Talk:Southern Poverty Law Center

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Why is mention of Silverstein's criticism being taken out of the article? In addition to the references removed, see the following secondary sources that mention his work on the SPLC.

And the Politico article referenced elsewhere in the article mentions him too: * NPalgan2 (talk) 21:34, 17 September 2019 (UTC)

Your first source says that not all criticism comes from white supremacists. "Left-wing commentators such as [Cockburn and Silverstein] have argued that...." Note that left-wing in this context does not mean Clinton Democrats, but editors of a magazine that is well outside the mainstream of U.S. politics, and conflates hate groups, mainstream liberal and conservatives, democratic socialists and other left-wing groups as agents of American imperialism. The phrasing of the text however casts the criticism as coming from the mainstream and hence is misleading. TFD (talk) 22:03, 17 September 2019 (UTC)
Just to be clear, by "a magazine that is well outside the mainstream of U.S. politics, and conflates hate groups, mainstream liberal and conservatives, democratic socialists and other left-wing groups as agents of American imperialism" do you mean harper's or the nation? In any case, the New Yorker article, Politico and both reference works I cite mention Silverstein's criticism as notable. NPalgan2 (talk) 22:27, 17 September 2019 (UTC)
How are either Harper's or The Nation substantially outside the mainstream? They're both national institutions and the latter was even endorsed by Obama.GPRamirez5 (talk) 23:09, 17 September 2019 (UTC)
Sorry. Since you consider it important to include Silverstein's opinions, I thought you were familiar with his biography. I was referring to CounterPunch, which was founded by Cockburn and Silverstein. Also, when you quote policy, could you please do so correctly. Notability is about article creation. It has nothing to do with what goes into an article. That is covered under Due and undue weight. And whether or not we include Sikverstein's opinions, we should not falsely imply that they are coming from the mainstream. TFD (talk) 03:17, 18 September 2019 (UTC)
Politico, the New Yorker and the two encyclopedias establish dueness. They didn't feel the need to say that Silverstein was not your preferred flavour of "mainstream", so why should we? NPalgan2 (talk) 04:03, 18 September 2019 (UTC)
I think the fact that his opinion has been reported in reliable sources means that it should be considered. But what wzs wrong about the the text was that it misrepresented the degree of support for the opinion. It pretends that it is a prevalent view among anyone to the left of the Family Research Council, when it is a minority view of the extreme left of the U.S. spectrum. Note that every attack article in right-wing blogs mentions Silverstein. But there's no one else who might be considered progressive who has expressed these views and been reported in reliable sources. TFD (talk) 04:12, 18 September 2019 (UTC)
"The great Southern journalist John Egerton, writing for The Progressive, had painted a damning portrait of Dees, the center’s longtime mastermind, as a “super-salesman and master fundraiser” who viewed civil-rights work mainly as a marketing tool for bilking gullible Northern liberals." "The Southern Center for Human Rights, an Atlanta group specializing in death penalty defense, is one of a number of poverty law organizations that are upset with the SPLC for raising so much money and doing so little (in their view) for poor people and people of color. " NPalgan2 (talk) 04:22, 18 September 2019 (UTC)
That's very interesting but you still need to explain which segment of U.S. opinion holds that view and how prevalent it is. I can probably find one writer who says that watermelon causes cancer but unless there is widespread support for that view I cannot add it to the watermelon article for balance. TFD (talk) 06:49, 18 September 2019 (UTC)
You may think those on the left who criticize the SPLC are as fringe as people who think watermelon cures cancer, but then your quarrel is with the reliable secondary sources. My suggested wording: “Some on the left, such as journalists John Egerton and Ken Silverstein and Yale law professor Stephen Bright have criticized what they have described as the SPLC's deceptive fundraising appeals and finances. NPalgan2 (talk) 15:18, 18 September 2019 (UTC)

