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

Sean Hannity Holds Absurd Debate Between Bigots Pam Geller and Anjem Choudary

Posted in Anti-Muslim, Media Extremism by Hatewatch Staff on May 7, 2015 - 11:22 am

choudaryfbLast night, Fox’s Sean Hannity, in a clear ploy to boost his ratings, invited Islamophobe Pamela Geller on his show to debate the UK-based Muslim extremist, Anjem Choudary.

The ten-minute “debate” descended into little more than a shouting match between Hannity and Choudary – a man who has praised the 9/11 attackers and claims he would renounce his British citizenship to live under ISIS rule. Over the past decade, Choudary’s Al-Muhajiroun network (also known under different names) is responsible for radicalizing countless Muslims in the UK. A 2013 report by the anti-racist organization HOPE not hate, identified over seventy people linked with Choudary’s network who have been convicted of terrorism charges or who have participated in suicide attacks. The report also found that “al-Muhajiroun-connected groups across Europe have sent between 200-300 people to Syria, making it the largest single recruiting network in Europe.”

Choudary told Hannity that he believes Muslims who leave their faith should be subject to capital punishment, and restated his belief that gays and lesbians who “do the act publicly” in front of witnesses should also be subjected to the death penalty.

Geller, the founder of a number of organizations listed by the SPLC as hate groups, used the debate to continue playing the victim – blaming “jihadis” for making the attack at Geller’s Mohammed cartoon contest in Garland, Texas, a “flashpoint.” Geller also claimed she has had to increase her security because President Obama “created an environment that raised the stakes on this” – before citing a previous anti-Muslim event she hosted in 2012 that took place without incident. On a previous appearance on Fox earlier this week, Geller absurdly compared herself to civil rights activist Rosa Parks.

Hannity’s debate not only gave a platform to two extremists, but it also, more disturbingly, succeeded in making Pamela Geller sound rational when compared to Choudary’s rants. The mainstreaming of hate is a very dangerous thing that has very real consequences and Hannity and Fox News should be taken to task for this move. No matter how either figure fared on prime time last night, the fact remains that both Geller and Choudary represent two sides of the same racist coin and giving these figures a platform to express their bigoted views tarnishes efforts to build a more inclusive democracy.

SPLC and Bill O’Reilly: More Dishonesty From the Fox Anchor

Posted in Media Extremism by Mark Potok on February 25, 2015 - 2:16 pm

O'Reilly-Factor-logoEditor’s Note: In light of the building controversy over the truthfulness of Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, who has been accused of lying about reporting from a “war zone” and about hearing a friend of Lee Harvey Oswald commit suicide, Hatewatch has decided to republish a Feb. 27, 2014, post about the host of “The O’Reilly Factor.” The post describes two encounters between O’Reilly and Southern Poverty Law Center Senior Fellow Mark Potok, along with the details of a completely fictitious story aired by O’Reilly in 2007 that claimed the nation was being terrorized by gangs of pink pistol-toting lesbians.

Oh, Really, Bill? Once Again, O’Reilly Can’t Admit a Mistake

A week ago today, I went on CNN’s “Erin Burnett OutFront” show, where I was asked if anti-black racism was on the rise. I answered in what seemed to me a calm way, relying on actual research rather than offering a mere opinion.

“I think the best data shows that in fact anti-black racism has risen over the last four or five years,” I told Burnett, according to her website. “There’s polling that shows that both implicit and explicit anti-black attitudes among American whites have gone up quite significantly between 2008 and 2012, to the point where now more than half of white Americans have these anti-black attitudes.”

Over at Fox News, that didn’t go over so well with Bill O’Reilly. Here’s what O’Reilly said on “The O’Reilly Factor” the very next day, according to an E-mail his producer just sent me with the “official” transcript of the show: “No, it’s simply not true, all right. We looked at the AP study that Mr. Potok cited and it’s not even close to being true. So, we suggest that Mr. Potok reread the study and stop demonizing white America for being racist because that’s insane. There are racists — every color, every creed. But to the [sic] zero in that, somehow, in America, white people are becoming more anti-black when you don’t even read the study properly.  I want everybody to go to the Associated Press and punch it up, pinhead of the week, all right.” And he designated me as his “Pinhead of the Week.”


