"Liberal critics" call the AFA a hate group?

August 5, 2011

I enjoyed this Michael Kinsley post last year more than anything I'd read in a long time, because it speaks to a big frustration of mine: while (contrary to most blogger stereotypes) I appreciate the importance of reporting, I can't stand reading most straight news writing.

Again and again, complex issues of bias and fairness--what papers cover, whom they talk to, how they frame coverage--go unaddressed. Yet in the interest of avoiding bias at a more micro-level, convention demands that reporters meticulously avoid calling a spade a spade. Instead, they take a paragraph to explain that some people think a spade is a spade, while others reject this notion. It's excruciating.

Some commenters won't like the example I'm about to use--I'm looking at you, Anonymous, and also you, other Anonymous--so to be clear, I'm not suggesting that the New York Times's editors or reporters are favorably disposed to the American Family Association, which is sponsoring Rick Perry's prayer-themed political rally tomorrow. I'm saying only that ostensibly evenhanded copy like this in fact obscures more than it clarifies:

Though liberal critics call it a hate group, the [AFA] and [founder Donald E.] Wildmon are widely revered in conservative circles.

If you've never heard of the AFA, this sentence--and the whole article--will give you the impression that it's a mainstream conservative group. It isn't. It may be widely revered within certain religious-right circles, but within the broader conservative coalition it's merely tolerated--because a lot of the ideas its leaders push are pretty extreme.

And it's not just that Human Rights Campaign or MoveOn calls the AFA a hate group. The nation's foremost expert on hate groups, the Southern Poverty Law Center, has identified it as such based on careful investigation and a precise definition of the term. Sure, the SPLC's civil-rights-movement roots might place it broadly within the left (though hardly the most controversial part of the left in this day and age). But the group monitors left-wing as well as right-wing hate. It's a serious and credible authority on hate groups, not a liberal messaging shop.

I'm not sure I'd go so far as to always refer to the AFA simply as "the AFA, a hate group." But something like "the AFA, designated a hate group by the SPLC, which monitors hate groups of all kinds" would serve readers much better than this sort of "he said, she said" approach.


so the AFA is a hate group because they show historical facts

The AFA is a hate group because a blogger points out the historical record of nazi homosexuality?

Steve, I know you are only interested in promoting the liberal ideology by any means, but I can see how others might perceive your seeming ability to assign only the worst motives to groups of people as hatred or bigotry.

Some "Experts"

Considering that the SPLC's "definition" of a "hate group" is solely its own, (there is no legal definition for the term, which is why even the FBI doesn't track "hate groups"), it seems a little disingenuous to deem them as experts.

Also, the SPLC tends to be somewhat selective in its righteous outrage. The Boy Scouts of America have stated publicly for decades that gay men "are not moral enough" to be Scoutmasters and refuses to hire openly gay men as such.

Despite this blatant discrimination by a group that receives public funds AND whose sole purpose is to mold the minds and characters of millions of American boys, the SPLC has yet to deem the BSA an "official hate group." Why?

The BSA further states that "...duty to God is not a mere ideal for those choosing to associate with the Boy Scouts of America; it is an obligation.”

So when is an "anti-gay Christian hate group" NOT an "anti-gay Christian hate group"? The answer is $imple:

Many of the SPLC's mostly elderly donors were Scouts or the parents/grandparents of Scouts.

In short, linking the almighty donors to a "hate group" is bad for business. "Fighting hate" is all well and good until it cuts into the bottom line.


The most ironic (read: “hypocritical”) thing about the Southern Poverty Law Center is that NOT ONE of its top ten, highest paid executives is a minority.


In fact, according to the SPLC’s hometown newspaper, the Montgomery Advertiser, despite being located LITERALLY in the back yard of Dr. Martin Luther King’s home church, the SPLC has NEVER hired a person of color to a highly paid position of power in its entire 40 year history.

Some "experts"


This is entertaining. I'm not a member of the AFA but it's truly a sight to see liberals like Steve and the SPLC try to marginalize and truncate the free speech rights of conservative organizations (like the AFA) with which they disagree. In other scenarios, of course, (war protests, marriage redefinition, abortion, etc.) they would be sanctimoniously trumpeting free speech rights.

Is the modern SPLC an "expert" on hate groups?? Puh-leeeze. What's the last liberal hate group they identified? What's the tally of their self-identified liberal vs conservative "hate groups?"

Here's the truth: the SPLC has become prejudicial toward conservatives and has outlived it usefulness....if you want to know why it still exists just follow the money $$$$.

The previous liberal commenter, while employing the flawed reasoning inherent in much of postmodern liberalism, makes some good points.

But, back to Steve's column, to think that the media (despite Fox News and talk radio, which are still just a drop in the bucket compared to the totality of the media) are anything other than in-the-tank liberal is to deny reality.

Perhaps the most quantitative work ever done on media bias has been published by Dr. Tim Groseclose of UCLA. Those interested in getting facts might want to read his most recent book: Left Turn. http://timgroseclose.com/about-the-book/


These comments are a hilarious!
These durn LIbrals call the AFA a hate group just because they say Homosexuality was the root cause of the Holocaust? The AFA is a hate group just becuase it says all Muslims should be deported? The AFA is a hate group because they say that Native Americans were not morally qualified to keep their land and that Christians were right to take it away?

Uh... Yes they are a hate group.