Bit unsure about this, if the sources said "and left wingers like..." I might have no issue with the text, but this looks a bit sysnthy to me "X says Bert Terrible is left wing, Bert says SPLC eat cats therefore we can say some left wingers say SPLC eats cats". Nor do I think attribution solves this.Slatersteven (talk) 15:25, 18 September 2019 (UTC)
Some of the sources above label various individual critics as things like "progressive" or "liberal", etc. I don't think it matters if it's just "Journalists John Egerton and Ken Silverstein and Yale law professor Stephen Bright have criticized ..." NPalgan2 (talk) 15:34, 18 September 2019 (UTC)
Then we have a problem, Left may not mean progressive or liberal.Slatersteven (talk) 15:37, 18 September 2019 (UTC)
Ok, then how about "Journalists John Egerton and Ken Silverstein and Yale law professor Stephen Bright have criticized ..." NPalgan2 (talk) 15:44, 18 September 2019 (UTC)
Which then neatly takes us back to undue, why is their criticism worthy of inclusion, more so then any other Journalist or Yale Professor (was he one at Yale?)?Slatersteven (talk) 15:49, 18 September 2019 (UTC)
Because respectable news organizations and other sources keep on mentioning them. They decide what's due. Here's another quoting Bright How can a single sentence be UNDUE when it's supported by so many high quality secondary sources? NPalgan2 (talk) 16:08, 18 September 2019 (UTC)
No we decide what is undue based upon polices like wp:undue. You have not shown that their views on SPLC are more due then anyone else who comments on them. Moreover as a one sentence line (about three peoples views) we have no context as to what they were in fact criticizing SPLC for, but to include more then a line may well violate undue as it gives to much weight to three peoples opinion.Slatersteven (talk) 16:19, 18 September 2019 (UTC)
Why is eight high quality sources not enough for you? NPalgan2 (talk) 16:33, 18 September 2019 (UTC)
The montgomery advertiser is a local newspaper. At least one of the books only mention Silverstein (and with fewer words then we use in our sentence). That is what is meant by undue, giving more weight to something then RS do.Slatersteven (talk) 16:50, 18 September 2019 (UTC)
The Montgomery Advertiser was a Pulitzer finalist in the past for its work on the SPLC. And which book do you mean please? NPalgan2 (talk) 16:55, 18 September 2019 (UTC)
This one [[1]]. Also as far as I can tell a few of the other sources only talk about Silverstein, and only in single sentences. Again it is undue to give as much coverage to criticism as RS do, we summarize and you cannot summarize one sentencece without losing context. This as far as I can see has run its course, you do not have consensus and we are just rehashing the same arguments.Slatersteven (talk) 17:03, 18 September 2019 (UTC)
I will add we already cover the finance issue.Slatersteven (talk) 17:06, 18 September 2019 (UTC)

─────────────────────────The first source says first source says that not all criticism comes from white supremacists. "Left-wing commentators such as [Cockburn and Silverstein] have argued that...." By left-wing, it does not mean liberal or progressive. Cockburn and Silverstein were the founders of CounterPunch, which expresses opinions not normally associated with American liberalism or progressivism, such as opposition to gun control and climate change science. That does not mean that their opinions should be ignored, but that they cannot be presented as speaking for liberalism or progressivism. The overwhelming majority of mainstream media (such as ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC News) ignore Cockburn and Silverstein's criticisms and continue to cite the SPLC. Extreme right blogs however continue to quote Cockburn and Silverstein to make the false statement that even liberals and progressives question the SPLC. But this is not an extreme right blog, and we are supposed to accurately represent weight when we present opinions. TFD (talk) 17:34, 18 September 2019 (UTC)

Counterpunch is not relevant. What's relevant is that Silverstein's SPLC reporting was vetted by the progressive editor of Harper's, and consumed without protest by thousands of very liberal Harper's readers.GPRamirez5 (talk) 20:08, 18 September 2019 (UTC)
Also, it is fatuous to claim that, because he has a few non-conforming opinions, that Silverstein isn't progressive. That's like saying that Pat Buchanan, being anti-war and pro-labor, isn't conservative.GPRamirez5 (talk) 20:37, 18 September 2019 (UTC)
Pat Buchanan has also written for Harper's. So has Gus Hall, the former leader of the Communist Party of the U.S. Unlike conservative media, mainstream media in America publish a range of opinions, not just those of their editors and readers. And I would suggest that if we included Pat Buchanan's opinions, we would mention that he is a conservative. We would not however claim that he was speaking for all Republicans. But it's not a good example, because a sizeable number of Republicans hold views similar to Buchanan. If we reported Gus Hall's opinions, we would mention he was a Communist. It is important when political opinions are expressed in news media to identify the ideological orientation of the writers. TFD (talk) 23:32, 18 September 2019 (UTC)

Uh huh. I don't recall Pat Buchanan being a full time Harper's writer and an Open Society Fellow though.GPRamirez5 (talk) 00:12, 19 September 2019 (UTC)

Harper's isn't OAN or wherever you get your news from. They don't enforce rigid ideological conformity. Therefore it is misleading to say that any one of their writers or editors speaks for the magazine and its readers, let alone all of U.S. liberalism and progressivism. In "Shaky Foundations" for example, Silverstein wrote, "The Clintons’ so-called charitable enterprise has served as a vehicle to launder money and to enrich family friends." I don't remember hearing that in Hillary Clinton's nomination speech at the Democratic National Convention the following year. TFD (talk) 00:40, 19 September 2019 (UTC)
I hate to break this to you TFD, but whether or not Hillary Clinton represented progressives is an open question.GPRamirez5 (talk) 01:10, 19 September 2019 (UTC)
But working towards consensus, TFD, you should have no objection to the wording “Some on the left, such as journalists Ken Silverstein [1] have criticized what they have described as the SPLC's deceptive fundraising appeals and finances." GPRamirez5 (talk) 10:56, 19 September 2019 (UTC)
That sounds good. My concern all along was that when we report criticism, we explain where it is coming from and how much support it has, which your suggestion does. TFD (talk) 17:17, 19 September 2019 (UTC)


