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FAIR On The SPLC: Nice Guys Get Smeared Some More
They are cowering in the Bunker down in Montgomery, Alabama this last weekend. The Federation for Immigration Reform (FAIR) has released its devastating counter attack on the Southern Poverty Law Center, for its smearing of them as a "Hate Group".
Well, not exactly,
A Guide to Understanding the Tactics of the Southern Poverty Law Center in the Immigration Debate [PDF] is worth reading, or at least knowing about…I suppose. It is curiously hard to find on FAIR's elaborate web site but it does appear on President Dan Stein's Dan Stein Report, from which I gather it was published this past Friday.
A Guide to Understanding etc. is, like all FAIR's work, expensively produced, earnest, verbose, a little wonkish, all too plainly chewed over by lawyers. Compared to VDARE.COM's distinctly more direct polemical style, it appears (if I may say so) rather dull and even ineffectual—a considerable achievement, given the topic. Maybe this is the reason it took FAIR 29 years to become enough of a nuisance to the Left for the $PLC to name it a hate group. Here at VDARE.com, we achieved the honor in less than five!
A Guide… is apparently intended as a briefing book for journalists. As such, it is professionally and technically very odd—particularly to one used to being brutally harassed by Peter Brimelow for accessible documentation. There are very few footnotes citing sources, and only one hyperlink. Nowadays virtually all journalists will be reading in electronic form. It is technically easy to insert hyperlinks into PDF documents—for example, all the footnotes in the PDF version of Steve Sailer's Obama biography America's Half-Blood Prince are viewable in this way. And journalists are all are anxious to see sources—especially in this bitterly contested area. Why not make life easy for this hardworking/bone idle profession?
For me as a student of the SPLC/$PLC, the most valuable element in the report was the discovery in the section What do Journalists Think of the SPLC? (Pp9—14) that Alexander Cockburn attacked the $PLC earlier this year in The Nation, which I had missed: King of the Hate Business, April 29 2009 (alternative link here):
"The sun is dipping low in the evening sky over the Republican Party…It's…horrible news for people who raise money and make money selling the notion that there's a right resurgence out there in the hinterland with legions of haters ready to march down Main Street draped in Klan robes, a copy of Mein Kampf tucked under one arm and a Bible under the other…What is the archsalesman of hatemongering, Morris Dees of the Southern Poverty Law Center, going to do now
This is not vintage Cockburn, being mainly an update of JoAnn Wypijewski's genuinely devastating discussions of the $PLC in The Nation in 2000 and 2001. But is at least a succinct and witty summary—for example, Cockburn writes:
"I'm a hate group, meaning in Dees-speak, 'one with beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people,' starting with Dick Cheney.
Other than that, the items cited in the section are all familiar. None are linked but all the links can be found in my April 8 VDARE.COM article on the $PLC's finances.
The most value-added (from sadly, a low base) occurs Pp 15-17: The SPLC Manipulates Hate Crime Data to Fuel Their Cause.
This points out
"The base year that the SPLC uses to index increases in anti-Hispanic hate crimes, 2003, was one of lowest years on record for hate crimes against Hispanics…Consequently, any increase in the number of such crime appears larger when expressed statistically."
And more interestingly
"The Police Chief Magazine reports in its April 2004 edition, 'Once a department begins to actively investigate hate crimes and demonstrate aggressive action, the number of incidents reported to the police will most likely increase. This is to be expected and is not necessarily reflective of sudden increase in the community's frequency of hate crimes…The fact that the number of reported incidents increases does not necessarily mean the actual number of incidents of hate crimes has increased. '"
The reference cited for this is inadequate—the URL of Police Chief Magazine's front page—and not live, which means you can't even click on it in the PDF. I supply it here: Law Enforcement Must Take Lead on Hate Crimes, By Karen L. Bune, April 2004.
FAIR's document spends a good deal of time asserting plaintively that FAIR is too nice! And that it is mean of the nasty SPLC to say otherwise!
