The Daily Caller’s report that the domestic terror-linked Southern Poverty Law Center has been chosen to help YouTube police website content prompted a moment of stunned silence for many who have dealt with the organization.
Then there was a tidal wave of criticism.
But the influence of the far-left SPLC, which previously was linked to domestic terror in a Washington, D.C., case involving a man who confessed to trying to kill as many people as he could at the Christian Family Resource Council, is a lot more than that.
After all, Google refers people to the leftist organization for those who want to do reputation research on sites and pages.
It’s the company’s Google User Content General Guidelines that cites the group.
“Reputation research is important for identifying websites that promote hate and violence. The Pew Research Center, Anti-Defamation League, and the Southern Poverty Law Center are some reputable sources that can be used for reputation research,” Google states.
The recommendation is in the middle of a series of tutorials on “deceptive pages,” “lowest quality main content,” “misleading or inaccurate YMYL informational main content.”
The criticism of the revelation regarding YouTube was blunt.
“Hopefully, this isn’t true. But if it is, it’s a disaster. YouTube couldn’t have chosen a worse or less trustworthy partner,” wrote Becket Adams at Washington Examiner.
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“The SPLC is a dishonest, irresponsible and obnoxiously partisan organization. Trusting them to decide what constitutes objectionable and ‘extremist’ content, as YouTube’s more than 100 ‘Trusted Flaggers’ have been asked to do, is like asking the inmates to run the asylum.”
SPLC has a long history of bias against conservatives.
Liberty Counsel said SPLC claims it is “fighting hate and bigotry,” but its list of “hate groups” is “a farce.”
“While listing non-violent groups, like Family Research Council, Alliance Defending Freedom, American Family Association, and Liberty Counsel, the SPLC does not include groups that advocate the violent overthrow of the United States, like the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA (RCP),” Liberty Counsel said.
The SPLC “hate list” features organizations that support traditional marriage, who are branded as bigots.
The Daily Caller report said while the “left-wing nonprofit” has come under fire lately for lashing out at legitimate conservative organizations as “hate groups,” it remains among the groups in YouTube’s “Trusted Flaggers” subprogram.
In that position, the organization that once applied its hate label to Dr. Ben Carson, famed neurosurgeon and now secretary of Housing and Urban Development, advises YouTube about “extremist content,” including “hate speech” and “terrorist recruiting videos,” the Daily Caller said.
“All of the groups in the program have confidentiality agreements, a spokesperson for Google, YouTube’s parent company, previously told TheDC. A handful of YouTube’s ‘Trusted Flaggers,’ including the Anti-Defamation League and No Hate Speech — a European organization focused on combating intolerance — have gone public with their participation in the program. The vast majority of the groups in the program have remained hidden behind their confidentiality agreements.”
YouTube on Thursday declined to respond to a WND request for comment,.
The Daily Caller said conservatives believe they won’t get fair treatment from SPLC, which was tied directly to domestic terror when Floyd Lee Corkins, who opened fire at the Family Research Center in 2012, told a court he targeted FRC because SPLC identified it as a “hate group.”
“It’s unclear when the SPLC joined YouTube’s ‘Trusted Flaggers’ program. The program goes back to 2012 but exploded in size in recent years amid a Google push to increase regulation of the content on its platforms, which followed pressure from advertisers. Fifty of the 113 program members joined in 2017 as YouTube stepped up its content policing, YouTube public policy director Juniper Downs told a Senate committee in January,” the report said.
The “flaggers” have digital tools to flag content for review, and they also guide the YouTube content monitors who write the computer codes that police the platform.
SPLC also previously called Maajid Nawaz, a respected activist opposing extremism, an “anti-Muslim extremist.”
The Washington Examiner’s Emily Jashinsky wrote last year that SPLC’s “claim to objectivity is nothing less than fraudulent, a reality that informed observers of its practices from both the Left and Right accept.”
Even mainstream media, including Politico’s Ben Schreckinger, have been critical.
“At a time when the line between ‘hate group’ and mainstream politics is getting thinner and the need for productive civil discourse is growing more serious, fanning liberal fears, while a great opportunity for the SPLC, might be a problem for the nation,” he wrote.
