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

He’s Back: Robert Stacy McCain and the Washington Times

Posted in Media Extremism by Heidi Beirich on March 10, 2010 - 3:14 pm

Robert Stacy McCain, a former key Washington Times editor who has suggested that “perfectly rational people” react with “altogether natural revulsion” to interracial marriage, apparently has returned as a free-lancer to the newspaper he left in January 2008. In a “Special to The Washington Times” article published today, McCain covers a congressional race in upstate New York involving a candidate with connections to the Tea Party movement.

A casualty of the housecleaning that occurred at the Times three years ago, McCain left the paper on his own accord after managing editor Fran Coombs, with whom he was close, was terminated (Coombs had his own connections to white supremacy).

Once identified as a member of the neo-Confederate hate group League of the South, McCain’s reporting while at the Times was always controversial. As editor of the “Culture Briefs” section of the paper, McCain used excerpts from racist publications including American Renaissance magazine and the anti-immigrant hate site VDARE.com. In fact, McCain may be the only mainstream newspaper reporter to have covered four American Renaissance conferences. Twice, he offered no description at all of the group he was covering, which is devoted to race science. Once, he said it was “critical of liberal positions on race and immigration.” Only in 2004 did he note that some viewed it as racist.

Breaching journalist ethics by reporting on causes he was personally involved in, McCain regularly quoted neo-Confederate activists favorably in his stories. In 2005, stories freelanced by McCain to the website of the conservative newspaper Human Events were scrubbed after that publication’s editor, Thomas Winter, was given information by the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Report about McCain’s racism. ( continue to full post… )

Sympathy from the Far Right for Limbaugh on His NFL Rebuff

Posted in Media Extremism by Larry Keller on October 21, 2009 - 9:31 am

Reading news accounts of the past week, you may have thought conservative radio commentator Rush Limbaugh was merely rebuked for his history of controversial racial comments when he joined a group making a bid to buy the St. Louis Rams. Actually it was something far more serious, according to right-wing writer and commentator Selwyn Duke. Limbaugh was the victim of a “lynching,” Duke wrote in an article posted on the John Birch Society website.

It’s hard to imagine an angry mob storming the gates of Limbaugh’s Palm Beach compound (market value, $48 million) and stringing him up from a palm tree. But twice Duke wrote that Limbaugh was lynched. And in a third reference, he conjured up the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings of 18 years ago, writing that Limbaugh was subjected to a “high-tech lynching.”

An estimated 4,743 people – nearly 73 percent of them black – were lynched between 1882 and 1968, according to the Archives at Tuskegee Institute. Still, Selwyn equates a grotesque and terrifying death at the end of a rope with robust debate over Limbaugh’s views, which Selwyn claims “are in fact very mainstream.”

“It’s quite a bit over the top,” says Hilary Shelton, director of the NAACP’s Washington bureau and vice president of advocacy and policy. [The organization took no position on Limbaugh’s Rams ownership ambitions]. “Lynching was one of the earliest forms of domestic terrorism. Not only was it used to wreak havoc and fear, but to kill. It was used to send a chill to other African-Americans. Whatever is happening to Rush Limbaugh, it certainly is overly inflammatory to call this a lynching.”
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Putting Glenn Beck to the Truth Test: He Flunks, Again

Posted in Media Extremism by Sonia Scherr on September 4, 2009 - 2:39 pm

Fox News commentator Glenn Beck sparked a firestorm in July when he declared on the air (though not on his show) that President Barack Obama possesses “a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture” and called him “a racist.” He seemed unchastened even after his own network distanced itself from his comments and advertisers began to flee his show, “Glenn Beck.” (Disclosure: Southern Poverty Law Center board member James Rucker is executive director of ColorOfChange.org, the organization that asked advertisers to boycott Glenn Beck.)

Now, Beck has issued a list of “reasonable questions for unreasonable times” that he wants his viewers and listeners to ask. “It’s vital that we all question with boldness, hold to the truth and speak without fear,” he says on his website.