In doing so, it makes a telling concession (on P4):
"FAIR condemns any individual or group that engages in hateful or violent behavior…"
From a debating point of view (and isn't that what A Guide… is for?) a crippling omission is the failure of the report is to supply an up-to-date critique of the $PLC's truly remarkable finances. This is a subject which usually excites the media. Furthermore the SPLC always attacks the economic base of its targets.
It is all very well for FAIR to assert (correctly) that
"The SPLC misrepresents itself as an advocate for victims of bigotry or racism. The organization does little or nothing to help the victims and instead lines its own pockets with the money that it raises or wins in legal settlements." (P24)
But journalists need really good documentation of such a charge.
Here, FAIR runs into a problem. The most incisive work on this subject is on VDARE.com, by me: here and here and here. I have documented that the $PLC is basically a large and aggressive investment pool, linked to a much smaller, albeit well-remunerated, public interest law firm.
But, although we have always included FAIR in our links page, part of our policy of collegiality to all patriotic reform groups, it withdrew its reciprocal link to us (over our protests) years ago. We understand it feared being named as a "Hate Group"! Even the Stein Report, which is basically a collection of news stories, has not linked to a VDARE.COM story since late 2007—by an amazing coincidence, the point at which the $SPLC named FAIR itself a "Hate Group"!
But why should that be a problem? The raw data is all public. One of FAIR's numerous employees could have been ordered to paraphrase the articles. Or Dan Stein could have picked up the phone to Peter Brimelow, whom he has known for years, promise for the umpteenth time to reciprocate links, and explain the need to plagiarize. Why would Brimelow have objected? And weakened an attack on a deadly enemy which is trying to destroy us all?
A Guide… finishes ringingly (P24-5)
"America needs an open and honest debate about immigration policy. Whatever position one takes on immigration, it is undeniably one of the most important public policy issues facing the nation. As with any other vital issue in a healthy democracy, free and open debate is essential to finding the right path for the nation. Blatant attempts to silence debate are unhealthy and must not be permitted to prevail."
So true! Which is why it was so unfortunate that FAIR, along with other Beltway patriotic immigration groups, never uttered a peep earlier this summer when the Democrats were end-running opposition to get the so-called Matthew Shepherd Hate Crimes Bill through Congress—although Senator Feinstein directly said she looks for the legislation to curtail debate on immigration?
On Monday, the Washington Post took note of the immigration enthusiast organizations' unmistakable strategic decision to smear immigration patriots out of respectable political discourse:
"In an ad published in the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call and a teleconference with reporters planned later, America's Voice, an umbrella group of immigrant advocate organizations, is accusing the Federation for American Immigration Reform, a prime lobby for reduced immigration, of leading xenophobic efforts to lower the number of Hispanic people in the United States.
" 'The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) is designated a HATE GROUP by the Southern Poverty Law Center,' the ad reads, citing a December 2007 listing by an independent group based in Montgomery, Ala., that monitors racist groups. 'Extremist groups, like FAIR, shouldn't write immigration policy,' the ad concludes. [Immigration Overhaul Supporters Ratchet Up Rhetoric, by Spencer Hsu, September 14, 2009]
FAIR's Dan Stein is quoted as saying plaintively that FAIR "stands four-square against discrimination based on race, ethnicity or religion, and we have a long track record… For whatever reason, they've [immigration enthusiasts] decided to participate in the destruction of the public square. I see it going on all sides now."
In contrast, VDARE.COM's official position is that you have to fight fire with fire. The issue is not whether immigration patriots are "xenophobic": it is whether immigration enthusiasts are traitors—determined to destroy America as it existed in 1965.
We stand ready to testify that Dan Stein and his staff at FAIR—admittedly operating in the peculiar hothouse environment of the Beltway—are far too much gentlepersons to say such a horrible thing.
The Post's Hsu made no mention of A Guide to Understanding the Tactics of the Southern Poverty Law Center in the Immigration Debate.