The Southern Poverty Law Center has a right to call anyone a hate group. And so it does.
But it goes beyond the pale when journalists participate in the center's hateful activities by uncritically citing its "research" into and its "definition" of who and what qualifies as a hate group.
A journalist has done it yet again by blindly repeating the center's labeling of the Illinois Family Family Institute as a hate group. On Sunday, Aug. 6, the Chicago Tribune ran a story making that careless error, "Lawmaker slams trans student rights."
It's a nasty attack on Illinois state Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) for "being so far right" that she shared an op-ed from the Institute, "Christians Must Exit Government Schools." The article, by Kim Janssen, notes that the Institute is "considered an anti-LGBT hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center."
Umh, yes, the Institute espouses traditional family values and is culturally conservative. As are millions of Americans. It defends traditional marriage and objects to the invasion of pre-teen and adolescent girls' privacy by opening their locker rooms and showers to boys who are born males but of late identify as females.
But the Southern Poverty Law Center's definition of "hate groups" equates the Illinois Family Institute with Holocaust deniers, the Nation of Islam and 130 Ku Klux Klan groups. As well as the Aryan Nations Sadistic Souls, whatever the hell that is.
This is an exaggeration at best and defamation.
I'm not here to defend everything that the Institute says, although I am a cultural conservative who has defended traditional marriage and oppose the "right" of transgender people to invade the privacy of pre-teen and adolescent girls. Hang me for that if you will, but I don't give a flying fig. I'm immune to the same kind of routine attack that is made against the Institute.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, itself, is an extremist, far-left group that has appointed itself to guide all Americans into safe zones, protected from all that is evil, i.e. conservative. It boasts that it has driven 917 hate groups out from under their rocks. You can look them all up on the Center's "Hate Map." Yes, many of them are, in my opinion, hate groups. But never mind that the Hate Map is heavily weighted with conservative groups.
The Southern Poverty Law Center feeds the divisiveness that all Americans like to condemn, but ignores when they practice it themselves. For its high-handed, authoritarian and inaccurate portrayal of the Illinois Family Institute, the Southern Poverty Law Center has earned the label as a hate group.
And the many journalists who carelessly, gullibly or unequivocally pass on such defamations are their accomplices. But in Chicago, there are no media critics to point this out.