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

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.”


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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… )

Extremist Steve Sailer is Source for CNN’s ‘Black in America’ Series

Posted in Media Extremism by David Holthouse on July 25, 2008 - 2:42 pm

As part of its ongoing “Black in America” project, CNN posted a story to its website earlier this week titled “Could an Obama presidency hurt black Americans?” Credited to CNN correspondent John Blake, the piece quotes the wit and wisdom of Steve Sailer, identified only as “a columnist for The American Conservative magazine.”

Specifically, the CNN story quotes a column by Sailer first published last year in which he opined that Obama offers voters “White guilt repellent.”

“So many whites want to be able to say, ‘I’m not one of them, those bad whites. … Hey, I voted for a black guy for president,'” Sailer wrote.

What the CNN article fails to note is that in addition to writing columns and movie reviews for The American Conservative, Sailer is the founder of the Human Biodiversity Institute, a neo-eugenics online discussion forum where right-wing journalists and race scientists have promoted selective breeding of the human species. He also writes frequently for the anti-immigrant hate site, named for the first white child born in America, and runs a website,
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What’s in a Name? The Defamation of the National Council of La Raza

Posted in Anti-Immigrant, Media Extremism by Heidi Beirich on June 10, 2008 - 9:43 am

In a recent posting to National Review Online, long-time columnist John Derbyshire (right) attacked the nation’s largest Latino civil rights organization, the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), for the last two words in its name, which Derbyshire translated as “The Race.” With that, Derbyshire joined thousands of other Americans who use the organization’s name to claim — entirely without foundation — that NCLR is a race-based, supremacist organization.

Said Derbyshire: “The idea, as I had it explained to me, is that by blending the European race with the Mesoamerican, Mexico has brought forth a new race, the mestizo or bronze race, which is claimed to be superior to both the contributing races, I suppose by dint of hybrid vigor. This bronze über-race is ‘La Raza.’”

Next time, Derbyshire — who has described himself as a “racist,” albeit a “mild and tolerant” one — might want to consult a dictionary, or perhaps a linguist, before he goes public with his proposed translations of the Spanish language. If he had, he’d have learned that “La Raza,” in the context of the organization’s name, doesn’t mean “The Race” at all. In fact, the term is much more commonly translated as “the people” or “the community” and it is intended to be inclusive, encompassing the blending of European, African, and indigenous peoples in the Americas.

Derbyshire might even have paid a visit to NCLR’s website, which includes a nuanced explanation of the term: “While it is true that one meaning ‘raza’ in Spanish is indeed ‘race,’ in Spanish, as in English and any other language, words can and do have multiple meanings. Translating our name as ‘the race’ is not only inaccurate, it is factually incorrect. ‘Hispanic’ is an ethnicity, not a race. As anyone who has ever met a Dominican American, Mexican American, or Spanish American can attest, Hispanics can be and are members of any and all races.”

The NCLR site continues: “The term ‘La Raza’ has its origins in early 20th century Latin American literature and translates into English most closely as ‘the people,’ or, according to some scholars, ‘the Hispanic people of the New World.’ The term was coined by Mexican scholar José Vasconcelos to reflect the fact that the people of Latin America are a mixture of many of the world’s races, cultures, and religions. Mistranslating ‘La Raza’ to mean ‘the race’ implies that it is a term meant to exclude others. In fact, the full term coined by Vasconcelos, ‘La Raza Cósmica,’ meaning the ‘cosmic people,’ was developed to reflect not purity but the mixture inherent in the Hispanic people. This is an inclusive concept, meaning that Hispanics share with all other peoples of the world a common heritage and destiny.” ( continue to full post… )

Media Matters Report Further Debunks Dobbsian Myths

Posted in Anti-Immigrant, Media Extremism by David Holthouse on May 30, 2008 - 2:41 pm

Undocumented immigrants:

  • Commit a disproportionate number of crimes throughout the country.
  • Rely heavily on taxpayer-funded services while paying no taxes themselves.
  • Bring to America rare and nasty diseases, such as leprosy.

Sound familiar?

That could be because you’ve heard it all before on cable news, where derogatory myths about immigrants are regularly presented as fact.

Last summer the Intelligence Report revealed that several major cable news hosts, most notably CNN’s Lou Dobbs, were broadcasting discredited information as part of their ratings-grabbing anti-immigration polemics, in some cases relaying falsehoods that originated with white supremacists.

Now, a new report from the Media Matters Action Network further debunks the most pernicious of these rumors with statistics from respected sources, and offers a blistering criticism of three cable programs whose hosts — Bill O’Reilly, Glenn Beck and Lou Dobbs — never seem to tire of blaming illegal immigrants for various societal ills or demonstrating a reckless disregard for the truth.

“When it comes to this issue [of anti-immigrant rhetoric], cable news overflows not just with vitriol, but also with a series of myths that feed viewers’ resentment and fears, seemingly geared toward creating anti-immigrant hysteria,” states the introduction to Fear & Loathing in Prime Time. ( continue to full post… )

Once Again, Buchanan Cites Racist Sources

Posted in Media Extremism by Brentin Mock on May 4, 2008 - 12:25 pm

MSNBC cable television commentator and two-time presidential candidate Pat Buchanan has once again relied on white supremacist sources for inspiration and information. In his May 2 column “The Way Our World Ends,” Buchanan complains that people of European descent are being wiped out worldwide and even in their own backyards, where “[t]he Third World is coming to colonize the mother countries.” Buchanan bemoans the prediction that whites, who were some 28% of the global population in 1950, will be only 9% by 2060. “The Caucasian race is going the way of the Mohicans,” Buchanan laments.

