Silicon Valley has enormous power over the flow of information that reaches people around the globe.
That’s why it’s vital for Americans to understand how tech giants can manipulate information, either intentionally or unwittingly, to advance a political agenda.
Now, 34 conservative leaders are banding together to call for tech giants Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, and Google to “cut ties” with the Southern Poverty Law Center.
The letter states in part, “It is now clear that the SPLC has proven to be a hate-filled, anti-Christian, anti-conservative organization and nothing more than a weapon of the radical Left, whose goal is to bully people into compliance with their ideology.”
As we’ve discussed on previous episodes of “Media Misses,” the SPLC is a far-left civil rights organization that has made wild claims about conservative organizations over the years, lumping them in with hate groups like neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan.
It has come under scrutiny after its founder, Morris Dees, resigned over accusations of discrimination and improper behavior.
The issue has garnered the attention of those in Congress as well.
Republican Sen. Tom Cotton has called on the IRS to look at the SPLC’s tax exempt status. He wrote in a letter to the agency:
Recent news reports have confirmed the long-established fact that the SPLC regularly engaged in defamation of its political opponents. In fact, the SPLC’s defining characteristic is to fundraise off of defamation.
The question also turns to media outlets as well.
Will they stop using this organization as an authoritative source?
Perhaps a turnaround is coming.
The New Yorker, for instance, recently ran a piece called “The Reckoning of Morris Dees and the Southern Poverty Law Center,” and acknowledged that the SPLC has shifted its focus from shedding light on actual, serious extremist groups to exaggerations for the purpose of money making.
And perhaps the media should be more skeptical of other similar groups and flawed studies about rising hate crime that simply fit a narrative they want to push.
As Robby Soave wrote in Reason:
When it comes to misleading hate crime data, the SPLC is far from the only offender. Many in the media have exaggerated a finding by the Anti-Defamation League that anti-Semitic hate has increased 57 percent under Trump. (Bomb threats made by an Israeli teenager were largely responsible for the perceived increase: anti-Semitic assaults actually decreased substantially.) The FBI’s hate crime data has also been widely mischaracterized.
Hopefully, tech giants and media outlets learn a lesson from the SPLC mess and stop using it to malign Americans as a whole.