How labeling my organization a hate group shuts down public debate

Of course, political combatants call each other names all the time; I’ve succumbed myself on occasion. But the SPLC stands apart; it’s backed by a quarter-billion-dollar war chest, successful branding by SPLC co-founder and direct-marketing impresario Morris Dees, and a pose of disinterestedness and neutrality that has gained it credibility with many in the media and law enforcement.

Yet the SPLC’s protestations of neutrality are false. It is an integral part of the immigration-expansion coalition, as even the briefest look at the “Immigrant Justice” page on its website will confirm. Regardless, the SPLC’s smearing of political opponents continues to be reported as news; hours after publication of the latest SPLC blacklist, the New Yorker retailed the “hate group” charge against CIS.

My goal is not to plead to be taken off the SPLC’s blacklist, but to condemn the blacklist itself and the willingness of news organizations to participate in this silencing campaign by using the blacklist label in their stories. This attempt to narrow public debate is harmful to our civic life. Widely held concerns among the citizenry don’t just go away because gatekeepers of public debate decide not to allow them to be aired. As the cliche has it, this is why you have President Trump. And further attempts at suppression will yield worse.