Not even close to being true? Let’s check in first with the original 2012 report from The Associated Press, which commissioned the poll that was conducted by researchers from the University of Michigan, Stanford University, and the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago.

The AP story reporting the results was headlined, “The Big Story: AP Poll: Majority harbor prejudice against blacks.” And here’s the bottom line under that unambiguous headline: “In all, 51 percent of Americans now express explicit anti-black attitudes, compared with 48 percent in a similar 2008 survey. When measured by an implicit racial attitudes test, the number of Americans with anti-black sentiments jumped to 56 percent, up from 49 percent during the last presidential election.”
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Conspiracy Theorists: Isaac Caused by God, Gov’t, or Maybe Chemtrails

Posted in Antigovernment, Conspiracies, Media Extremism by Leah Nelson on August 29, 2012 - 10:46 am

Hurricane Isaac has inconvenienced a lot of people.

Many thousands of Gulf Coast residents have boarded up windows and sought shelter inland. And many others are now facing the prospect of cleaning up and rebuilding flooded homes and businesses.

But the inconvenienced people we’ve been hearing about most are the pundits and politicians who gathered in Tampa this week for the Republican National Convention. ( continue to full post… )

Tally Grows of Viewers Moved to Violence by Beck’s Rants

Posted in Extremist Crime, Media Extremism by Leah Nelson on December 1, 2010 - 4:22 pm

Through countless diagrams and diatribes, chalk-wielding Fox News commentator Glenn Beck has made it his mission to inform his audience that left-wing progressives are purportedly on the brink of revolution. Many of Beck’s fans take him seriously. In the past two years, at least three have decided the best response to his warnings is violence.

Kenneth B. Kimbley Jr. of Spirit Lake, Idaho, is the latest to face prison time for interpreting Beck’s rants as a call to action.

Kimbley claims to be the leader of the Brotherhood of America Patriots, an extreme-right militia whose mission, he says, is to “resist in the event the government started rounding up the patriots” and to stand up in the face of foreign invasions or societal breakdowns. (Authorities believe Kimbley’s group was tiny.) At the time of his arrest in July, Kimbley had 20,000 rounds of ammunition, a stock of firearms, and materials he planned to use to construct grenades, according to court documents.

According to the Spokesman-Review of Spokane, Wash., Kimbley’s lawyer described her client as a man with strong political views who posed no real danger to society. “In fact, everything said by Mr. Kimbley is no different than what his idol, TV commentator Glenn Beck, typically states on the air,” public defender Kim Deater wrote in court papers.

Byron Williams and Richard Poplawski, also Beck fans, got a lot farther in their alleged antigovernment actions before being caught. ( continue to full post… )

Glenn Beck: A Quarter of Americans May Face Starvation

Posted in Media Extremism by Leah Nelson on November 12, 2010 - 4:13 pm

Cranking up his doomsday predictions to a new fever pitch, Glenn Beck this week warned that by January some 75 million Americans could be starving.

“[B]race yourself. We went to two or three experts yesterday,” the Fox News Channel host said in his Wednesday radio broadcast. “[O]ne of them said that by next year a quarter of this nation will not be able to afford food. … [I]s it going to happen? At some point, yes. When? I don’t know. I just ask you to please prepare. … Experts are now telling me that it’s happening next year.”

Beck, who for years has counseled listeners to hoard food, has long been warning that a shortage could be right around the corner — just one of many dire predictions, typically related to government malfeasance or related end-times scenarios, that have made Beck a hero of much of the radical right. Now he’s suggesting that the scary corner could be a mere six weeks away. ( continue to full post… )

9.12 Project Paranoia: Obama Wants to See You… Naked!

Posted in Antigovernment, Conspiracies, Media Extremism by Alexander Zaitchik on October 18, 2010 - 7:28 am

Unsurprisingly, Glenn Beck’s 9.12 Project has absorbed much of its founder’s famous paranoia. Based on Beck’s fevered lectures and paid endorsements, legions of 9.12’ers have eagerly bought up overpriced gold coins, non-hybrid seeds, and lots of ammo for use in 9.12 Project practice shoots. But not even the most skeptical and bemused observer of 9.12 culture could have seen the latest trend which may see 9.12’ers stocking up on an unlikely survival tool in preparation for the coming Obamapocalypse: very thick underwear.

