Newspaper column: Bashing right-wingers for fun and profit, mostly profit

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) recently published a report loosely based on the standoff at the Cliven Bundy ranch in Bunkerville titled “War in the West: The Bundy Ranch Standoff and the American Radical Right.”

It was duly reported by the press without a smidgen of skepticism, as noted in this week’s newspaper column available on The Ely Times and the Elko Daily Free Press.

“The Bundy standoff has invigorated an extremist movement that exploded when  President Obama was elected, going from some 150 groups in 2008 to more than 1,000 last year,” the report declares breathlessly on its opening page, without an ounce of documentation or attribution. “Though the movement has waxed and waned over the last three decades, antigovernment extremists have long pushed, most fiercely during Democratic administrations, rabid conspiracy theories about a nefarious New World Order …”

More cameras than guns. (Reuters photo)

SPCL is a multimillion-dollar leftist organization built on direct marketing and scare tactics, having little to do with poverty or law. It touts itself as “a nonprofit organization that combats hate, intolerance and discrimination through education and litigation.” Yet it spreads hate and intolerance with vile innuendo and speculation. It also inflates its hate group count by counting every chapter in every state as a separate group.

In a press release announcing the “War” report, SPLC’s Mark Potok claims, “The Bundy ranch standoff wasn’t a spontaneous response to Cliven Bundy’s predicament but rather a well-organized, military-type action that reflects the potential for violence from a much larger and more dangerous movement.”

This conclusion is based entirely on an interview with a single person, 30-year-old Ryan Payne of Montana, who the report claims told “counter snipers” where to position themselves behind concrete and pavement barriers. Basically, as shown in photographs in the report and in numerous newspapers, a man with a rifle peeked between barriers on a highway overpass. In one photo there is one rifle and a half dozen cameras. No mention is made of the photo taken by Bundy family members of Bureau of Land Management snipers atop hills.

As for the claim that the support for Bundy was not spontaneous, the report contradicts its author by pointing out that Payne spontaneously drove through the night from Montana with a friend after becoming enraged by a YouTube video of BLM agents using a Taser on one of Bundy’s sons.

The standoff between the BLM and the armed supporters ended on April 12. The agency had shown up with hundreds of heavily armed agents to confiscate Bundy’s cattle, which had been grazing without permits on federal land in Gold Butte for 20 years.

Though the SPLC says 900 of Bundy’s cattle had been rounded up and placed in pens, media reports place the number at less than 500. SPLC also notes that the BLM packed up and left, citing a “serious concern about the safety of employees and members of the public,” not mentioning that the BLM had not secured any place to take the confiscated cattle and had no choice but to let them go, as Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie has confirmed.

The report also makes numerous redundant references to the presence at the ranch of Jerad and Amanda Miller — who later ambushed and killed two Las Vegas police officers and a civilian who tried to stop them — suggesting an ideological affinity. The report did not mention that the couple was told to leave the ranch or that they had also attended a leftist Million Mask March in Indiana.

SPLC’s definition of hate groups is broad, sweeping in groups that question amnesty for illegal immigrants and church groups that oppose gay marriage. None of the so-called hate groups on its list is on the left of the political spectrum. There are groups with the phrase tea party or patriot in their names but none with occupy or pro choice.

SPLC was founded in 1971 by direct mail marketer Morris Dees. According to the organization’s 2012 IRS report, the latest available, it had assets of more than $290 million, receiving more than $37.5 million in contributions and grants that year.

Writer Potok was paid $163,000, while Dees fetched more than $350,000, as did President and CEO Richard Cohen. Eight other staffers were paid between $100,000 and $200,000 each.

As for tolerance, Potok told a hate crimes conference in 2007, “Sometimes the press will describe us as monitoring hate crimes and so on … I want to say plainly that our aim in life is to destroy these groups, to completely destroy them.”

Tolerance, sweet tolerance.

Also read the column at Ely or Elko.

15 comments on “Newspaper column: Bashing right-wingers for fun and profit, mostly profit

  1. Winston Smith says:

    Unfortunately, far too many law enforcement agencies take the SPLC seriously. The infamous MIAC Report from a few years ago is probably the most egregious example of it’s handiwork:

    More on Dees:

    And this blogger is a leftist, BTW…

  2. Missed that second link. Wow.

  3. Athos says:

    Wow, is right!

    This stuff on Dees and his nazi organization, should be lead stories on all major news stations and publications until he’s forced to crawl back under the rock he came from!

    At least, the RJ had the plane and Israel’s war on the front page today.

    Pinocchio was too busy fund raising to pay serious attention, wasn’t he? Shades of Benghazi, wouldn’t you say?

  4. Winston Smith says:

    I thought it was funny that Baldwin was on the SPLC’s list, since he’s not really that radical. Of course, he had just run for president in 2008 under the Constitution Party, so that certainly raises your profile. He’s a pretty nice guy, BTW, I hung out with him for an hour or so during the campaign.

    It always cracks me up that if you stand up for original founding principles and against corrupt, unConstitutional federal behavior, that makes you “radical” and “anti-government”. The way the fedbots behave, eventually half the country will be considered “anti-government”, even a lot of those leftists that hate the perpetual warfare state.

    I wonder how many of us will end up on government lists? Ever heard of the FEMA Red List/Blue List? Or did we discuss that in a previous post here?

    War is Peace
    Freedom is Slavery
    Ignorance is Bliss

  5. Steve says:

    They bash conservatives for free over on the RJ blog.

    Looks like they are missing the bus!

  6. Athos says:

    I miss the RJ blog. But when they want my identity, I’m out.

    But it was fun tweaking Jerry S and Marky Mark! The problem is the same one petey has; namely, how do you defend the Utopian Party line? Even a brain-numb robot would have trouble giving Pinocchio a pass over the last 3 days.

    Right petey?

  7. Steve says:

    RJ uses Disqus.

    Anonymous posts are back.

  8. Athos says:

    Hmmm. Might have to check that out, again.
    Thanks, Steve!

  9. A.D. Hopkins says:

    Thanks for calling bullshit. Somebody needed to say it.

  10. Athos says:

    Heady stuff, Winston. Not sure how much to take as gospel, but explains much of what I’ve felt has been wrong with the GOP over the last 20 years.

  11. Winston Smith says:

    The RINOs are just the latest incarnation of the old “Rockefeller Republicans” of 50 years ago, and the Rockellers are long-time globalists. Even David Rockefeller admitted it in his memoirs.

  12. […] officers a bystander before killing themselves. The report fails to mention that the Millers were told to leave the ranch because they were crazy talking left-wing […]

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