A coalition of 47 conservative leaders wrote an open letter to the mainstream media, warning them to be wary of the “hate maps” created by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a far-left advocacy group.
The warning comes five years after SPLC placed the Family Research Center on one of its maps, leading to Floyd Corkins targeting the FRC staff in an attempted murder before being stopped by law enforcement. Corkins confessed to FBI agents that he used the “hate map” as inspiration for the crime.
James Hodgkinson, who attempted to assassinate Republican lawmakers at a charity baseball game practice earlier this year, was connected to SPLC on social media.
The FBI had removed the SPLC from their “hate-watch” resource page in 2014, citing concerns with their organization.
When asked the purpose of Tuesday’s letter, FRC Senior Fellow for Regulatory Policy Chris Gacek explained to The Daily Wire, “I believe the 47 signers wanted to raise the concern that the SPLC is a partisan actor whose Hate Map these days often reflects its desire to defame its political opponents not cast light on organizations that are truly dangerous.”
When asked if the media would pay attention to it, he added, “Yes, they may not say so publicly, but we believe they will notice the broad array of signatories indicating that the media needs to pull back and re-think the way it covers certain political stories.”
The signers include President of the FRC Tony Perkins, Alliance Defending Freedom President and CEO Michael Farris, Director of Judicial Watch Robert Spencer, ACT For America Founder Brigitte Gabriel, Tea Party Patriots President Jenny Beth Martin, and a host of other conservatives wishing to represent their organizations to the mainstream media.
The letter says in part:
We are writing to you as individuals or as representatives of organizations who are deeply troubled by several recent examples of the media’s use of data from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). The SPLC is a discredited, left-wing, political activist organization that seeks to silence its political opponents with a ‘hate group’ label of its own invention and application that is not only false and defamatory, but that also endangers the lives of those targeted with it.
The fifth anniversary has just passed of the terrorist event for which the SPLC’s hate map and website were used to target its victims for political assassination. The following facts were established in the record of a federal court case. On August 15, 2012, Floyd Lee Corkins II entered the Family Research Council offices in Washington, D.C. and shot and badly wounded its building manager, Leo Johnson, who stopped his intended killing spree. According to his own statements to the FBI, Corkins intended to kill everyone in the building, and then go on to terrorize additional organizations.
We believe the media outlets that have cited the SPLC in recent days have not intended to target mainstream political groups for violent attack, but by recklessly linking the Charlottesville melee to the mainstream groups named on the SPLC website — those that advocate in the courts, the halls of Congress, and the press for the protection of conventional, Judeo-Christian values — we are left to wonder if another Floyd Lee Corkins will soon be incited to violence by this incendiary information.
That day, Corkins carried both the means to carry out this act of terrorism and a list of additional targets. The U.S. Attorney stated in federal court that Corkins targeted FRC and the additional targets by using the SPLC website’s ‘Hate Map.’ On February 6, 2013, Corkins pleaded guilty to three felonies, and became the first person convicted of violating the District of Columbia’s Anti-Terrorism Act of 2002.
To associate public interest law firms and think tanks with neo-Nazis and the KKK is unconscionable, and it represents the height of irresponsible journalism to do so. All reputable news organizations should immediately stop using the SPLC descriptions of individuals and organizations based on the SPLC’s obvious political prejudices.
You can read the full letter here.