Conservative Leaders Release Open Letter to News Media Regarding Southern Poverty Law Center

SPLC mapA coalition of 47 conservative leaders and organizations released an open letter to news organizations on September 6, calling on the media to stop using data from the discredited Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) in Alabama. 

“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 letter stated.

“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,” the letter continued, referring to the man who entered the offices of the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C., five years ago, and shot and badly wounded its building manager, who stopped his intended killing spree.

U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen stated in federal court that Corkins targeted FRC and additional targets by using the SPLC website’s “Hate Map,” which shows the locations of organizations that it has labeled as “hate groups,” including dozens of mainstream conservative groups. 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.

According to the letter’s signers, SPLC “evolved from laudable origins” in the 1970s but has since become “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.”

“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,” the letter added. “All reputable news organizations should immediately stop using the SPLC descriptions of individuals and organizations based on the SPLC’s obvious political prejudices.”

Among the letter’s signers are Edwin Meese III, Ronald Reagan Distinguished Fellow Emeritus at The Heritage Foundation; Brad Dacus, President & Counsel of Pacific Justice Institute; Joe Farah, Founder & CEO of WND.com; Michael Farris, President, CEO & General Counsel of Alliance Defending Freedom; Tony Perkins, President of Family Research Council;Tim Wildmon, President of American Family Association; and Frank Wright, President & CEO of D. James Kennedy Ministries.

To read the full letter, click here.

By NRB Staff

Published: September 7, 2017

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