WND Founder and CEO Joseph Farah pointed out last year Google aligned itself with the hard leftists at SPLC.
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He said: “Does a private business have every right to set its own standards for doing business? Of course. But Google long ago became a public business and is fast approaching monopoly status, which is why, in America, we have anti-trust laws. Bottom line: Google is at war with the kind of alternative news and views the new media have created. As the very first pioneer in new media, I’ve experienced the battle scars for more than 20 years, even though Google is a relative newcomer having been founded a year after I started WND as the first independent online news alternative.
“Google doesn’t like ‘alternatives.’ Google doesn’t like independent thought. And Google doesn’t like dissent. In fact, you might even say, Google hates these things,” he said.
SPLC was caught putting Carson on its list and later labeled ex-Muslim Ayaan Hirsi Ali an “anti-Muslim extremist” because she opposes Islamic extremism.
Farah said the “left-wing advocacy group lumps pro-family and pro-Israel organizations with actual neo-Nazis.”
“If YouTube is serious about monitoring and rooting out actually objectionable content, this is not the way to go. The SPLC will slap the word ‘extremist’ on just about anything so long as it’s right-tilting,” he said.
Liberty Counsel noted that the Revolutionary Communist Party is not listed by SPLC, even though it “is organized to overthrow this system at the soonest possible time” and wants “an actual revolution.”
“Rather than listing real ‘hate groups’ like the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, the SPLC has created a sham list that includes peaceful, non-violent groups,” the group said.
“The SPLC appears completely incompetent at monitoring the very thing it claims to track. The SPLC’s ‘hate map’ is a farce. For the most part, it is just a list of groups that do not agree with the SPLC. Hateful violence should be categorized, not by left and right political or social views, but by actual advocacy of violence,” said Mat Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel. “While listing peaceful, non-violent groups on its ‘hate map,’ the SPLC leaves off groups that advocate violence and the overthrow of the United States. The SPLC has lost all credibility.”
SPLC is so far left in its views that it even once was reprimanded by the Obama administration’s Justice Department.
Judicial Watch, citing a letter to Michael M. Hethmon, senior counsel for the Immigration Reform Law Institute, and others, said the DOJ reprimand came in 2016 but was “kept quiet at the agency’s request.”
“[It] involves the SPLC’s atrocious behavior during immigration court proceedings. Two groups that oppose illegal immigration, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI), were the target of personal, baseless and below-the-belt attacks from SPLC attorneys during official immigration court proceedings. The SPLC filed a motion attacking and defaming the two respected nonprofits by describing them as ‘white supremacist,’ ‘eugenicist,’ ‘anti-Semitic,’ and ‘anti-Catholic.’ In its reprimand the DOJ says it is troubled by the conduct of SPLC lawyer Christopher Strawn and that his conduct ‘overstepped the bounds of zealous advocacy and was unprofessional,'” the report said.
Last September, WND reported 47 conservative leaders urged members of the media across America to stop using “hit pieces” from SPLC.
The leaders included Brent Bozell of the Media Research Center, Edwin Meese of the Heritage Foundation, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, Lt. Gen. (Ret.) William Boykin of the Family Research Council, Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel and Michael Farris of the Alliance Defending Freedom, Frank Gaffney and Clare Lopez of the Center for Security Policy, Brad Dacus of the Pacific Justice Institute, Frank Wright of D. James Kennedy Ministries, Scott Walter of the Capital Research Center, David Barton of WallBuilders, David Yerushalmi and Robert Muise of the American Freedom Law Center,
Martin Mawyer of the Christian Action Network, Tim Wildmon and Sandy Rios of the American Family Association, and Joseph Farah, founder and CEO of WND.com
An announcement about the letter charged SPLC “has recklessly labeled dozens of mainstream conservative organizations as ‘hate groups.'”
The letter states: “We are writing to you as individuals or as representatives of organizations who are deeply troubled by several recent examples of the media’s use of data from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). The SPLC is a discredited, left-wing, political activist organization that seeks to silence its political opponents with a ‘hate group’ label of its own invention and application that is not only false and defamatory, but that also endangers the lives of those targeted with it.”