This post was originally published on The Federalist.
Amazon is the latest major tech company to reveal it relies upon the Southern Poverty Law Center to police social and financial transactions on its platform. The Daily Caller recently found that Amazon, Twitter, Facebook, and Google let SPLC affect their platforms’ transactions despite years of documentation from a wide variety of outlets that SPLC’s business model is to deliberately increase animosity. It’s so good at raising ire with inaccurate claims that SPLC has been able to fill offshore bank accounts and an endowment to eye-popping levels, which has also raised eyebrows among nonprofit analysts.
From its charitable donations program AmazonSmile, “We remove organizations that the SPLC deems as ineligible,” an Amazon spokeswoman told The Daily Caller. This recently prompted Amazon to blacklist Alliance Defending Freedom, a pro-bono legal nonprofit that has won repeatedly before the Supreme Court. SPLC opposes the organization merely because ADF advocates for ideas common on the Right side of the political and social spectrum.
In essence, SPLC — and by extension Amazon, Google, Twitter, and Facebook — defines widely held conservative positions as inherently bigoted. Then it uses its social power to write political opponents out of social and economic life, thanks to enabling from massive global tech companies.
Nearly one third of the people in the world use Facebook each month. Half of American households pay for Amazon Prime memberships. Three-quarters of the people in the world searching online use Google in a month. More than 300 million people use Twitter every month. These tech companies facilitate social and economic transactions for most Americans and much of the world. And they do so based at least partly based on criteria decided by discredited hatemongers.
I know those are very strong terms, but unlike similarly strong descriptions that SPLC uses, they fit reality accurately. Here are a few reasons why. (I also recently documented many more in another, longer article.)
SPLC Green-Lights Terrorist Supporters, Targets Christians
The Daily Caller’s Peter Hasson earlier reported that SPLC criteria leads to a shocking double standard in the Amazon Smile program. It bans ADF but allows people to use Amazon purchases to donate to organizations with clear terrorism and anti-Semitic activity. If anything is hateful, it’s terrorism and violent anti-Semitism. Obviously SPLC is not actually concerned about hate, but weaponizing the concept of hate in pursuit of a one-sided political agenda that happens to make them loads of money.
Unlike ADF, hardline Islamic groups are allowed to participate in Amazon Smile. That includes the Islamic Center of Jersey City, whose imam called Jews ‘apes and pigs’ and requested Allah’s help in killing them ‘down to the very last one,’ according to the Anti-Defamation League.
The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) is able to take part in Amazon Smile, despite a 2009 federal court ruling the U.S. government has ‘ample evidence’ of ties between the group and Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas.
The similarly named Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) is also an Amazon Smile member. ICNA promotes the establishment of an Islamic caliphate and has ties to a radical Pakistani political group, Jamaat-e-Islami. The ADL has criticized ICNA for giving a platform to extremists.
SPLC Has Fueled Shootings and Campus Riots
Most prominently, SPLC’s reprehensible smear of social scientist Charles Murray as a “racist” “extremist” — a reputation attack of the worst sort in American society, outside perhaps only calling someone a rapist or pedophile — has formed the direct pretext for university students and faculty on multiple campuses to slander, scream at, strike, throw things at, and shake a car containing Murray, besides vandalism and false fire-alarm-pulling.
Their work also inspired a man to pick up a gun and enter the office of a conservative DC nonprofit with the explicitly confessed intent to go on a murder spree because SPLC had falsely designated the organization a “hate group.” Five years after that attempted shooting, which was forestalled by a security guard the shooter injured in the process, the SPLC’s president repeated his organization’s ludicrous attacks, saying the Family Research Council is “more dangerous to our country than hatemongers who wear robes and hoods.”
Okay, people, let’s be clear: No one affiliated with the FRC ever lynched anyone, or appeared outside their houses in hoods and robes. To compare a bunch of people in an office who write op-eds and give speeches advocating traditional conservative ideas to murderers and domestic terrorists like the Klu Klux Klan is horrifically irresponsible slander that should immediately discredit the person communicating it. Yet it is only months later that Amazon is strengthening ties with this illegitimate organization. This sort of thing is beyond parody, mostly because it is quite literally deadly serious.
Even Obama’s DOJ Found SPLC Out of Bounds
“The Obama-era Justice Department once scolded the SPLC for overstepping ‘the bounds of zealous advocacy,’ after the organization labeled the non-profit Federation for American Immigration Reform a ‘hate group,’” Brian Flood reports at Fox News.
The Well-Documented Criticism of SPLC Is Bipartisan
The SPLC has faced tough criticisms not just from conservatives, but from establishment publications as well.
‘At a time when the line between ‘hate group’ and mainstream politics is getting thinner and the need for productive civil discourse is growing more serious, fanning liberal fears, while a great opportunity for the SPLC, might be a problem for the nation,’ Ben Schreckinger, now with GQ, wrote in a June 2017 piece for Politico.
The Washington Post’s Megan McArdle, while still at Bloomberg, similarly criticized the SPLC’s flimsy definition of ‘hate group’ in September 2017. Media outlets who trust the SPLC’s labels, McArdle warned, ‘will discredit themselves with conservative readers and donors.’
In my last article about SPLC, I listed a wide variety of publications that have published investigations documenting that the organization makes its money by peddling hatred: “Tablet magazine; a newspaper local to SPLC’s headquarters, the Montgomery Advertiser; Philanthropy magazine, Harper’s magazine, Megan McArdle at Bloomberg; The Weekly Standard; City Journal; National Review; and The Washington Free Beacon.”
SPLC Gains By Inflaming Racism and Other Animosity
Because the SPLC depends on racism, violence, and division for its revenue and legitimacy, they have reason to want more of these terrible things, or at least the appearance of more. Their vested interest is not in solving and reducing these social blights, but in maximizing and perpetuating them. All the more reason polite society should starve their fire-stoking of the oxygen of attention.
You would think it should be beyond self-evident that people who profit from fueling and enabling campus riots and attempted mass shootings would be written out of public discourse. Well, Amazon, Twitter, Facebook, and Google’s leadership evidently think people like that should be given global social, political, and financial power instead.
This post was originally published on The Federalist.