On his Sept. 27 show, Beck found time in between exercises in connect-the-dots conspiracizing to discuss something called the Z Backscatter Van (ZBV), a mobile X-ray scanning device produced by the Massachusetts firm American Science & Engineering. After reading about the product in Forbes, Beck was confident that the Obama Administration had ordered intelligence and law enforcement agencies to purchase this technology — which can determine from a distance the general contents of parked cars and duffle bags — with nefarious ends in mind.

“They’re using them now in your neighborhoods,” warned Beck. “And the Obama administration won’t say exactly why we’re buying their vans and driving them down our streets.” ( continue to full post… )

Fox News Host Embraces Conspiracist With Race War Theory

Posted in Anti-Latino, Conspiracies, Media Extremism by Leah Nelson on October 15, 2010 - 3:37 pm

Gravelly voiced conspiracy theorist Alex Jones touts himself as one of the few daring souls willing to tell the “truth” about 9/11 being an inside job, the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s plans to intern dissidents in “death camps,” and the “New World Order” plot to exterminate 80% of the world’s population. The Austin, Texas-based radio host suggests that he is a lone voice “in the wilderness” of a corporate media too cowardly to tell the truth about looming disaster.

But at least one member of that media has shown Jones nothing but love. Judge Andrew Napolitano, senior judicial analyst for Fox News and host of the Fox Business program “Freedom Watch,” calls Jones a “dear friend” who is “doing more than anybody I know” to “educate the public” with “courage and fearlessness.” Jones responds by calling Napolitano the “best person” on national TV. Last Friday, according to liberal watchdog Media Matters for America, Napolitano was on Jones’ show for at least the sixth time, and promised to soon bring Jones on to “Freedom Watch,” which he announced was expanding from the weekend to weekdays.

Maybe they’ll get a chance to discuss a Jones theory that’s a little more racially charged than much of his usual fare: a purported secret plan on the part of undocumented Mexican immigrants to murder all whites over 16. ( continue to full post… )

Report: Would-Be Terrorist Inspired by ‘Schoolteacher’ Glenn Beck

Posted in Extremist Crime, Media Extremism by Alexander Zaitchik on October 11, 2010 - 3:44 pm

The media watchdog Media Matters for America today released audio of an interview conducted with Byron Williams, the would-be terrorist who last July was arrested after a shootout with cops on his way to San Francisco, where he allegedly planned to kill employees at the offices of the ACLU and the Tides Foundation.

The interview and the accompanying article, by Pacifica Radio producer John Hamilton, illuminates the role Fox News and specifically Fox host Glenn Beck played in turning Williams’ attention toward the groups and convincing him that they were at the center of a vast plot to destroy the country.

“I would have never started watching Fox News if it wasn’t for the fact that Beck was on there,” Williams tells Hamilton. “And it was the things that he did, it was the things he exposed that blew my mind.” ( continue to full post… )

Author Interview: Journalist Probes ‘Backlash’ Under Obama

Posted in Media Extremism, White Nationalism by Larry Keller on August 30, 2010 - 12:06 pm

After Barack Obama’s 2008 election as the nation’s 44th president, the Tea Party movement sprang up, as did increasingly shrill assertions that the president was a socialist, a communist, a Muslim and more. Gun-rights advocates fretted that the new administration would impose draconian gun controls, while others insisted that the president wasn’t born in America and therefore was in office unlawfully.

