“They paint with a very broad brush and in the process they tend to be sweep up people that are politically conservative,” said Carol Swain, a political science professor at Vanderbilt University who has criticized the organization’s methodology in the past. “I think they do it in a very harmful way and they abuse their power as an organization.”
The group has singled out as extremist Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, James Dobson of Focus on the Family, and Liberty Counsel, the group that recently provided legal defense to Kentucky County Clerk Kim Davis over her refusal to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, Swain noted.
“These are individuals that are Christian conservatives—they’re just traditional conservatives—but because of their position on LGBT issues the Southern Poverty Law Center finds ways to malign these individuals or their organizations.”
Washington, D.C., think tank The Center for Security Policy made the list this year for its alleged anti-Muslim rhetoric, a fact that founder Frank Gaffney, Jr., called “outrageous” in an interview last week with Liz Wheeler, of the One America News Network. The SPLC is focused on suppressing speech, he said.
As a member of just one of the minorities targeted by most of those named groups, I don't think there is anything outrageous about calling them hate groups, their message is hate, some if not all of them use hate as an organizing focus and a means of pushing American politics towards the far right. All of them feed off of reaction to progress in civil rights, the white backlash against civil rights legislation and ruling has been the major tool of political success by the Republican Party for the past fifty years. Nixon's "Southern Strategy" didn't only work in Southern states which are associated by the media, by history but most of all by the insanity of our anti-democratic Constitutional apparatus for electing presidents. It has worked in may states, including those as far North as Maine, Idaho and Alaska. Like some of the segregationist groups, the kind that the original Atticus Finch of Set A Watchman would have felt comfortable belonging to.
There is certainly a strong case to make the argument that in 2016 the Republican Party is the largest hate group with the most influence in the United States, the FOX corporation and its parent company should be considered as well.
I, though, think the "net" used by the SPLC that the radical right are complaining about isn't catching enough of the hate out there. I'd certainly include groups like the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Center For Inquiry and a myriad of other religious hate groups, some of which aren't really all that different from the more genteel hate groups named above. I have no problem with the inclusion of "Radical Traditional Catholicism" in the list of hate groups on this list
As for the rest of us, those who are the focus of overt hate talk by hate groups, the people who are the more likely targets of the violence that is the result of that hate talk, it's way past time for us to be the chumps of the 18th century slave holding, aristocratic men who wrote the Constitution and the 20th century lawyers who invented free speech absolutism for the media who used it to promote hatred on behalf of the descendants of those men. Women, the primary targets of most of that hate, especially in the porn industry and entertainment, certainly should rethink the wisdom of those threadbare slogans which have produced the United States in which someone like Trump, Cruz, McConnell, Ryan. etc. could be running the government and appointing Supreme Court justices who will dispose of any protections we have gained since the adoption of the Bill of Rights, rights which were certainly not included by the originators of those platitudes which enabled slavery, corporate person hood, the crushing of the majority by the elite few, etc.
In 2016, free speech and free press absolutism is the permission which the affluent, straight, white, male establishment of the past has given to the haters, their "more speech" fantasy is the Peyton Manning moon job that they did on the rest of us and we're the ones who get slandered.