And what brought on Buchanan’s gloomy mood? Apparently, he was greatly bothered by a new report put out in early April by the National Policy Institute (NPI), a white nationalist research group. Entitled “Global White Population to Plummet to Single Digit – Black Population to Double,” NPI’s research supposedly spells doom for the white “race.” In so many words, the report argues that by 2060, blacks and Asians will have whites on the run. This “status reversal” will lead to countries like Canada, the United States, New Zealand and Russia being “pressured to accept collectively hundreds of millions of refugees from India, and sub-Sahara Africa,” according to the report.

That thought has Buchanan mightily worried. “Hopefully, the peoples of Asia, Africa and the Middle East, who are about to inherit the earth as we pass away, will treat us better than our ancestors treated them,” he frets. ( continue to full post… )

Immigration Report Being Released Today Linked to White Supremacists

Posted in Anti-Immigrant, Media Extremism by Mark Potok on April 8, 2008 - 9:15 am

Last Friday, a highly conservative publication called Investor’s Business Daily (IBD) published an editorial on its website called “The Real Cost of Immigration” that previewed a report to be released today at the National Press Club — an analysis, as IBD noted, by one Edwin S. Rubenstein that is being published by The Social Contract journal. What IBD didn’t bother to tell its readers was the troubling truth about Rubenstein’s politics and those of his Michigan publisher.

According to IBD, Rubenstein’s report, “The Fiscal Impact of Immigration: An Analysis of the Costs to 15 Federal Departments and Agencies,” concludes that every immigrant to the United States costs taxpayers more than $9,000. That’s vastly more than other analyses have concluded, and no mention whatsoever is made of what most economists agree on —that immigrants, legal and otherwise, help grow the economy in ways that actually increase jobs for native Americans. But that’s no surprise, given where Rubenstein and his publisher are coming from.

The truth is that Rubenstein is a man who has written for years for a racist anti-immigration website called VDARE — short for Virginia Dare, said to be the first white child born in the New World. He also writes for the white supremacist National Policy Institute. Last spring, the institute released a report, prepared with Rubenstein’s help, that paints “a statistical and narrative portrait of the war on white America,” in the website’s words. Nicholas Stix’s introduction to the article describes the Supreme Court’s 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education ruling outlawing school segregation as “arguably the worse decision in the Court’s 216 year history.” He claims later civil rights legislation was unconstitutional. “[I]ntegration and the civil rights movement led directly to the destruction of great cities,” he concludes.

Rubenstein’s publisher has its own sordid story. Although you’d never know it from the IBD editorial, The Social Contract Press (which publishes The Social Contract, the journal where the new report appears) is well known for its racist publications. The press was started by nativist ideologue John Tanton and is run by his editor, Wayne Lutton, who has been on the board of advisors of the Council of Conservative Citizens, a hate group that describes blacks as “a retrograde species of humanity.” In 1994, Tanton republished an infamous racist novel, The Camp of the Saints, along with his wholehearted endorsement and a special afterword from its author saying “the proliferation of other races dooms our race, my race, to extinction.” The novel describes the “swarthy hordes” of Indian immigrants who take over France, send white women to “a whorehouse for Hindus,” and engage in a grotesque orgy of men, women and children. The immigrants are described as “monsters,” “grotesque little beggars from the streets of Calcutta,” and worse. Unconcerned, Tanton said he was “honored” to republish what he described as an important and “prescient” text. ( continue to full post… )

Neo-Nazi Informant Suggests Candidates Should Die

Posted in Media Extremism by Mark Potok on March 25, 2008 - 10:18 am

Hal TurnerLike a jackbooted Energizer bunny, Hal Turner just keeps on ticking. The New Jersey neo-Nazi, infamous for repeatedly proposing that certain of his enemies be killed, is now suggesting that all three presidential candidates should suffer a similar fate.

Despite a series of travails — a report in this space that he was allegedly a paid FBI informant, his “quitting” of the white power movement only to rejoin days later, and attacks from other white supremacists — Turner is gamely playing on.

And for him, that means issuing threats.

A few days ago, Turner wrote on his website that John McCain, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were all “traitors.” “If you think real Patriots like me are going to sit idly by while you turn our country over to such people, you are sadly mistaken. … Think I’m kidding? My audience includes the Ku Klux Klan, Aryan Nations, skinheads and Nazis. … The deadly serious kind.” Then Turner proceeded to recount how he once said that a federal judge who had ruled against a neo-Nazi group in a 2005 copyright case was “worthy of being killed” — and how the judge’s mother and husband were subsequently murdered in her home. “I hope,” Turner wrote, “I don’t have to start talking the same way about Clinton, McCain and Obama.”

Hatewatch first printed allegations that Turner was an FBI informant on Jan. 11. Although Turner had told supporters just a day earlier that he was leaving the racist movement, he responded by bringing his Internet radio show and website back to life and insisting the allegations were false. Since then, Hatewatch has confirmed through numerous knowledgeable sources that Turner was, in fact, a paid FBI informant, and that he had worked for the agency’s Newark, N.J., office for years. As reported here in January, experts in police procedure severely criticized the FBI’s use of Turner because he was clearly doing more to provoke violence than to contain it. ( continue to full post… )