Southern Poverty Law Center needs to put up or shut up
By Dave Gorak, 02/24/2011
Founded in 1995 as an educational organization to inform the public about the need to restore stability to our immigration policy and protect American workers, the Midwest Coalition to Reduce Immigration (MCRI) can best be described as being "low-key." We don't engage in marches, demonstrations, protest rallies, etc. We do accept speaking engagements and distribute information, mostly news items, to others around the nation concerned about the immigration issue.
So we are wondering why, in its most recent "Intelligence Report", the mouthy Southern Poverty Law Center for the first time included us - without any evidence to support their claim - in its listing of "nativist and extremist" groups that "confront or harass suspected immigrants or their employers."
Written by Mark Potok, the SPLC's chief defender of that group's "right" to say whatever it pleases without regard for the truth in hopes of silencing those with opposing views , these annual reports enjoy wide coverage from a Pavlovian mainstream media whose members treat each SPLC pronouncement with the same awe and reverence given to the words engraved on the two tablets Moses brought down from Mount Sinai.
Upon learning we had been listed as "bad people" by the SPLC, I e-mailed Heidi Beirich, the SPLC's "research director" and "expert" on all things even remotely connected with hate, asking for the criteria by which her organization concludes that a group is worthy of SPLC recognition.
Ms. Beirich said only, "The definition is in the attached story. " The dismissive tone of her reply instantly reminded me of Bill Cosby's "Noah" routine. (Listen to the "voice of God" and you'll get a feel for what I mean.)
I then sent the following response to her (and Potok) again asking for evidence to justify their labeling us as they have:
Is the above the definition to which you are referring? MCRI was founded in 1995 as an educational organization, and we have NEVER "confronted or harassed suspected immigrants or their employers." (By the way, just what does a "suspected immigrant" look like?).
I must ask you again to be more specific and please provide me with examples of the above criteria. Does the SPLC have access to news stories that highlight MCRI activities of the sort you say we have participated in? Any eyewitness accounts, videos, etc.?
Sorry to be such a nuisance, but you know that we journalists - or at least those worthy of the name - are sticklers for details and all the facts. The SPLC has chosen to hang two totally false and demeaning labels on our organization; either show me the glue to make them stick or remove our name from your list.
As SPLC's director of research and acknowledged expert on nativist extremism, I'm sure you will agree that there can be no tolerance for sloppy research in the national debate over our immigration policy.
Looking forward to your cooperation in this matter,
Potok and Beirich are paid professional liars who can't be bothered with the basic rules of decency and truthfulness. In our view, this is the only way The Church of Morris Dees can continue to suck millions of dollars in contributions from unsuspecting Americans.
As the late Sen.Daniel Patrick Moynihan once observed, "Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts."
MCRI is waiting for Potok and Beirich to either put up or shut up.
Dave Gorak is MCRI's executive director.