Todd Starnes

Looking at that headline one might legitimately ask: “Which Fox imbecile is David referring to (there are many)?” Yes there are many but the imbecile in residence has to be Todd Starnes. Starnes is often confused, usually wrong, and possibly closeted. Friday at the right-wing outlet Starnes produces: “CNN Publishes Fake Hate List – Targeting Well-Known Christian Groups.”

Before I even get to the body of this thing there are problems just with the headline.

  1. Based on SPLC determinations the list is anything but fake.
  2. The list doesn’t “target” any type of group except hate groups.
  3. The fact that a group is well known is irrelevant. The Klan is also well known.
  4. The fact that a group claims to be Christian is also irrelevant. Again, the Klan makes that same defense.

In other words, Starnes is incapable of an accurate headline. The body of the screed doesn’t get any better. Starting with this:

Many Christian organizations are fearful for their safety after CNN published a bogus “hate map” concocted by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

“Here are all the active hate groups where you live,” CNN’s headline declared.

Now, now. No one is really fearful. Claiming otherwise is just a tactic in order to claim that the SPLC designations are somehow malevolent. Does Starnes believe the BS or is he content to go along with the dishonesty? It doesn’t really matter and Starnes intellectual deficits are such that it is impossible to know. I am going to skip around a bit:

American Family Association blasted the CNN story calling it a “sham news article that could easily incite violence and place AFA employees and supporters in harm’s way.”

AFA can call it tzimmes (carrot soup) for all I care. The fact remains that AFA is a virulent, rabid anti-LGBT hate group and is correctly designated as such by SPLC.

Liberty Counsel President Mat Staver demanded an immediate retraction – calling CNN’s report “false, defamatory and dangerous.”

The very unhinged Mat Staver is addicted to hyperbole (although he has a tendency to believe his own bullshit). The CNN report is not false; it is factually accurate. Ergo the story cannot be defamatory. And it sure as hell isn’t dangerous. The real danger is the one posed by these hate groups to inspire violence against LGBT people. They do and the violence does occur.

“Liberty Counsel is not a hate group,” he said. “The false ‘hate’ label is very damaging to our reputation and is a safety risk to our staff. Liberty Counsel is a Christian ministry, and hates no one.”

Liberty Counsel is most certainly a hate group. It is devoted to denigrating LGBT people and to the proposition that nondiscrimination laws protecting LGBT people are evil and unnecessary. They are surely not evil for the sake of Equal Protection and crazy groups like Liberty Counsel not only make them necessary but essential.

In 2012, Floyd Lee Corkins opened fire inside Family Research Council headquarters in Washington, D.C. A security guard was shot and wounded. … blah, blah, blah.

As a gun violence survivor Corkins offended me. However one nut not connected to the organization does not depict the character of an organization that has stood for non-violence for decades. A guard sustained a minor injury. How many people have Christian crazies killed starting with the three at Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs in 2015? How many LGBT kids get beaten up and degraded because of these hate groups?

Every time people insist on using the wrong pronouns regarding transgender people at the behest of these groups, someone is doing violence to a sexual minority. And they only do so because they know that they are offending already marginalized individuals.

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins appeared on my nationally syndicated radio show Thursday to condemn CNN for using material from an organization that is “an attack dog of the Left.”

“They are not a neutral arbiter that is calling balls and strikes. They are on the field – playing. They are pushing an agenda and anyone who opposes them – they slap a label on them,” Perkins told me.

The hate group label has nothing whatsoever to do with how one feels about the Southern Poverty Law Center. Hate groups are deemed hate groups for what they perniciously do to minorities. Perkins claims that SPLC in not neutral because he is a hate group leader who refuses to clean up his act. It is probably good for donations and Perkins is a cynic.

“They (SPLC) are inciting violence and it needs to stop,” he added.

That BS doesn’t play for most people and it is coming from someone with some major question marks. If Perkins was not a Klansman he is certainly a sympathizer and a friend of David Duke it seems. He lacks the standing to criticize others and there is no evidence that SPLC is inciting violence.

Liberty Counsel pointed out that had CNN done due diligence they would have discovered that the SPLC hate map has been widely discredited.

That is simply false. The goal of these Christian hate groups is to convince people that SPLC has been discredited but it isn’t so. The general public knows that SPLC can be trusted.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation removed the SPLC as a resource in 2014 – during the Obama Administration.

They briefly removed all external links. They are back, including the link to SPLC.

And Liberty Counsel reports that in 2016 the Justice Department reprimanded SPLC’s lawyers for repeating “hate” misinformation.

I would love to see Staver prove that allegation.

Shortly after I called out CNN on my nationally syndicated radio show, they issued an editor’s note:

“The headline on this story has been changed to more closely align with the content of the piece, which clearly indicates that the data on hate groups is from the Southern Poverty Law Center. This story has also been updated to provide direct links to the full list from the SPLC as opposed to publishing the entire list here.”

Right. Take it up with SPLC. These groups are chock full of cash. If they have a case for defamation then they should sue. The problem with that, of course, is that SPLC has taken great pains to document the reasons behind a hate group listing.

That’s not good enough.

That is probably just too fucking bad! These groups should stop acting like hate groups and SPLC will act accordingly.

CNN must retract the entire story and publicly vow to never again use Southern Poverty Law Center’s inflammatory propaganda.

I doubt that they will do that. SPLC is a highly respected group with an impeccable reputation. Take it up with them.

The cold hard reality is that CNN is responsible for placing a target on the backs of well-respected conservative groups and Christian ministries.

Now Starnes is just repeating the bullshit. He knows that is not true and he knows that SPLC would not be responsible for any violence resulting from the hateful actions of these people. By that logic, SPLC should stop monitoring the Klan and Neo-Nazis. It makes no sense. Starnes never makes any sense. He has the intellect of a pumpkin in August.

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By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.