Legacy media outlets are parroting a leftist group that smeared concerned moms and dads, putting parental rights organizations on a “hate” map alongside chapters of the Ku Klux Klan.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, which gained prominence by suing Klan groups into bankruptcy in the 1980s, has long weaponized that history by branding mainstream conservative organizations “hate groups” and mapping them with the Klan. The SPLC expanded that effort Tuesday, adding Moms for Liberty, Parents Defending Education, No Left Turn in Education, and many others to its “hate map.”
The SPLC claimed schools are on the “receiving end” of “ramped up and coordinated right-wing attacks,” completely ignoring the recent leftward lurch in education that inspired the parental rights movement in the first place. Many parents are expressing outrage over “Drag Queen Story Hour,” pornographic books in school libraries, and schools encouraging kids to hide gender transitions from their parents.
Yet the SPLC demonized concerned parents as an “anti-student inclusion movement.” The SPLC drew a connection between parental rights groups and the “uptown klans” of the 1950s, which opposed Brown v. Board of Education, the landmark 1954 Supreme Court ruling that led to the racial desegregation of schools. Susan Corke, director of the SPLC’s “Intelligence Project,” said groups like Moms for Liberty are “rooted in age-old white supremacy.”
As I wrote in my book “Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center,” the SPLC is no neutral arbiter of hate. It has a long history of carrying water for Antifa and Black Lives Matter, and it ignores antisemitism among Muslims. The SPLC does not report on Ruth Sent Us or other pro-abortion groups that have targeted pro-life pregnancy centers for vandalism and firebombing in the past year.
In fact, a former employee said the SPLC’s “hate” accusations are a “highly profitable scam” aimed at bilking Northern liberals by exaggerating hate. The SPLC has formally apologized to Ben Carson after branding him an “extremist,” and it paid $3.375 million to a Muslim reformer whom it branded an “anti-Islamic extremist.”
A terrorist used the SPLC’s “hate map” to target the Family Research Council for an attempted mass shooting in 2012. While the SPLC condemned the attack, it has kept the council on its map ever since.
In 2019, the SPLC fired its co-founder amid a racial discrimination and sexual harassment scandal tracing back decades. It currently faces a defamation lawsuit that has made it to the crucial phase of discovery, in which the SPLC will have to hand over internal documents.
Yet legacy media outlets reporting on the SPLC’s latest “Year in Hate and Extremism” report for 2022—published with an updated “hate map” Tuesday—trumpeted the attacks on parental rights groups without acknowledging the SPLC’s own enormous shortcomings.
MSNBC host Nicolle Wallace invited SPLC President Margaret Huang on her show to speak about the report, and did not once ask a question about the SPLC’s scandals.
“Extremism has seeped deeper, and perhaps more opaquely, into the fabric of American life,” Wallace said, citing the report. She did not push back when Huang said the groups “generally make our school boards miserable in seeking to provide an inclusive education for all.”
Referencing parents’ outraged criticism of biological males competing against women in sports, Wallace asked Huang to discuss “the rise and the platforming of hatred toward the trans community.”
Rather than acknowledging any reason behind the outrage, Huang branded opponents part of a “far-right ideology,” even though many on the Left have also expressed concern about fairness in women’s sports.
After Huang spoke, Frank Figliuzzi, former FBI assistant director for counterintelligence, praised the SPLC report and compared the parental rights movement to the KKK.
He argued that after the FBI and the Justice Department went after the KKK, “they took off their hoods and their sheets and they put on suits and ties, and they went local, and they ran for office. So, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen this going local, mainstreaming of hatred. We’ve seen it before, and we see it now with people who truly are driven by hate and deception, running for school board and elective office.”
National Public Radio hosted a segment on the SPLC report, specifically the attack on parental rights groups such as Moms for Liberty.
NPR’s domestic extremism correspondent, Odette Yousef, broke down the report, noting that Florida moms launched Moms for Liberty to oppose stringent COVID-19 pandemic rules. She went on to frame opposition to critical race theory, transgender ideology, and sexually explicit books in school libraries as pushing back “against inclusive curricula about black history, black authors, and gender identity,” and getting “books banned from classrooms and libraries.”
Yousef cited the SPLC’s accusation that Moms for Liberty is an “anti-student inclusion group,” and repeated the SPLC’s claim that the group has “parallels with segregationist parent groups that grew in the wake of the Brown v. Board of Education decision of the 1950s.”
NPR cited an SPLC researcher who claimed that “the group’s work undermines inclusive democracy and the public education system as a whole.”
To its credit, NPR did mention a Moms for Liberty statement contesting the SPLC attack. Yet that brief mention pales in comparison to the amount of time NPR spent in summarizing the SPLC’s attack.
“Their co-founders say that the mission continues to be, quote, ‘empowering parents’ and that they reject labels such as ‘hate group’ and ‘bigoted,'” Yousef said.
NPR did not mention the SPLC’s scandals, nor the defamation lawsuits it faces.
USA Today’s Will Carless also reported on the SPLC attack, zeroing in on Moms for Liberty.
To his credit, Carless did note that “the SPLC has also been criticized for designating as extremist some groups that argue they simply take a political position, and has defended itself in lawsuits, including from immigration policy groups it has designated as anti-immigrant hate groups. (The organization also is currently fighting a lawsuit from Gavin McInnes, who founded the Proud Boys and who has argued the SPLC’s hate-group designation harmed his career.)”
Yet Carless framed Moms for Liberty’s efforts this way: “They have fought against curriculums that teach about America’s racist and violent history, and have more recently taken aim at any educational efforts to teach children about LGBTQ issues. To attract attention and seek new followers, groups like Moms for Liberty promote the false claim that left-wing teachers and educators are engaged in a conspiracy to ‘sexualize’ or even ‘groom’ the schoolchildren under their care.”
He also repeated the SPLC’s claim that the parental rights movement “is founded on the same traditional racist, misogynist, and homophobic views that brought people out to protest the desegregation of schools in the 1950s and ’60s.”
Like MSNBC and NPR, Carless did not mention the SPLC’s 2019 scandal, the remarks of the former employee, the Family Research Council shooting, or the attack on the Muslim reformer.
Have an opinion about this article? To sound off, please email letters@DailySignal.com and we’ll consider publishing your edited remarks in our regular “We Hear You” feature. Remember to include the url or headline of the article plus your name and town and/or state.