Trouble is, many of the questions are based on faulty assumptions. Take the question about the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, better known as ACORN, a nonprofit social justice group whose work includes advocating for better housing. Beck asserts: “The stimulus package funneled billions of dollars to ACORN. How does giving billions of dollars to ACORN stimulate the economy?”

In fact, if Beck actually read the $787 billion stimulus bill, which Congress passed in February with the goal of boosting the economy, he’d learn that it makes no mention of ACORN. Just in case we missed something, however, Hatewatch consulted two nonpartisan sources: the St. Petersburg Times’ PolitiFact.com and the Annenberg Public Policy Center’s FactCheck.org. Both said it’s untrue that any money — let alone billions — is earmarked for ACORN. ( continue to full post… )

U.S. Extremists Banned From Entering the U.K.

Posted in Hate Groups, Media Extremism, Neo-Nazi, White Supremacist by David Holthouse on May 5, 2009 - 8:24 am

The BBC reported today that five American right-wing extremists were among 16 individuals banned from entering the United Kingdom since last October for reasons of “fostering extremism or hatred.”

According to a new report from the Home Office (the lead U.K. government department for immigration and passports), the five Americans and the reasons they were not allowed into the U.K. were:

• Stephen Donald Black, a.k.a. Don Black, former Alabama Klan leader and creator of the white nationalist online forum Stormfront, banned for “promoting serious criminal activity and fostering hatred that might lead to inter-community violence in the UK.”

• Erich Gliebe, chairman of the neo-Nazi National Alliance, for “engaging in unacceptable behaviour by justifying terrorist violence, provoking others to commit serious crime and fostering racial hatred.”

• Fred Phelps, Sr., and Shirley Phelps Roper, leaders of the anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church, for “picket[ing] the funerals of Aids victims and [claiming] the deaths of American soldiers are a punishment for US tolerance of homosexuality.”

• Michael Alan Weiner, a.k.a. Michael Savage, right-wing talk radio host, for “seeking to provoke others to serious criminal acts and fostering hatred.” The Home Office also noted that Savage’s “views on immigration, Islam, rape and autism have caused great offence in the US.”

Other individuals banned from entering the U.K. in the past six months include Muslim extremists, a Jewish militant and two Russian skinhead gang leaders.

DHS Report Provokes Lies, Slurs From ‘Mainstream’ Pundits

Posted in Media Extremism by Sonia Scherr on April 17, 2009 - 2:41 pm

From implying that undocumented immigrants were responsible for the mortgage crisis to promoting falsehoods about a brutal murder in Tennessee, syndicated columnist Michelle Malkin has never let the facts get in the way of her rants.

Now, in a column this week criticizing a U.S. Department of Homeland Security report on right-wing extremism, Malkin has made another utterly erroneous assertion: “The SPLC,” she wrote, “has designated the venerable American Legion a ‘hate group’ for its stance on immigration enforcement.” The claim rapidly spread to right-wing sites on the Internet and elsewhere.

In fact, the SPLC has never listed the legion as a “hate group” nor put it on any other kind of list. Intelligence Project Director Mark Potok on Thursday wrote Malkin and her syndicate to demand a retraction of the libelous statement. “Your assertion … amounts to reckless disregard of the truth,” he stated in an E-mail sent early Thursday. As of Friday afternoon, however, the SPLC had received no response. Malkin’s columns appear in major newspapers nationwide and are also published online.

In addition to including the misinformation in her April 15 column titled “You Might Be a Radicalized Right-Wing Conservative if…,” Malkin also proclaims the same falsehood in an item she posted the previous day on her blog. In it, she links to another blog called “This ain’t hell,” which she appears to have relied on for her “facts” — never mind that the blog doesn’t even get the SPLC’s name right. “This ain’t hell,” in turn, links to an SPLC blog post that doesn’t come close to asserting that the legion is a hate group. Instead, the story points out numerous misstatements and myths in a legion report on immigration enforcement. The legion later issued an updated report from which the most egregious mistakes had been removed.

