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Conservative Movement Releases Open Letter to the News Media: Beware of the Southern Poverty Law Center
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Family Research Council (FRC) today joined a coalition of 47 conservative leaders and organizations in releasing an open letter to news organizations, calling on the media to stop using data from the discredited Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).
The SPLC has recklessly labeled dozens of mainstream conservative organizations as “hate groups.” SPLC’s labeling of FRC as a “hate group” was connected in federal court to an act of domestic terrorism committed five years ago at FRC’s Washington headquarters by Floyd Corkins. Corkins confessed to the FBI that he used SPLC’s “hate map” to choose FRC as a target for violence. More recently, James Hodgkinson, the attempted political assassin of House Majority Whip, Rep. Steve Scalise and many other Republican members of the U.S. House and Senate, was discovered to have “liked” the SPLC on Facebook.
The letter reads 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.”
To read the full letter, please see: http://downloads.frc.org/EF/EF17I05.pdf