November 29 edition of MSNBC's Hardball, Mark Potok, director of publications and information for the Southern Poverty Law Center, explained SPLC's criteria, and that one comment made by them, actually on Hardball earlier this year -- that “gay behavior should be outlawed" -- was so offensive it was enough to place the Family Research Council on the list of hate groups. Potok then noted many more examples.
It should be noted that the SPLC, founded in 1971, has a long history of defending and protecting civil rights, and that they are considered the organization when it comes to hate group designation. Much to my chagrin, there are other groups that I believe should be on their hate group list, but SPLC has a very high bar; if a group is on the list, they belong there.
On Hardball, Potok explained, "it's purely about ideology. Do groups demonize entire groups of people with falsehoods and other propaganda? The Family Research Council among many other things has associated falsely gay men with pedophilia. That's simply a falsehood and a known falsehood."
"They have suggested that homosexual men molest children at rates that far exceed that of heterosexual men, and that's simply a falsehood and a known falsehood."
But that's not the only issue with the Family Research Council. The FRC relies on discredited research by discredited researchers to spread their particular brand of hate and to encourage others to do the same.
Here is a sampling of hate from the Family Research Council:
"...one of the primary goals of the homosexual rights movement is to abolish all age of consent laws and to eventually recognize pedophiles as the 'prophets' of a new sexual order," from their publication, "Homosexual Activists Work to Normalize Sex With Boys."
"Homosexuals have never been forced to sit in the back of the bus. They are as privileged a group as any. To compare their attempts to affirm deviant sexual conduct to the legitimate discrimination claims of true minorities is a sham."
"[Homosexuality] is the opposite of love for God. It is a rebellion against God and God's natural order, and embodies a deep-seated hatred against true religion."
"involvement in homosexuality can kill you. It can kill you emotionally, it can kill you physically, and it can certainly kill you spiritually."
The FRC appeared on Hardball to defend their organization and their name. It was an appropriate journalistic decision. But that's where the appropriateness ends.
Once an organization joins the list of hate groups, groups that include Ku Klux Klan organizations, Neo-Nazi organizations, White Nationalist, Anti-Immigrant, and, yes, Anti-Gay organizations, that's where credibility as an organization ends.
Groups designated as official hate groups should not get equal time on the airwaves. They've lost the right to be looked upon as rational spokespeople for acceptable behavior and ideology. A hate group, by its very definition, is "an organized group or movement that advocates and practices hate, hostility, or violence towards members of a race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation or other designated sector of society."
The misused concept of "fair and balanced" does not work when one group is a hate group. It is journalistic malpractice to invite hate groups to air their ideology.
So why call upon them to offer an acceptable point of view?
But that's exactly what Chris Matthews did on Hardball at the end of his interview with the SPLC's Mark Potok and with the FRC's Tony Perkins. In the video below you can hear Matthews saying, "Tony, you're always welcome here, you're always..."
Hate groups should not be welcome on MSNBC or any other reputable media outlet. It's time to demand the main stream media refuse to provide an open platform for hate groups to express their ideology.
petition text -
Recently, the head of the Family Research Council, Tony Perkins, appeared on an episode of Hardball with Chris Matthews. At the end of the segment, Matthews told Perkins, "You're always welcome here."
But the Family Research Council, which has a lengthy track record of homophobia and campaigns of violence and discrimination against LGBT people, has just been dubbed a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Why would MSNBC want to give legitimacy to a group like this, which works solely to demonize gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people?
Please stop giving soapboxes to hate groups. We can have responsible debates about politics in this country, without resorting to commentators or guests who preach hatred toward LGBT people.
Thank you for your time.
[Your name here]