a place of common ground we could agee on. There are probably others.

  • Frank

    Also, I don’t understand how allowing same sex marriage is an example of government intrusion. If anything, it’s less government in the bedroom, telling you what you can do with your life.

  • Frank

    ” parents who believe that spanking a child is okay”

    Spanking is clearly child abuse and it should be illegal. If you put your hands on an adult in that same way, you’d go up on assault charges. So if it’s illegal to do it to adults, it should definitely be illegal to do it to children.

  • Lee Ann Mortensen

    Thank you so much for this smackdown, and for all your other work. I’m so glad to see the FRC on your list, and that you care about GLTBQ hate groups. I didn’t go to Auschwitz, but I did go to Dachau in the 1980′s, and even though things were sort of cleaned up, we saw barracks, we saw ovens, we saw clothing and photos of the people jailed/killed there. The most haunting sign on a fence was Arbeit Macht Frei (if I can even spell it correctly)–Work Makes Free (the supposed English translation–an apparently common fence posting). That propaganda has stuck with me for 30 years.

  • Josh

    How about covering Far-Left groups who attack Christians, troops currently serving this nation, parents who believe that spanking a child is okay, and people who make personal choices about smoking,drinking, what they eat,owning a gun, and traditonal marriage. It seems like the SPLC has no problem with Far Left groups and would love to live in a world controlled by Democrats who want to make sure no one’s feelings get hurt and that everybody gets a trophy. The attacks against a whole group of people who demand less goverment intrusion in their lives because of a few radicals needs to stop too.

  • Willim K. Crum

    With regards to your sleaziest defense award, the Penguins taught me that the 9th Commandment is “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbors wife”. They also told me which one is the commandment against false witness, but I forgot which one it is. I stunk at catechism.

  • Mark Potok

    Thanks to all who have been posting the really nice comments, and all of our very best wishes for a prosperous new year. We only hope we can live up to your words!

    Very best,

    Mark Potok
    Editor, Intelligence Report/Hatewatch blog

  • Linda Thompson

    meant protesting- sorry

  • Linda Thompson

    I went to a lot of civil rights marches in the 60s, and i intend to write a lrtter to the Mayor of Selma orotrsting the upcoming march. There is nothing to be proud of in the Confederacy. It was NOT Gone With the Wind- I have a lot of ancerstors from that era, but I’m not about to join the Daughters of the Confederacy! We are here to learn from history- not celebrate the shame!

  • Okie

    Yes, I am from Oklahoma. No, I did not vote for the state constitutional amendment re: sharia law. Thank you for your sound reporting and commitment to pointing out where hate is and what it can do.

  • Bobbie

    Are The Radical Right, The Religious Right and the Moral Majority all one in the same?

  • Ted

    Sounds like if you have Judeo-Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim morals and beliefs that you are a racist, a bigot and a homophobe and a hater. So sad.

  • Snorlax

    It seems to me that if Ann Coulter can afford to have her jaw done, she can afford to have that Madam’s Apple removed.

    She has a very noticeable “laryngeal prominence” which bobs up and down furiously when she gets agitated, which is often. This is still apparent in recent videos.

    My theory is that she hasn’t had it surgically removed because its a turn-on to her legion of closeted Republicans.

  • barry pultz

    Thank You so very much SPLC for the “Smackdown Awards” . It is almost unbelievable and thus abhorant that this level of misinformation and ignorance could exsist in a modern and educated society ??? The information age is a strange bird…… lot of good info AND alot of bad and misinformative info is in the Media and on the internet…. Thank you for being on the side of the good /accurate info cycle and thank You for standing up for the rights of the disenfranchised and oppressed

  • Clay Williams

    I just recently signed-up for SPLC’s Hatewatch and find it informing and disturbing at the same time. I have gained a greater insight as to how the religious “Right” tell outright LIES to try to change the minds of others. Is it any wonder that we have so much hate for and crime against Gays in this country? Jerry Falwell, being picketed by Gays while riding in a Limo with Rev. Mel White, said to Rev. White: “Thank God for the Gays…if they weren’t here I would have to invent them to get the attention I deserve”! He, like so many others of his ilk, was a CINO (Christian In Name Only)! Good Luck, and Thank You, SPCL, for the work you do…my contribution will be in the mail on Monday!

