One year ago, a gunman walked into the lobby of the Family Research Council, determined to kill everyone inside and smear Chick-fil-A sandwiches in their faces. He was egged on by accusations from the liberal Southern Poverty Law Center that this group of conservatives was a "hate group." Thankfully, the building manager managed to subdue this would-be murderer, despite getting wounded in the process.
But, after this member of a "hate group" disarmed the man who shot him and wanted to kill him, he decided not to pull the trigger. "God spoke to me and told me not to take his life," recalled Johnson, the building manager for the Family Research Council. "That's not the act of someone who's a hater, or involved with a hate group. I could have easily done to him what he tried to do to me and all of my colleagues."
The shooting itself received almost no coverage when it happened, and the media continued to promote the SPLC, calling it "one of the most knowledgeable sources in the country." ABC and NBC have interviewed SPLC spokespeople as reliable sources seven times since the shooting. Print journalism was even worse, with The New York Times and the Washington Post citing SPLC experts 40 times, while only mentioning the connection between SPLC and the shooter once.
Predictably, the SPLC - which claims it is "dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry" - refused to take any responsibility for the part its map and its rhetoric played in the shooting, even though it has been among the first to blame similar incidents on right-wing "vitriol." It claimed such accusations from "the FRC and its allies on the religious right" were "outrageous." FRC continues to be listed on the SPLC's "hate map" to this day, the very map which the shooter, Floyd Corkins, admitted to FBI interrogators helped him choose his targets.
Meanwhile, the organization sits on an impressive stockpile of more than $256.5 million, ensuring that it can continue to brand conservatives as haters for years to come.