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

Conservative Magazine Writer Slurs Interview Subject Publicly

By Mark Potok on August 16, 2011 - 12:07 pm, Posted in Antigovernment

Human Events, a conservative magazine once described as Ronald Reagan’s favorite reading, published an article today entitled “The Truth about the Oath Keepers.” It detailed the group, which is mainly made up of law enforcement officials and military veterans who promise to re-swear their oath to defend the Constitution, and also the criticisms made of it by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The article, by student and regular Human Events contributor Kathryn M. DeLong, certainly comes down on the side of the Oath Keepers, but it does quote me at some length and reasonably accurately. What’s remarkable is what it doesn’t say.

DeLong, who heads her College Republican Club at the State University of New York at Buffalo, spoke to me on Aug. 5, when I returned her call. At first, she asked questions any reporter might. But when I explained that the group’s “10 Orders We Will Not Obey” really relate to its beliefs in classic “Patriot” conspiracy theories — the idea that the government plans to impose martial law with the aid of foreign troops and imprison all those who resist, among others — she scoffed. We went back and forth until I finally told her that was our opinion, period. She insisted several times that she was just an objective reporter playing “devil’s advocate” with me.

Well, sort of.

A few minutes after we spoke, at 2:55 p.m. Aug. 5, DeLong tweeted her Twitter followers this message: “Wow. Fuck the Southern Poverty Law Center.” That was followed by at least three replies to followers who apparently asked her for details. One of them said “you’ll have to read my article to find out.”

I E-mailed the editors of Human Events asking for a comment on this apparent breach of journalistic practice on Aug. 8, but have received no reply.

What may be more extraordinary than a young writer acting foolishly is the action of her apparent supervisor, Neil W. McCabe, an Army reservist who edits the Human Events “Guns & Patriots” section that DeLong writes for frequently. McCabe re-tweeted DeLong’s vulgar E-mail to his own followers four minutes after she did.

I understand perfectly that Human Events, along with any number of other conservative outlets and individuals, is not going to see the world the way the SPLC or I do. We can even agree to respectfully disagree. But what Human Events can’t do is pretend to be a serious news magazine — not when it uses writers and editors who publicly use obscenities to describe their interview subjects even as they write. That seems like a concept that even Kathryn DeLong and Neil McCabe could understand.

  • Vince Vinacelli

    I was following your article and the comments with an open mind until I read , “Very clearly their concern over the Constitution is only aroused when there is a black man in the White House”. That is an unsubstantiated statement. It is the progressive policies that conservatives do not agree with. I would want a white O’Bama removed just the same, and I would want a converative to be the next President, regardless of race/color. Two of my best friends growing up were born in Lebanon and Thailand, moving to Texas in elementary school. My closest friend today is black. I am white, conservative and a “born again” Christian. Take me on with issues, not false class warfare and racial baiting. With Respect, Vince.

  • Hacalia de Chislegh

    Ronald Reagan’s favorite magazine was NATIONAL REVIEW, not Human Events.

  • Gregory

    @Jonas Rand
    “And to anyone who is against the Oath Keepers: Tell me, plainly, what the Oath Keepers have done wrong?”

    What have they done right, I would ask. Where were they when Bush was in office? Suddenly they appear after Obama’s election, fueled by Birtherism, Islamophobia and barely disguised racism, not unlike the Tea Party. Very clearly their concern over the Constitution is only aroused when there is a black man in the White House.

  • Mitch Beales

    Jonas my understanding is that the “Oath Keepers” refuse to obey orders that they consider unconstitutional. Morality, secular or otherwise, has nothing to do with it. The problem is that the Constitution spells out who has the authority to interpret it and it ain’t every Joe Blow soldier, sailor, state trooper, governor, or member of congress. It’s the judiciary branch and ultimately the supreme court. It is thus contradictory to refuse to obey an order that you consider unconstitutional after taking an oath to uphold the Constitution. It is and has been acceptable and appropriate as far as I know to disobey an order that is illegal. You don’t need to join oath keepers to do that and if you are interested in acting in accordance with your own morality regardless of the law you probably shouldn’t get involved with the police or military in the first place.

  • jwd

    Hatewatch, where were you four hundred years ago. Continue your tireless efforts to bring the ugly TRUTH to the misinformed. And prevent the past from repeating itself.

  • Jonas Rand

    There is no clear indication that, while she was defending the Oath Keepers, she is affiliated with the group.

    And to anyone who is against the Oath Keepers: Tell me, plainly, what the Oath Keepers have done wrong? What is morally wrong with disobeying orders that you feel are against your conscience? (By morally, I do not mean in any religious sense, only in the sense of being consistent with secular ethics)

    How does dissent toward the government signal a terrorist threat? I thought SPLC was a leftist organization; that (the theory that Oath Keepers, a group that promotes refusal to obey orders that one considers unjust, presents a threat of extremist terrorism) sounds like Bushista rhetoric and right-wing neoconservative paranoia.

    The Oath Keepers founder, Stewart Rhodes, courageously spoke out against the imprisonment of whistleblower and US government torture victim Bradley Manning.

  • http://www.twitter.com/AronL Aron Levy

    That’s some real classy behavior on the part of Human Events. And the fact that they’re unrepentant says so very, very much about their journalistic integrity.

    Pathetic.

  • Linnea

    @Mark Potok: Consider it a compliment that this “Human Events” bunch insulted you and the SPLC. It must mean you’re doing something right!

    If they’re too lazy/dumb/paranoid to do real research on a group like the Oath Keepers, then screw ‘em. They’re clearly not real journalists… they strike me more as writers for a cult newsletter. They may be worth keeping on your radar.

    And Reynardine, you got it exactly right about the right-wing media in general. They don’t know jack about real journalism. Occasionally you do get decent reporters even at Fox, but it doesn’t happen often, and I’m willing to bet that they don’t stay very long.

  • Reynardine

    Par for the course: the right wing media demand absurd deference to “their” guys, but feel free to be completely contemptuous of their opponants, and if the latter complain of unprofessional or even abusive tactics, accuse them of being “politically correct” or “playing the race card”, and too often, the MSM and the public swallow this as uncritically as if they were public toilets.

    Given the stunts pulled by Fox and the reaction they deliberately elicit, by the way, when are you going to label them a hate organization? The filthy malevolence expressed towards Breivik’s murder victims, Somali famine victims, and the First Family on their sites deserves no less.