CNN has become the latest to cooperate with an organization whose own list of "hate" groups was used to carry out attempted mass murder at a Washington, D.C think tank.
Following up on the violent clash between neo-Nazis and left-wing protesters in Virginia that claimed a life, CNN published a list of the 917 U.S.-based "hate groups" compiled by the Alabama-based Southern Poverty Law Center.
Yet that decision came on the fifth-year anniversary that left-wing activist Floyd Corkins attempted mass murder at the Washington, D.C.-based headquarters of the Family Research Council.
Corkins has told authorities he intended to kill as many FRC employees as he could and his plan was stopped only by a guard, Leo Johnson, who took a bullet in the arm when he fought Corkins in the lobby.
Corkins, who surrendered to authorities on the scene, was asked by FBI agents why he targeted the Family Research Council.
"How did you find (inaudible), how did you find it earlier? Did you look it up online?" Corkins was asked by an FBI agent in a recorded interview (see video below) of his confession of the crime.
"Southern Poverty Law lists, uh, anti-gay groups," Corkins replied, "and I found them online."
CNN is acting "unbelievably irresponsible" by using the SPLC Hate Map, responds FRC President Tony Perkins.
He points out that SPLC was linked to Corkins' attempted massacre in his court appearance and calls the once-lauded civil rights law firm a "money-making machine" worth more than $350 million.
"A lot of it in offshore accounts. This has been documented," Perkins says. "There's nothing impoverished about the Southern Poverty Law Center than their ethics and their morals."
It's nothing new for the SPLC to be lauded by left-wingers over its tracking of "hate groups," especially since many of those groups are literal racist groups now making headlines after Charlottesville. Authorities have said a racist neo-Nazi is the driver who rammed his car into a crowd of marching counter-protesters, killing a 32-year-old woman and injuring scores more.
Yet the response from right-wing groups on that list has gotten swifter and louder after the FRC shooting in 2013.
CNN published a "sham" news article that could put American Family Association employees and AFA supporters in danger, AFA President Tim Wildmon warned in an "Action Alert" sent to AFA supporters this week.
The emailed Action Alert pointed out that SPLC once placed Dr. Ben Carson on its "extremist" watch list for his biblical views on marriage.
AFA is listed on the Hate Map for its "anti-gay" views, and Wildmon pointed out to supporters that the Obama-era Department of Justice dropped the "Hate Map" as a reliable source over concerns it was overly zealous.
Brad Dacus of the California-based Pacific Justice Institute says a CBS affiliate in Sacramento aired a news segment about the SPLC and its Hate Map, and the Sacramento Bee newspaper, in its own story about the Hate Map, listed PJI among the Golden State Skinheads and other racist groups in California. The state has the highest number of "hate groups" in the U.S.
"These are some of the media sources that have blindly quoted the Southern Poverty Law Center and their hate group list," Dacus complains, "without even making the effort to contact these organizations to see if these indeed are valid characterizations."
Heritage Foundation scholar Ryan Anderson responded to CNN with a two-minute video commentary, pointing out that CNN itself reported Corkins' shooting at the time and acknowledged in the story that Corkins had used the Hate Map to select his target.
"It's irresponsible for CNN today to be simply reprinting SPLC's Hate Map as if it's fact," Anderson says in the video. "It destroys the label of hate and it trivializes the real evil that is out there."
"We still have the bullet holes in the wall," Perkins tells OneNewsNow. "It's a constant reminder of the hate that's out there and not from the right but from the left and it's being whipped up by the media."
American Family Association is the parent organization of American Family News and its news website, OneNewsNow.