Southern poverty law center[edit]

The Southern Poverty Law Center has gone to extremes in labeling certain groups as hate groups. They label many Christian Organizations as "hate" groups just because they define marriage as between a man and a woman. These groups do not advocate violence against gays in any way. Even Focus on the Family was labeled a "hate" group because of their Christian view of marriage. Surely the term "hate" group should have some definite meaning beyond disagreeing with someone's politics or stand on marriage. They do label some genuine "hate" groups as "hate" groups. But certainly the question of their judgment on this issue should be reflected in the article in Wikipedia so people will realize that they should not trust Southern Poverty Law Centers' labeling as conclusive. Don't take my word for it. Check out these websites about very mainstream Christian organizations: This article in particular points out the danger of SPLC's reckless labeling of a group as a "hate" group- as their labeling resulted in an extremist shooting someone and attempting a mass shooting at a Group headquarters that SPLC had labeled as a "hate" group. The fact that SPLC is seen by many as a "hate" group itself by labeling as "hate" groups those groups that disagree with them politically; this fact should be explored in the Wikipedia article. As the article stands now it sounds the SPLC can totally trusted to be correct in who they label as "hate" groups. Rogerpkeller (talk) 18:49, 1 October 2019 (UTC)

Violence isn't the only definition of "hate." Would you deny that those groups you mentioned have opposed basic civil rights for LGBT Americans, such as the right to marry, the right to be free from discrimination in employment and public services, and even the right to be free from criminal prosecution? You're right that Focus on the Family hasn't called for violence against LGBT people, but they certainly have called them unworthy of basic civil and human rights and advocated that they be legal targets for discrimination.
A RedState blog is not a reliable source, nor is "The Lid." Our article already discusses the fact that some people disagree with the SPLC's positions. It also discusses the lawsuits, and the fact that the lawsuits have been dismissed. NorthBySouthBaranof (talk) 19:16, 1 October 2019 (UTC)

Acknowledge that the SPLC is a politically progressive organization[edit]

I think we should state at the beginning that "The (SPLC) is an American nonprofit progressive legal advocacy organization. There are both liberal and conservative reliable sources which indicate this.

This should not serve to discredit the SPLC. Wikipedia describes Media Matters for America as a progressive group, and it is still seen as a reliable source. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Drbogatyr (talkcontribs) 00:13, 18 October 2019 (UTC)

The Politico source doesn't say that it's progressive, it says that "progressive" has been used by critics as an attempt to undermine its legitimacy. Since the source specifically doesn't support this label either way, it's not usable for this being a defining trait.
The Washington Post is an opinion article which mentions "young progressives" who work at the SPLC, near the middle of a lengthy article. Again the source isn't specifically saying this applies to the organization, and a passing mention buried in an opinion would be a weak source for several other reasons, even if it did.
The Fox News article doesn't say that SPLC is progressive, it just cites (misrepresents, really) the Politico article. It does, however, specifically accuse supposedly progressive journalists of being "framed" by the SPLC. If the assumption is that a progressive group is targeting other progressives, clearly we would need a lot more context for this to make any sense.
As for the last one, it might be worth discussing whether or not the opinion of historian Peter H. Wood should be included, but all sources are judged in context.
Since most of these sources are weak or totally unusable for this detail, this appears to be seeking sources to support a prior assumption. Instead, sources need to be evaluated and summarized, first, and conclusions based on sources in total.
Discussions about other articles belong on those article's talk pages. Wikipedia strongly favors sources over precedent, so attempting to use how some other group is described to prove a point would be false equivalence, at best. Grayfell (talk) 00:46, 18 October 2019 (UTC)

OK, maybe "progessive" isn't the best-supported term. I found other reliable sources describing it as left-wing, perhaps we should say that. Drbogatyr (talk) 01:40, 18 October 2019 (UTC)

Out of these sources, I think these two have the most neutral point of view: Drbogatyr (talk) 01:57, 18 October 2019 (UTC)

