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

Reality Show Celebrates Hate Group Leader as American Patriot

By Leah Nelson on February 23, 2012 - 5:28 pm, Posted in Anti-Immigrant

In a move that is sure to endear it permanently to America’s nativist extremist demographic, the Outdoor Channel last night featured hate group leader Glenn Spencer on “Border Battles,” a recently debuted reality show about “what it takes to protect our nation’s borders from drug smuggling, illegal immigration and terrorism.”

Spencer is the racist, anti-Semitic head of American Border Patrol (ABP), a nativist group that uses high-tech sensors, infrared video cameras mounted on model airplanes, and ATV-mounted vigilantes to monitor, track down, and confront migrants on Spencer’s ranch along the Arizona-Mexico border. He’s held high-profile nativist gatherings on his ranch and played host to Shawna Forde, the Arizona Minuteman leader now sitting on death row for her role in the slayings of 9-year-old Brisenia Flores and her father during a 2009 home invasion. He also has his own record of run-ins with the law.

But somehow, none of this made it into “Border Battles.” Instead, the show presents a glowing portrait of Spencer as an American patriot risking his life to do a job the U.S. government refuses to.

“Extreme times can give rise to extreme measures,” booms a voiceover at the beginning of the show. “Glenn Spencer is the president and founder of the American Border Patrol. He believes the US government is failing to stem the tide of illegal immigration and the invasion of drug traffickers. Now, his mission is to stand sentinel on the border and report what he sees, even if that means placing his own life at risk.”

The 30-minute episode intersperses footage of Spencer cruising his ranch on an ATV and demonstrating his high-tech gizmos with “re-enactments” and dramatizations of dark-skinned men leaping from the backs of pickup trucks, aiming high-powered rifles and skulking about menacingly, all backed by music worthy of an episode of “24.”

Breaking for commercials advertising ATVs, rifle components and testosterone supplements (really), the show lionizes Spencer as a man “set on a personal crusade by the unchecked lawlessness he witnesses on the U.S.-Mexico border.” His views, the voiceover concludes, “are based on stark reality.”

Er, not really. In fact, Spencer is a vitriolic Mexican-basher who may have done more than anyone to spread the myth of a secret Mexican conspiracy to re-conquer the Southwest (an effort supposedly known as “la reconquista”).

He believes that “Jews do, in fact, control the media,” which they use to spread “clever pro-illegal alien propaganda.” And in the past decade, he’s had two run-ins with the law, both of which were based on paranoid fantasies.

In 2003, thinking he was hearing noises outside his Sierra Vista, Ariz., home – presumably the sounds of “illegal aliens” heading north – he grabbed a gun and started shooting into the dark outside. He managed to hit a neighbor’s garage, among other things, and was charged with four felonies. (The charges were eventually reduced to a single misdemeanor.)

In Feb. 2011, he was convicted of disorderly conduct, threatening and intimidation, and assault after he threatened to unleash his dogs on a man he took to be a drug smuggler because he was parked on the side of the road and talking on a cell phone at a supposedly “famous pick up spot.” The man turned out to be the son of a neighbor Spencer accuses of having a “religious vendetta” against him or possibly being involved in illegal activity himself. (The source of Spencer’s accusation of religiously motivated “hate” is that the neighbor and his son are Baptist, and some Arizona Baptist churches have outspokenly opposed Arizona’s draconian anti-immigrant SB 1070.)

The Outdoor Channel did not respond to requests for comment about its decision to showcase Spencer. Presumably, it doesn’t much care: After all, American Border Patrol isn’t the only radically anti-immigrant group to be featured on “Border Battles.’

A different episode of the show centers on Texas Minutemen President Shannon McGauley, a former bail bondsman whose group as recently as 2005 boasted ties to “Stormfront patriots,” apparently referencing the well-known white supremacist website. McGauley, whose group is listed as the Texas chapter of Jim Gilchrist’s Minuteman Project (American Border Patrol is listed on the Minuteman Project’s website as a “supporting organization,”), has also appeared on “Political Cesspool,” a screamingly racist radio show that has featured Holocaust deniers, white supremacists, and leading lights of the antigovernment “Patriot” movement.

None of this is even remotely hinted at in the blurb on “Border Battles’” website, which describes the Minutemen as a “civilian border watch organization” and McGauley as a “minuteman near El Paso TX” who has video of the “dramatic events” that unfolded when he “gets caught in a stand off with drug smugglers” and “foils them at every attempt.”

  • Matt

    God bless him. Private citizens do more than our us govt.

  • Sam Molloy

    Between the Government’s enforcement enhancements and the economy, illegal immigration from the south is supposedly now a “net zero” so this show is whipping up a non issue. They aren’t alone. FAIR has been running ads on FOX the Fake News Channel like they are a normal respectable organization. The way some states treat the undocumented that are living here is eerily similar to the start of Jewish persecution in early Nazi Germany.

  • greg

    what coloris he then thats your answer it speaks for his self the one that hired him knew his hatred,it really aint nothing new under the sun with a gun.Is it? I rest my case.

  • tyrone mixon

    Turn off the tv people.

  • James D’Angelo

    When you have a channel targeted at rednecks, you expect something like this.

  • PSzymeczek

    Ah, my little corner of the world! At least Glenn lost his lease at the Safeway shopping center here in town. It would not surprise me to find out that he pitched a burning object across his back fence last spring and started the Monument Fire.

  • http://twitter.com/AronL Aron

    Ruben,

    Considering the number of NRA shows on OLN, I think you may be correct. They do show hockey, however. So at least they have that going for them.

  • ruben

    why not the outdoor network…..isn’t this the channel where most of there shows consist of white men running thru the woods with rifles shooting anything that moves…its a safe bet to come to a conclusion that this channel panders to the white right.

  • Vet

    Carla,
    I know that you are upset by this. But lumping all vets together is one more way of dividing us. I am a vet and yes I have killed people in service. I am in a mindfulness practice and have vow not to take life and ease the suffering of living beings. All of us have killed on some level.
    This culture of hate is a cancer that must be stopped. But, targeting a group with a blanket statement like “wonder if he is a vet and how many he has killed?” (sic) will not help. I remember the people that I have killed every day as well as the men that I have lost to combat and suicide. Yes, I fit the stereotype that you foist upon these readers I was a stupid kid that should have known that killing would ruin my life in ways that you cannot imagine, but, most vets do not fit this and if they do narrow thinking ends the conversation before it bigins.
    Peace to you.
    TB

  • Concerned Citizen

    Interesting. I’ll pas on this one.

  • Erika

    the good news is that the Outdoor Network is one of those networks that have very few subscribers and the people who do have the network have plans with approximately 300 channels so it is highly unlikely that many people will actually watch this.

  • tami sue

    You could edit their wikipedia page to include this fact. I would if I knew how to do it!

  • Shadow Wolf

    What “job” specifically, won’t the U.S. government “refuses to do’???

    Under the Obama administration, ICE has deported more illegal aliens than previous administrations. Border Patrol states that illegal crossings are down significantly, than any other time. While they are still apprehending illegal border crossers, drug and human smugglers daily. These racist nativist dimwits should be praising the current President for his hard work on the enforcement of federal immigration laws. It is the “job” the nativist won’t do.

  • Carla

    wonder if he is a vet and how many he has killed?

  • Curtis Rivers

    To suppoort such a person with a TV show or any sign of approval should be reason for a business to be driven from the marked by unwillingness to watch or use their products. This is simply unacceptable.

  • Reynardine

    ¿Political Cesspool? ¿They admit it? ¡No poop!