Malkin and other right-wing media pundits are in a tizzy about the DHS memo, which they say defames veterans and conservatives generally as potential terrorists. In fact, the report — which identifies several economic and political factors contributing to a surge in rightwing extremism — does no such thing. It merely states that the department “assesses that rightwing extremists will attempt to recruit and radicalize returning veterans in order to exploit their skills and knowledge derived from military training and combat.” The SPLC separately investigated the issue and found that a significant number of white supremacists were joining the military to gain access to weapons and combat training. ( continue to full post… )

Reluctantly, Lou Dobbs Offers a Rare Apology for Nativist Rhetoric

Posted in Media Extremism by Mark Potok on March 19, 2009 - 3:39 pm

Question: What’s the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce?

A)    An organization that seeks “to foster Hispanic economic development and to create a sustainable prosperity for the benefit of American society.”
B)    An organization that “is interested in … Mexico’s export of drugs and illegal aliens to the United States.”

If you chose a), chances are you’re a perfectly sensible person with a reasonable familiarity with the issues and organizations of the day. After all, the Hispanic Chamber is well known as a relatively conservative, pro-business organization that represents the interests of more than 2.5 million Hispanic-owned businesses.

If you chose b), you’re almost certainly Lou Dobbs, the insult-spewing Latino-basher who hosts CNN’s “Lou Dobbs Tonight” five times a week.

Dobbs, of course, is known for regularly pushing defamatory falsehoods about undocumented immigrants — they fill one third of American prison and jail cells, they’re part of a secret Mexican plan to “reconquer” the American Southwest, they are largely responsible for a spate of 7,000 recent leprosy cases… Even when Dobbs isn’t hosting his own show, his fill-in hosts spew such racist propaganda as the lie about subprime housing loans going to 5 million “illegal aliens.”

But Dobbs may have outdone himself on March 10, when he launched into a furious tirade against President Barack Obama, who earlier that day gave a major speech on education reform from the Hispanic Chamber’s Washington, D.C., offices. ( continue to full post… )

Dobbs Fudges Numbers, Facts in Attack on SPLC

Posted in Media Extremism by Mark Potok on March 2, 2009 - 7:22 pm

Our old friend Lou Dobbs is at it again.

Last Thursday, after stories about our latest hate group count ran around the nation, Dobbs offered CNN’s viewers his own peculiar take. He started by sneering at the scores of “media organizations” that he said were “just lapping it up,” and then told his viewers that the Southern Poverty Law Center report — documenting an increase in hate groups in 2008 — “could be an outright distortion.”

That’s about the place where Dobbs, assisted by reporter Kitty Pilgrim, started his own series of distortions. (A little background for the uninitiated: Dobbs has been angry at SPLC, calling us “fascists” and all kinds of other cruel and unusual names, ever since we began to criticize his falsehoods about immigrants several years back. After a long exegesis of our battle with the host of CNN’s “Lou Dobbs Tonight,” New York Times financial columnist David Leonhardt concluded in print that Dobbs “has a somewhat flexible relationship with reality.” Dobbs had insisted on defending a false claim about immigrants and leprosy and was widely mocked as a result. Leonhardt continued: “The problem with Mr. Dobbs is that he mixes opinion and untruths. He is the heir to the nativist tradition that has long used fiction and conspiracy theories as a weapon against the Irish, the Italians, the Chinese, the Jews and, now, the Mexicans.”)

First, Pilgrim promoted me to “the director of the Southern Poverty Law Center,” a career leap also “reported” by Dobbs, who made me “the head” of SPLC — much, I assume, to the chagrin of my apparently former boss, Richard Cohen.

Then Pilgrim launched into a bizarre “report” in which she said the FBI has no definition of a “hate group” and, moreover, does not “monitor individuals or groups of individuals based on what they think or say.” Although both Pilgrim and Dobbs wore shocked expressions at that revelation — they apparently felt that if the FBI wasn’t “monitoring” the groups, then neither should the SPLC — anyone with a minimum of knowledge about federal law enforcement knows that agencies are prohibited from monitoring groups based on their political ideas. Only when evidence of a crime or planned crime is found can the agencies begin investigations of any kind. If the FBI indeed investigated groups without evidence of criminality, we would be the first to object. The COINTELPRO scandal of the 1970s showed what can happen when agencies like the FBI are allowed to “monitor” groups simply because of their ideas.

