Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center is strangely sensitive to anti-Muslim group ACT for America being described as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center -- perhaps because group leader Brigitte Gabriel has been a featured speaker on its cruise junkets. Plus, it feeds into the MRC's combined victimhood/SPLC-bashing narrative:
- In a Feb. 20 item, Matt Philbin identified ACT For America as among the allegedly "distinctly non-hate-based groups" that "have been slimed by SPLC." Philbin did not explain what made ACT for America "distinctly non-hate-based" or how, exactly, the SPLC "slimed" it.
- On Feb. 27, Corinne Weaver cited ACT for America as among groups "banned" from accepting money through PayPal as an "insidious form of social media censorship" and attacked the SPLC as a "once-noble organization has become a left-wing direct-mail giant."
- A Feb. 28 post by MRC Latino's Ken Oliver insisted that anti-Muslim groups like ACT for America aren't anti-Muslim because, well, they say the aren't, since they "would counter that they are the ones actually fighting the single greatest menace of hate in our day: that of radical Islamic terrorism, which actively seeks to perpetrate (and regularly takes credit for) horrific acts of murder and mayhem throughout the world."
Philbin returned on March 7 to do more heavy-lifting defense of the group. he attacked a "hatchet job" in Roll Call noting that ACT for Americca "was once found to have ties to a longtime neo-Nazi." The article added regarding a 2017 "March Against Sharia" series of rallies put on by the group: "Longtime neo-Nazi Billy Roper organized the Arkansas event for the group, according to the SPLC. Roper once served as the state leader of the National Alliance, a now defunct neo-Nazi group that agitated for Jewish genocide. ACT subsequently disavowed Roper."
Start spinning away, Matt:
Here’s what really occurred: A man named Billy Roper volunteered to organize the June 10 March. ACT found out before the event that Roper was a white supremacist and was planning to glom his Shield Wall Network’s own demonstration on to ACT’s. ACT canceled the March and Roper was “permanently banned from any affiliation with our organization.” Nothing happened “subsequently.”
From there, Philbin descends into an anti-SPLC screed, ranting that it's "a lefty hate group that makes money screaming 'Hate Group' at anyone to the right of The World Workers Party. These include mainstream Christian and religious freedom groups." Philbin did not identify what, exactly, is "mainstream" about ACT for America.
Philbin also huffed: "The group’s also inspired more political violencethan any conservative 'hate' mongers it’s slandered." His evidence for that was a PJ Media article that tried to blame James Hodgkinson's shooting spree on the SPLC solely because he "liked" it on Facebook, which was somehow deemed to be "moral support."
And, no, Philbin didn't disclose the MRC's closeness with Gabriel and ACT for America.