Philadelphia Daily News senior writer and Media Matters for America senior fellow Will Bunch decided to investigate what gave rise to this vociferous movement. He traveled throughout the country, attending Tea Party and other conservative gatherings and interviewing activists. He talked to people such as right-wing Georgia congressman Paul Broun and Oath Keepers founding member Celia Hyde. He went to the semi-annual Knob Creek Machine Gun Shoot in Kentucky and to Phoenix, the epicenter of the nativist anti-immigration movement.

What Bunch learned is the subject of his third book, The Backlash: Right-Wing Radicals, High-Def Hucksters, and Paranoid Politics in the Age of Obama, which goes on sale on Tuesday. He spoke to Hatewatch on the eve of the book’s release: ( continue to full post… )

Shirley Sherrod and the Right: A Day That Will Live in Infamy

Posted in Media Extremism by Mark Potok on July 21, 2010 - 12:00 pm

The entire Shirley Sherrod affair is so disgusting, such a stomach-churning episode of right-wing lies, propagandists posing as “journalists,” and craven political cowardice and gullibility, that it’s hard to know who to be most enraged at.

Andrew Breitbart, a particularly vile propagandist of the American right who presented a severely edited videotape of a speech by the Agriculture Department official to falsely label her an anti-white racist? Fox News, several of whose miserable excuses for journalists relentlessly plugged the entirely false story before and after Sherrod was fired? Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who had a minion call Sherrod on a cell phone and insist that she pull over to the side of the road and text in her resignation before any of the relevant background facts about the “scandal” emerged? The White House, which, apparently frightened of appearing in any way linked to black racism, stood by the forced resignation even when it became clear that Sherrod’s speech was nothing like what Breitbart suggested? Even the NAACP acted poorly in this sorry episode, saying it was “appalled” by Sherrod’s words and later “concurring” with her firing. (To its credit, the civil rights group quickly recognized its error, retracting its comments yesterday and saying it had been “snookered” by Breitbart and Fox’s falsehoods.)

Here’s the story in brief, for those few people who still don’t know about it. On Monday, Breitbart — the same loathsome character who publicly called Ted Kennedy a “pile of human excrement” a few hours after the senator’s death — aired a video of Sherrod speaking to an NAACP banquet in Georgia last March. In his edited version, Sherrod is shown talking about initially not wanting to help a white man who was facing the loss of his farm because of her anger toward white racists. But the tape presented by Breitbart, who was furious about the NAACP’s recent criticism of racism within the ranks of the Tea Parties, left out the crucial conclusion of what was really Sherrod’s tale of redemption — that in the course of the 1986 case she was discussing, she came to realize that “the struggle is really about poor people,” and that her anti-white feelings were wrong. She said the case changed her entire outlook. (And in fact the farmer and his wife were all over the media yesterday, saying that Sherrod had saved their farm, was a fine and caring woman, and should get her job back.) and Fox Nation, both parts of Fox News, immediately picked up Breitbart’s fairy tale and began plugging it, as did Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly (who demanded Sherrod’s resignation in taped comments run after she quit) and a number of other right-wing media outlets. (Many of these reports, following Breitbart, claimed that Sherrod’s actions in the 1986 case had occurred while she was an Agriculture employee — a complete falsehood.) That prompted Vilsack to have her thrown out of her job as the department’s director of rural development in Georgia (to the applause of an array of Fox hosts and guests) — an act that Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen rightly described today as pure political “cowardice.” Vilsack didn’t bother to hear Sherrod’s side of the story first, and he didn’t watch the full videotape. Incredibly, even as the true story began to emerge, Vilsack said he was sticking by Sherrod’s ouster, because, “rightly or wrongly,” perceptions about her comments could make her job more difficult. Then, early this morning, the Associated Press quoted an unnamed White House official saying President Obama had been briefed on the situation but was supporting Vilsack’s decision.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen this kind of wilting of White House officials under pressure from the political right. They fired Van Jones, a White House environmental advisor, after Fox’s Glenn Beck made false claims that he was a “black nationalist” and former “radical communist” who was using green jobs as a form of “stealth reparations.” They repudiated an accurate 2009 Department of Homeland Security report that was leaked and then attacked by right wingers for supposedly defaming conservatives — a charge that was patently false. ( continue to full post… )