Pilgrim went on to accuse the SPLC of having an “utterly fuzzy” definition of a hate group because it relied on the group’s ideology, as Dobbs vigorously nodded his agreement. But neither suggested any groups that had been wrongly listed because of that definition or suggested an alternative definition. Was it the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan that should have been excluded? The National Socialist Movement? The Aryan Nations? Sons of Adolf Hitler, perhaps? We don’t know, because neither Pilgrim nor Dobbs would say.

Next, Dobbs and Pilgrim hauled out the FBI’s national hate crime statistics — presumably to show that the number of hate groups could not be going up if hate crimes were going down (although it’s well known that more than 95% of hate crimes are carried out by people who do not belong to hate groups). Those statistics run from 1992 to 2007, the latest available. But for some peculiar reason, Dobbs and Pilgrim chose to highlight the total number of incidents from just two years — 1995 and 2007. They then pointed out that hate crimes had actually decreased by about 4% in that period (they also bolstered their case a bit by falsely claiming that the 1995 number was 7,974 when it was actually 7,947). Why did they choose 1995 for their early number? Well, if they chose 1994, the number of hate crimes would have been 5,987 — and that wouldn’t have worked too well for their propaganda, seeing as how that would mean a 28.5% increase by 2007. In fact, every year before 1995 — 1994, 1993 and 1992 — would have produced increases when compared to 2007 instead of decreases. Go figure! ( continue to full post… )

Ideologues Call for Post-Election Militia Revival

Posted in Media Extremism by David Holthouse on November 19, 2008 - 4:31 pm

As the anti-Obama backlash continues to play out, with new reports of effigy lynchings, racist graffiti and other disturbing incidents surfacing daily, a number of voices on the far-right fringe are calling for a revival of the militia movement, a loose confederation of hyper-survivalist paramilitary groups that claim legitimacy under the Militia Clause of the Second Amendment.

Characterized by “black helicopter” paranoia and militant opposition to government regulation, especially concerning the purchase and possession of firearms, the militia movement has dramatically declined since peaking in 1996. Law enforcement crackdowns, arrests for weapons violations, and frustration among those waiting for the revolution that never came all contributed to that collapse.

But now, with the election of the nation’s first black president, some conspiracy theorists and fringe “Patriot” radio hosts are seeking to reverse that course by calling on their friends and countrymen to arm themselves, organize and head for the hills in preparation for a fast-approaching second Civil War. Their language is remarkably similar to that employed by the more notorious militia leaders of the 1990s.

“My fellow patriots, constitutionalists and citizens of the failing Republic, HELL is staring you in the eyeballs,” said Greg Evensen, a militia sympathizer and former Kansas state trooper whose essays and radio broadcasts are widely disseminated on apocalyptic Christian and militia websites, as well as the nominally mainstream right-wing Web forum NewsWithViews.

“We will no longer argue amicably about politics,” Evensen said. “Those of you who have anointed this socialist, Muslim sympathizing, gun rights hating, Mexican illegals embracing, abortion loving charmer POTUS [President of the United States] … I see you as my enemy. Am I picking a fight? Pretty much. Might as well, one’s coming down the street anyway. You have been warned.”

Evensen’s screed, which first appeared online Oct. 31, five days before the election, concluded with an outright call to arms: “American patriots you need to decide what your battle plans are. You cannot wait any longer. Are you stored up? Are you prayed up? Have you stayed up all night figuring it out? Have you decided that the time has come? Will you stand firm when they shut off your supplies? Will you resist in the cold and the dark? Will you go all the way to constitutional victory? Minuteman and militias were responsible for their own arms, ammunition and supplies. Can you muster with others and provide the essentials? Can you sleep with your back to a tree on cold, wet ground? Can you shoot and then seek good cover so you can survive another shot? When martial law is declared, can you and will you do these things or will you be rounded up by the hundreds of thousands each day? This is the new reality, friends.”

