James Antle on the Southern Poverty Law Center

In “Tolerance Mafia,” James Antle III asks the question: “Who watches the hate watchers?” A surprising array of left-leaning journalists — fed up by the left’s own venal, manipulative, and money-minded enfant terrible — are included in the answer. It’s just a case of calling a rat a rat.

Here follows a tasty selection of Mr. Antle’s rat poison:

The CIS report claims Dees promised to stop his profligate fundraising after the SPLC’s endowment exceeded $50 million, but continued shaking the money tree after it reached $200 million. The group’s lavish headquarters, nicknamed the “Poverty Pentagon,” have made it a laughingstock among erstwhile allies on the Left. The Nation called Dees “a millionaire huckster”; left-wing journalist Alexander Coburn dubbed him the “arch-salesman of hatemongering.” “Morris Dees does not need your financial support,” Silverstein wrote in Harper’s. “The SPLC is already the wealthiest civil rights group in America. … The American Institute of Philanthropy gives the SPLC one of the worst ratings of any group it monitors.”

“Hate sells; poor people don’t, which is why readers who go to the SPLC’s website will find only a handful of cases on such non-lucrative causes as fair housing, worker safety, or healthcare, many of those from the 1970s and 1980s,” JoAnn Wypijewski wrote in The Nation in 2001. “Why the organization continues to keep ‘Poverty’ (or even ‘Law’) in its name can be ascribed only to nostalgia or a cynical understanding of the marketing possibilities in class guilt.” At the CIS event, Silverstein quoted a civil-rights attorney as calling Dees’s operation “the Jim and Tammy Faye Baker of the civil-rights movement. And I don’t mean to demean Jim and Tammy Faye.”

Even some of the SPLC’s legitimate civil-rights work was exploited for profit. In 1987, Dees won a $7 million verdict against a Klan group that had brutally murdered a young black man. The Montgomery Advertiser reported that the SPLC “used nationwide fund-raising letters to create the image of a mighty Klan that actually had $7 million” to pay the victim’s mother. In fact, the woman only received about $52,000, most of which she had to pay back to the SPLC, which had given her an interest-free loan. Meanwhile, the SPLC raised $9 million in two years from mailings highlighting her case.

Read the rest at The American Conservative.