Last week, the Southern Poverty Law Center came out with an alarming report about the rise of anti-government “patriot” groups. So how was this discussed on The O’Reilly Factor Friday night (3/8/13)? By trotting out a representative from the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), an anti-immigrant group listed as a hate group by the SPLC, smearing the SPLIC and all but calling them a hate group.
From the SPLC report:
Capping four years of explosive growth sparked by the election of America’s first black president and anger over the economy, the number of conspiracy-minded antigovernment “Patriot” groups reached an all-time high of 1,360 in 2012, while the number of hard-core hate groups remained above 1,000. As President Obama enters his second term with an agenda of gun control and immigration reform, the rage on the right is likely to intensify.
… While the number of hate groups remained essentially unchanged last year — going from 1,018 in 2011 to 1,007 in 2012 — the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) count of 1,360 Patriot groups in 2012 was up about 7% from the 1,274 active in 2011. And that was only the latest growth spurt in the Patriot movement, which generally believes that the federal government is conspiring to take Americans’ guns and destroy their liberties as it paves the way for a global “one-world government.” From a mere 149 organizations in 2008, the number of Patriot groups shot up to 512 in 2009, jumped again to 824 in 2010, and then skyrocketed to 1,274 in 2011 before hitting their all-time high last year.
In a segment FoxNews.com hilariously said would ”investigate” the report, Ingraham hosted two guests to, basically, help her sling mud at the SPLC.
It was clear where the discussion would go in the opening exchange. Ingraham started off by saying to FAIR spokesman Bob Dane, “First of all, Mr. Dane, I’ve known you for quite a long time and I know that you’re not a hateful person and yet you’re branded a hater by the Southern Poverty Law Center which I think has the imprimatur of being a legitimate organization that safeguards civil rights. So what did you all do wrong?”
“Absolutely nothing,” Dane said. He said the SPLC “masquerades as a civil rights group and they’re really a far-left political attack machine. They would label a ham and cheese sandwich as an extremist threat if it helped juice their fundraising. …Look, some of the older viewers may remember the era of McCarthy when one man, with no checks and balances, labeled groups and individuals as communists. Some were, most weren’t. But now, this is not just one man, this is one group, a well-funded operation, that acts as judge and jury and they impose a sentence. And the sentence is this…"
Ingraham jumped in to say, “Intimidate you. You are not to be able to speak out. Yeah, so in other words, if you believe in border enforcement, you’re against amnesty, you’re a traditional Catholic, you might be of another Christian denomination in your traditional views, limited government, part of a Tea Party organization.”
Turning to her other guest, retired FBI agent Bob Hamer, she said, “This seems to be a rank effort to shut down debate in the United States and to dominate political discourse and demonize good people who just happen to have a different point of view.”
Well, speaking of shutting down debate and demonizing people, how come Ingraham didn’t think it worth mentioning that FAIR is tied to white supremacy groups? For example, one reason SPLC labels FAIR a hate group is because founder John Tanton wrote this in a letter to a eugenicist: “I’ve come to the point of view that for European-American society and culture to persist requires a European-American majority, and a clear one at that.”
Nor did she bother to ask either guest to address what else SPLC wrote about FAIR:
Tanton has a lengthy record of friendly correspondence with Holocaust deniers, a former Klan lawyer and leading white nationalist thinkers, including Jared Taylor (who wrote in 2005, “When blacks are left entirely to their own devices, Western civilization — any kind of civilization — disappears”). On another occasion, Tanton wrote a major FAIR funder to suggest she read the work of radical anti-Semitic professor Kevin MacDonald— to “give you a new understanding of the Jewish outlook on life” — and suggested that the entire FAIR board discuss the man’s theories about the Jews. In a letter to FAIR board member Donald Collins, Tanton enthused over the work of John Trevor Sr. — a key architect of the bluntly racist Immigration Act of 1924 and a man who distributed pro-Nazi propaganda and warned shrilly of “diabolical Jewish control” of America — and said it should serve FAIR as “a guidepost to what we must follow again this time.” Tanton has also made several racist comments, telling a reporter in 1997 that unless U.S. borders are sealed, America will be overrun by people “defecating and creating garbage and looking for jobs.”
… Between 1985 and 1994, FAIR received around $1.2 million in grants from the Pioneer Fund. The Pioneer Fund is a eugenicist organization that was started in 1937 by men close to the Nazi regime who wanted to pursue “race betterment” by promoting the genetic lines of American whites. Now led by race scientist J. Philippe Rushton, the fund continues to back studies intended to reveal the inferiority of minorities to whites.
… FAIR also has produced controversial media programming. In 1996, FAIR started a television program called “Borderline.” The show lasted for about a year and featured a number of prominent white nationalists, including Sam Francis and Jared Taylor. “Borderline” often advanced ideas popular in white nationalist circles; particularly popular was the idea that immigrants are destroying American culture or displacing Western civilization with degenerate, Third World ways.
SPLC lists many, many more examples of what qualified FAIR as a hate group. If Ingraham had been truly interested in debunking the SPLC classification, she would have asked Dane to rebut them. The fact that she didn’t want to go there suggests the answers would not comport with her agenda. And it may not be just Ingraham. Fox often presents FAIR as a credible group on the subject of immigration.
As the New Civil Rights Movement’s David Badash pointed out, the worst thing about this segment was that it obscured from "No Spin Zone" viewers "an important and disturbing report about the rise of hate groups in America, militant so-called Patriot' groups that are planning attacks against Americans, that are creating lies, conspiracy theories, and promoting hate of America’s first black President." The saddest thing? That that was probably her exact intention.