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FOX News Channel’s ‘Free Speech Activist’ is Infamous Racist Activist

Posted in Holocaust Denial, Media Extremism, White Supremacist by Heidi Beirich on August 7, 2008 - 2:13 pm

On Aug. 4, FOX News aired a segment about the Canadian prosecution of conservative author Mark Steyn for alleged anti-Muslim human rights violations. Steyn, the author of the No. 1 Canadian bestseller, America Alone: The End Of The World As We Know It, has had three complaints lodged against him for human rights violations by the Canadian Islamic Congress. Two cases have been dismissed, but the Human Rights Tribunal of British Columbia is still investigating a charge that Steyn’s work amounts to hate speech against Muslims.

Steyn’s book, which was serialized in the well-known Canadian newsmagazine Macleans, contends that Western democracies, particularly in Europe, may become fertile ground for Islamic extremists because of rapidly growing Muslim populations.

While there are many individuals and groups that think the prosecution of Steyn harms free speech in Canada — including PEN Canada and the Canadian Association of Journalists — Fox News correspondent Steve Brown chose to interview a decidedly odd source: Paul Fromm, who was very sparingly identified on the broadcast as a “Free Speech Activist.” That’s a pretty weak, not to say completely misleading, description of Paul Fromm. As anyone who lives in Canada or who has access to Google should know, Fromm is Canada’s most notorious extremist, whose views form a trifecta of hate: he’s a white supremacist, a Holocaust denier and an anti-Semite. And he’s got a history of extremism a mile long.

“What we are seeing is an effort by minority groups, including in this case radical Muslims, to shut down criticism and that’s what it is,” Fromm, who habitually mocks Muslims, once calling a Muslim woman “a hag in a bag” while participating in a conference put on by former Klansman David Duke, told FOX about the Steyn investigations. At a 2007 meeting of racists and Holocaust deniers in Atlanta, Fromm pulled the Muslim hate card again, labeling Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama “a crypto-Moslem of mixed parentage.”

Fromm

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Lou Dobbs Citing Extremists, Again

Posted in Anti-Immigrant, Conspiracies, Media Extremism by Heidi Beirich on July 31, 2008 - 3:37 pm

Lou Dobbs, the CNN host who has been frequently criticized for turning his program, “Lou Dobbs Tonight,” into a forum for anti-immigrant extremists, is at it again. In the past few months, Dobbs has aired six different reports featuring anti-immigrant activist Rick Oltman of Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS). The reports, all narrated by CNN correspondent Casey Wian, primarily discussed California’s budget woes, with Oltman blaming them on undocumented workers.

If Wian had conducted a simple Web search for Oltman, he would have dug up a laundry list of Oltman’s extremist activities. For example, Wian would have quickly found out that in 1998, Oltman, who was then the western regional representative for the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), traveled to Cullman, Ala., for a protest against a swelling local population of Mexican workers. The event was put on by the white supremacist Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), which “oppose[s] all efforts to mix the races of mankind,” and featured an unrobed Klansman burning a Mexican flag. In the CCC’s ad for the event, Oltman was described as a member of that group. There also is a photograph that has been available on the Web since last year of Oltman participating in a 1997 CCC conference panel entitled, “Immigration: Are We Being Overrun?,” which ran in the group’s in-house publication, Citizens Informer.

Aztlan map

Wian can’t claim ignorance of the CCC. In 2006, during a report that Wian was narrating on “Lou Dobbs Tonight” about a state visit by Mexico’s then-president Vicente Fox, a graphic appeared of “Aztlan,” the southwestern portion of the current United States that conspiracy theorists claim Mexico is secretly plotting to “reconquer” with the aid of “invading” Mexican immigrants. Wian joked as the image was aired: “You could call this the Vicente Fox Aztlan tour, since the three states he’ll visit — Utah, Washington, and California — are all part of some radical group’s vision of the mythical indigenous homeland.” CNN’s accompanying full-screen map depicting “Aztlan” was prominently sourced to the CCC, causing widespread criticism of Dobbs for relying on hate group material. A spokesman for Dobbs went on the record shortly afterward saying that the producer who had found and used the hate group map was “disciplined” as a result. ( continue to full post… )