Again, it appears you are googling for sources which support a prior assumption. This is a poor approach, because among other problems, it risks cherry-picking.
Furthermore, "left-wing" and "progressive" are not the same thing. (Many self-described leftists despise progressives and liberals, and these terms aren't particularly good indicators of whether or not someone supports the SPLC). Some news outlets might casually use these terms interchangeably, but this is almost always to contrast them to some ideological opponent. We're not a news outlet rushing to meet a deadline, and we're not specifically trying to contrast this group to some other group, we're attempting to neutrally summarize a group with several decades of complicated history. We should be more thoughtful, and more restrained.
Several of these links above are not reliable, or are very weak for this point for various reasons. Of the "most neutral" last two, the Washington post does not say that SPLC is "left-wing". Instead, it says that tWilliam G. Boykin from the Family Research Council has accused the SPLC of having a "left-wing agenda". The article then explains that the FRC invokes the SPLC as a boogie-man for funding purposes. In other words, it is in the FRC's financial interest to portray the SPLC as ideologically driven, and this context is the only use of the phrase "left-wing". Hopefully it is obvious, but we cannot lie and say that a source supports something it does not. If you have not actually read these sources, you should not be proposing them for this point.
I do not have a subscription to the WSJ, but this is an opinion from their editorial board. If, in context, this is similar to the others, and being an opinion piece, this also seems totally underwhelming. If you have read it, perhaps you can summarize the section which describes them as "far-left". If you have not read it, then you're wasting time by proposing it as a source. Grayfell (talk) 03:07, 18 October 2019 (UTC)
Wrong question. The SPLC was established as an organization working against hate and bigotry, not as a progressive political force. Binksternet (talk) 03:45, 18 October 2019 (UTC)
A lot of conservative sources conflate the terms liberal, progressive, left-wing and far left and to a degree they overlap. But the SPLC is non-partisan and used by reliable news reporting across the political spectrum. TFD (talk) 03:53, 18 October 2019 (UTC)
Personally I do not see either term as an insult I am really not sure what it the aim of using them (and yes I would say they are left wing, as in they oppose many, many right wing values). But we go with what RS say, and I am not sure (if the above is a sample) this is really that well supported.Slatersteven (talk) 08:54, 18 October 2019 (UTC)
I think it is important to state that they are either liberal, progressive, or left wing, because their definitions of "hate speech" are informed by cultural left-wing values. They consider criticism of Islam to be hate speech, even when it comes from ex-Muslims like Ayaan Hirsi Ali. They consider all three major American immigration restriction lobbies (CIS, FAIR, NumbersUSA) to be "hate groups" because they disagree with their founder for using racialist talking points, even though he no longer is involved with them, and these lobbies have never advocated profiling immigrants by race. They also believe that quoting the Bible on gay marriage is hate. Again, these are all criticisms that stem from left-of-center beliefs about Islam, immigration, gay marriage. However, it seems to be very difficult to find media sources that accurately discuss this, so I think we should look to some reliable political science journals. Drbogatyr (talk) 15:51, 18 October 2019 (UTC)
The center and even some conservatives opposed many right wing values. Doug Weller talk 12:48, 18 October 2019 (UTC)
I would be interested in any quotes you have found on gay marriage in the Bible because as far as I know it only became an issue in the last twenty years. As I explain below, there is consensus about what constitutes hate and the SPLC is widely accepted as an expert source in identifying them. NumbersUSA btw is not listed as a hate group. You will find that you are more persuasive if you stick to facts rather than making them up. TFD (talk) 06:30, 19 October 2019 (UTC)

Political scientists' classifications of the SPLC[edit]

It is important to state in the intro that the SPLC is a left-of-center group, as many of its hate speech/hate group classifications are based on left wing cultural values. This should not serve to discredit the SPLC or remove its classification as a Reliable Source on wikipedia; the Reliable/Perennial sources list admits that it is a biased and opinionated source, but still considers it Generally Reliable. I personally agree with many of their hate group classifications, for example the National Socialist Movement, the KKK, Nation of Islam, or Christian Identity.

It has been difficult to find a meta-discussion of the SPLC in reliable media sources, so I would suggest looking through various political science journals, and see how they describe the SPLC and its history. Drbogatyr (talk) 16:34, 18 October 2019 (UTC)

The SPLC is not described as a left-of-center group in reliable sources, and in fact their hate group classification is based on universally accepted cultural values, at least in developed countries. All of those countries have hate speech laws which criminalize the type of publications and speech that lead the SPLC to designate organizations as hate groups and the U.S. has hate crime laws which provide additional penalties for crimes motivated by the types of hate that lead the SPLC to designate organizations as hate groups. TFD (talk) 21:57, 18 October 2019 (UTC)
Drbogatyr, you are jumping to a conclusion and then working backward to find support for your conclusion. Wikipedia works the other way: WP:SECONDARY sources are perused by we the editors, and these sources are summarized for the reader. The literature does not support your conclusion. Binksternet (talk) 13:22, 19 October 2019 (UTC)

We only need one thread about their leftyness.Slatersteven (talk) 13:53, 19 October 2019 (UTC)