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Op-Ed: “Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center,” by Journalist Taylor O’Neil

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Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center
Tyler O’Neil is the Senior Editor of PJ Media, and a conservative commentator who has written for numerous publications, including The Christian Post, National Review, The Washington Free Beacon, The Daily Signal, AEI’s Values & Capitalism, and the Colson Center’s Breakpoint.

PORTSMOUTH, OH –  The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is likened to a pack of Marxist wolves disguised as sheep – my opinion. Although, their corruption has been exposed, they continue their vile civil rights charade.

They traffic in this routine defamation that is extremely dangerous, that props up America’s cancel culture, that divides conservatives and liberals, that pits people against one another, and I would say most of their work is in that direction.”Taylor O’Neil

As stated by O’Neil, the SPLC needs to “drop their demonization, their defamation, and their lying to their donors.”

Founded in 1971 with the earnest goal of combating the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), the SPLC has been criticized in recent years for labeling conservative Christian organizations as hate groups and certain public figures as hateful White supremacists.

Reports of sexual harassment and racial discrimination within the SPLC preceded the resignations of co-founder Morris Dees and President Richard Cohen in 2019.

Albeit, I read O’Neil’s 2020 book, “Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center” because of the harm the SPLC has caused its targeted victims.

The Book’s Author:

Tyler O’Neil is the Senior Editor of PJ Media, and a conservative commentator who has written for numerous publications, including The Christian Post, National Review, The Washington Free Beacon, The Daily Signal, AEI’s Values & Capitalism, and the Colson Center’s Breakpoint.

The Book’s Purpose:

“Making Hate Pay” is the inside story of how the SPLC yielded to greed, intolerance, and corruption to become the richest “civil rights” organization in the world, and what its substantial influence means for free speech in America today.

  • How did a civil rights group dedicated to saving the innocent from the death penalty become a pernicious threat to America’s free speech culture?
  • How did an organization dedicated to fighting poverty wind up with millions in the Cayman Islands?
  • How did a civil rights stalwart find itself accused of racism and sexism?

The book is also an explanation as to why Corporate America, Big Tech, government, and the media are wrong to take the SPLC’s disingenuous tactics at face value, and the serious damage they cause by trusting an organization that has lost its way.

O’Neil provides an organized history via dates and happenings. The pages are rich in factual info about lawsuits, citations, and covert connections. It’s very well-researched.

The Book’s Content

  • Introduction: The Face of Hate
  • Chapter 1: All Hell Breaks Loose
  • Chapter 2: The Early History of Morris Dees and the SPLC
  • Chapter 3: The Corruption Emerges
  • Chapter 4: The Hate Group Strategy 
  • Chapter 5: A Shoddy, Politically Motivated List
  • Chapter 6: An Attempted Terrorist Attack
  • Chapter 7: Charlottesville and the SPLC
  • Chapter 8: The SPLC’s Impact
  • Chapter 9: Fighting Back

Excerpts from Book:

From the late 1970s into the early 1990s, the SPLC’s corruption emerged. At first, the organization raised more money than the staff thought it needed. Then, Morris Dees’s sexual exploits were revealed in an embarrassing divorce trial. In the late 1980s, the entire legal staff resigned in protest because Dees focused so much on the KKK, even though he realized it was largely a spent force. Most embarrassingly, the Montgomery Advertiser ran a devastating Pulitzer-nominated series on the SPLC’s corruption, including claims of racial discrimination.

Baltimore lawyer Glen Allen, who has tussled with the SPLC, went so far as to call it “the Harvey Weinstein of the nonprofits.”

In September 2017, forty-seven organizations wrote an open letter to the media, warning that “the SPLC is an attack dog of the political left” and should not be considered an unbiased hate monitor. “To associate public interest law firms and think tanks with neo-Nazis and the KKK is unconscionable, and represents the height of irresponsible journalism,” the letter warned. “All reputable news organizations should immediately stop using the SPLC’s descriptions of individuals and organizations…” 

In April 2019, sixty-seven nonprofit groups released another open letter to the media, emphasizing the racism and sexism scandal at the SPLC in March. “Today’s SPLC is aggressively anti-Christian and morally bankrupt—both inside and out. It attacks anyone who disagrees with its far-left agenda, smearing them with lies and grossly mischaracterizing their work.

All the while SPLC has also been imploding from within, with allegations of sex and race discrimination—which have hounded them for years—finally boiling over with the firing of Dees and the resignation of Cohen,” the letter read.

The SPLC may want to pretend nothing happened, but the racism and sexism scandal—and the accusation that the “hate group” label is a cynical fundraising scheme—emerge from an examination of the organization’s history and the history of its founder, Morris Dees.

“SPLC has lost all credibility. We call on all media, corporations, social media companies, and financial institutions to immediately stop relying on their discredited and partisan ‘hate’ and ‘extremist’ lists…” 

Watch a 25-minute video interview with O’Neil about his book.

What Others say about SPLC:

“The Southern Poverty Law Center is a hate-based scam that nearly caused me to be murdered,“ asserts a 2019 commentary in USA Today by Jessica Prol Smith of the Family Research Council.

“It was the type of violent incident that one could expect a group that purportedly monitors “hate,” like the Southern Poverty Law Center, to notice, research and decry,” Smith said. “In fact, we were on the center’s radar but for all the wrong reasons. The assailant acknowledged later in FBI testimony that he had selected our office precisely because the SPLC had labeled my employer a “hate group.”

In 2020, The Republican National Committee (RNC) approved a resolution “refuting the legitimacy” of the corrupt, discredited, leftwing smear organization known as the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).

In a 2016 survey, the Chronicle of Philanthropy found that no fewer than 63 of the organizations that SPLC identified as “hate groups” or “extremist groups” were actually IRS-approved charities.

Interesting characters linked to the SPLC include: George Soros and Barack Hussein Obama.

SPLC in 2023:

During a recent U.S. Senate hearing Senator Josh Hawley reveled that the FBI used Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) information to designate “traditional Catholics” as a terrorist risk.

My questions in 2023:

  • Has the SPLC weeded out their internal bullies, fearmongers, hatemongers, sexists, and racists?
  • Have the powerful people at the top or behind the curtain made sweeping changes?

I signed up to receive the SPLC’s newsletter around a year ago. And by what I have read and surmised, the SPLC hasn’t changed a bit – the leopard still has its spots.

As usual, do your own research, converse with others, use your critical thinking skills, and draw your own conclusions.

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