After the white nationalist protests in Charlottesville, Va., CNN and MSNBC gave a lot of airtime to an organization that labels mainstream conservative groups as “hate groups.”
CNN and MSNBC both used statistics from the Southern Poverty Law Center and had SPLC employees on their shows to talk about hate groups in the United States.
While SPLC tracks real hate groups such as the Ku Klux Klan, the Aryan Brotherhood, and the Westboro Baptist Church, they also tend to designate mainstream conservative politicians and groups on their lists of “extremists.”
For example, the SPLC has included Sen. Rand Paul and HUD Secretary Ben Carson among their lists of “extremists.” According to their website, right-wing libertarianism is an “extremist ideology.”
Christian conservative groups, such as the Family Research Council, which follows Christian teachings on same-sex marriage, and the Alliance Defending Freedom, which provides legal support on religious and academic freedom cases, have been labeled as “hate groups” by SPLC.
In 2012, a terrorist opened fire in the lobby of the Family Research Council and later said he wanted to “kill as many people as possible” and was inspired by SPLC’s “hate map.” SPLC declined to remove the FRC from their list of hate groups.
The SPLC also inflates the number of hate groups they identify by counting individual chapters of national or regional groups. For example, the “American Nazi Party” was listed six times in their 2013 count of hate groups. The total number of hate groups declines significantly when filtering out the repeats.
Nonetheless, CNN and MSNBC have given a platform to their leaders and to their flimsy statistics on hate in America.