  • Christine

    I spelled allegiance wrong – I do know better

  • Christine

    SPLC – thank you for your amazing work this year (and every year).

    Loved the smack-down awards too – just brilliant.

    I know you are apparently taking a lot of heat for designating FRC as a hate group, but, frankly it’s long overdue (and very many Christian Right organizations are promoting the lies about homosexuality and pedophilia, among others).

    I hope you’ll include more of them next year.

    The LGBT community owes you our allegience and support – you have defended us so vigorously when so many other progressive organizations have looked the other way.

    Your bullying video will save lives…

    From my heart – thank you for the work you do.

  • Kathlees

    Having lived in Loudoun County,VA for almost 30 years, I can assure you that Eugene Delgaudio is NOT “slightly mad.” He is totally bonkers.

  • Kevin Brown

    Great article, of course I was familiar with all of them (except for the David Duke one which was interesting.) It is good to get a laugh at the expense of the hate-mongers every onece in a while. Keep up the good work and Happy Holidays.

  • Frank

    “Ann Coulter, who is about six feet tall, speaks in a stentorian voice, and recently had her lantern jaw remodelled, might be suspected of being a trangender by these gay Republican conservatives, so that they suppose she is sympathetic.”

    The funny, or sad, thing is that there are plenty of homophobic and racist transgendered people. I don’t believe she is trans, but if she was it wouldn’t be the first time something like that has happened. Gender identity and sexual orientation are two seperate things, after all. Just like there’s transphobic gays, lesbians and bisexuals.

  • http://devlin-mcaliskey.blogspot.com/ Tom Shelley

    I tried posting this earlier but it disapeared from the computer screen when I refreshed the page to see if it had been approved for publishing. I’m not sure why that happened. I’m submitting it a second time.

    ***

    In terms of laughing at the white supremacists, some of you might enjoy what I do on my blog. I do a kind of poetry where I take the lyrics of songs I listen to and alter them in different ways, including twisting politically offensive lyrics into more or less the opposite of what they originally were. As you might guess, one kind of lyrics that I twist are white supremacist lyrics. I go into this more at- http://devlin-mcaliskey.blogsp.....bragg.html .

    Some poems that you might like are:

    “The Spirit of Che Guevara” at- http://devlin-mcaliskey.blogsp.....bragg.html

    “SHARP Skinheads” at- http://devlin-mcaliskey.blogsp.....songs.html

    “D-Day” at- http://devlin-mcaliskey.blogsp.....halla.html

    “Lanford” at- http://devlin-mcaliskey.blogsp.....songs.html

    Tom

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    It really is good to laugh at these people. Fearing them only makes them feel emboldened.

  • Ray

    SPLC, Thank you so much for the Smackdown Awards. I have not had such a good laugh in a while. It’s ironic, but these people who you are talking about are actually very serious. Happy New Year and I wish you great success in 2011.

  • La Piovra

    Ann Coulter, who is about six feet tall, speaks in a stentorian voice, and recently had her lantern jaw remodelled, might be suspected of being a trangender by these gay Republican conservatives, so that they suppose she is sympathetic. This seems specious, but any gay person who supports conservative Republicans these days may be suffering from clouded thinking.

  • Sam Molloy

    Even Hitler sprinkled his theories with truth. Our debt could lead to inflation. An early Nazi officer travelled openly with an attractive younger man, until they killed him. (Now there’s a movie idea.What happened to the boyfriend?)Kudos to SPLC for telling the real truth and helping to get it taught in schools.