Letters to the editor June 20

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Pretend crusade against hatred and bigotry

In Sunday’s Inter Lake a letter from Janet Walters of Lakeside called attention to the recent exposure of the long running flim-flam perpetrated by the so-called Southern Poverty Law Center that solicits donations based on its supposed tracking and monitoring of “hate groups” — the lion’s share of the proceeds from which support the lavish lifestyle of the SPLC leaders and goes into offshore bank accounts controlled by that leadership.

Walters makes reference to a New Yorker article by Bob Moser, but that recent article is only one of numerous articles that have appeared over the last several years and are readily available to any investigative journalist who isn’t either dense and lazy or has an ideological axe to grind that makes him or her ignore this public record. Another recent article reports that SPLC has surpassed a half billion dollars in total assets and now has $121 million parked offshore.

The SPLC is first and foremost a swindle bilking well-meaning people by pretending to crusade against hatred and bigotry. These kinds of cons are not the exclusive territory of the left. The right has more than its share of similar grifters. The June 3 Morning Jolt by National Review writer Jim Geraghty was a scathing indictment of “The Right’s Grifter Problem.”

But the offenses of the SPLC go way beyond conning donors out of their hard-earned money. Along with striking an absurd pose as supposed heroes for opposing poisonous ideas and outfits that everyone except a lunatic fringe rejects — Nazis, the KKK, etc. — SPLC also smears and slanders decent conservative journalists like Dennis Prager and Ben Shapiro as haters, ridiculously labeling these Jewish commentators as “alt right.”

In a lame Editor’s Note appended to Walters’ letter, the Inter Lake editor says it is “worth noting that the reporter reached out” to the organizations labeled as hate groups by SPLC. But that is beside the point. The way the reporter failed was in not doing even a modicum of homework on the organization the article treated as a revered authority. There is a significant difference between the intentional deceit and malice of the SPLC and the intellectual sloth of the reporter and the Inter Lake editor, but both are sorry examples of the fake news that gets served up daily in the U.S. mass media these days.

I’m not even bothering to take up the inane editorial boasting about an (imaginary) “push back against hate” in the Flathead Valley.

—Lee W. Smith, Somers

Law Center committed to doing the right thing

A June 16 letter attacking the Southern Poverty Law Center deserves a brief response - even one from out of state.

Attacking the SPLC ad hominem is pointless. I have yet to see one of the listed hate groups write something in the form:

•This is what the SPLC says about us.

•This is why the SPLC is factually incorrect.

The SPLC bases its decisions on conduct including the organization’s own words.

These hate groups promote messages that attempt to marginalize and denigrate minority groups and they attempt to impose their divisive beliefs on public policy.

I know a number of executives at the SPLC. They are hard working people who make a good faith effort to make the world a better place by reducing intolerance.

There was some recent internal strife at the SPLC which engendered the departure of the organization’s founder and its CEO. How many organizations are willing or even able to do that. They did so - and they do the many other things - because they are committed to doing the right thing.

— David Hart, Miami Beach, Florida

Definition of hate

Really? A front-page article reflecting the opinions of a discredited, corrupt, far-left organization like Southern Poverty Law Center regarding “hate.”

Is the Inter Lake not aware that the Law Center’s credibility has been destroyed in the last two years in particular? Our society is currently so divided on so many issues that I find it disturbing the Inter Lake, by printing such propaganda, is part of the problem, not the solution. The definition of hate is so subjective that no organization should try to claim the right to define who “hates.”

Labeling organizations in Montana as “hate” groups is just plain flat wrong when so many “hate” groups are left off of Southern Poverty’s list. For example, where is Black Lives Matter, the violent and destructive group that burned and looted so many cities? Or how about the groups that “hate” guns and continually try to do away with our Second Amendment rights? You could add to the list the pipeline protestors who “hate” oil enough to cause tens of millions of dollars worth of damage.

There is no mention of Islamic groups formed from a political/religious movement which is one of the most “hateful,” intolerant and violent groups in history. And why not list the misandrist (hate of men) women’s groups who have reduced much of our younger male population to a collection of whiners, weenies and wimps (as one author puts it). And let’s not forget the groups on our university campuses who “hate” anything conservative who will riot in order to silence certain speakers. And finally, how about all those groups and people who “hate” Trump enough to keep our Congress from doing anything meaningful. I could continue but enough is enough to show how subjective the definition of “hate” can be.

I know it is hard for journalists in this day and age to be objective (are there any conservatives employed at the Inter Lake?) But making front page, splashy articles formed from trolling obvious far-left propaganda sites does nothing to bring us together and in fact, drives us further apart. I would like to see the Inter Lake be part of the solution by objectively exploring and presenting diverse opinions to its membership without labels or “hateful” adjectives. Otherwise someday from some other extreme site, the Inter Lake may itself by labeled a “hate group” worthy of condemnation.

— Mark Agather, Kalispell

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