The far-left Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) currently records the lowest number of so-called “hate groups” in the United States on its annual map, even despite efforts to artificially boost the overall number by adding conservative groups and grassroots parents’ rights groups to the list.
As reported by Just The News, the SPLC’s 2022 report documents 523 “hate groups” throughout the country. But despite this being the lowest level recorded since the SPLC first began its annual report in 2000, the group has nevertheless continued to push the narrative that a form of “far-right extremism” is on the rise.
However, for the 2022 report, the SPLC dramatically inflated its overall list by adding, for the first time ever, the category of “anti-government groups” in addition to “hate groups.” With this new criteria adding another 702 groups to the list, the SPLC’s latest headline declared that it “tracked 1,225 hate and antigovernment groups across the U.S.” in the year 2022.
SPLC acknowledged the difference between the two categories on their website, while still justifying the act of lumping them in together nonetheless: “Hate groups hold beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics, while antigovernment groups see the federal government as an enemy of the people and promote baseless conspiracy theories.” The SPLC provided no proof to back up its claims of “baseless conspiracy theories.”
The SPLC further claimed that “far-right activists have embraced ever more violent rhetoric,” and that “their words are contributing to an atmosphere that breeds political violence,” again without citing any evidence.
One of the most controversial additions to the SPLC’s list is the parents’ rights group Moms for Liberty, which campaigns against explicit reading materials in public schools, including pornographic material and racially divisive content. The group has expanded to 285 chapters across 45 different states, and its numerous successful campaigns have led to increased scrutiny from the Left.
The SPLC also listed a number of state chapters of the Constitution Party as “anti-government groups.” The party is one of the three largest minor parties in the country, alongside the Libertarian Party and the Green Party, and is the most right-wing of these three.
The SPLC has come under fire in recent decades for conflating normal conservative groups with “hate groups,” such as the former Ku Klux Klan. In 1995, one of the finalists for the Pulitzer Prize was the Montgomery Advertiser for its reporting on the SPLC’s “questionable management practices and self-interest.” In 2010, investigative journalist Ken Silverstein wrote that the SPLC was “profiting from intolerance,” and that “the Law Center is essentially a fraud, and that it has a habit of casually labeling organizations as ‘hate groups.’ In doing so, the SPLC shuts down debate, stifles free speech, and most of all, raises a pile of money, very little of which is used on behalf of poor people.”