SPLC Revives the Blacklist Tradition, and the Press Again Plays a Supportive Role

By Jerry Kammer on March 20, 2017

Mark Krikorian, the executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, spoke for all of us here at CIS in his just-published column for the Washington Post. Krikorian wrote in response to the Southern Poverty Law Center's attempt to smear organizations that dissent from its extreme open-borders multiculturalism as "hate groups." The SPLC, which uses the hate group blacklist as one of its fund-raising scams, recently blacklisted CIS.

It was a typically cynical move by the intolerance experts from Alabama, who might as well acknowledge that the true meaning behind their initials is Smears Pathological but Lucrative and Cunning. They prod the press to come running eagerly to take dictation. And they induce credulous donors to reach reflexively for their checkbooks. We have documented that here.

Kirkorian's column identifies the sinister heart of the hate-group campaign. He likens it to the question made infamous in the late 1940s by the House Committee on Un-American Activities: "Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?" That was the era of the witch-hunt that ultimately led to the blacklisting of some 150 Hollywood figures alleged to be supportive of the party. It ruined reputations, wrecked careers, and damaged democracy.

Over the weekend, I listened to the podcast of the recent "Fresh Air" radio program in which the guest was Glenn Frankel and the topic was his new book, High Noon: The Hollywood Blacklist and the Making of an American Classic.

Frankel's central character is the movie's screenwriter, Carl Foreman, who was blacklisted for refusing to cooperate with HUAC. Foreman's principled defiance of the notorious House committee finds a close parallel in the movie "High Noon" as Marshal Will Kane, played by Gary Cooper, steps up to confront a sinister gang of thugs that has intimidated everyone else in town into cowardly retreat.

In his "Fresh Air" interview, Frankel, a Pulitzer Prize-winning former reporter for the Washington Post, made some observations about the press's complicity with HUAC and the propagation of the blacklist. What he described is remarkably similar to the complicity of the reporters who have spread the word of the SPLC's blacklist of hate groups.

"Generally the press took whatever the committee came up with and ran it without really doing the independent reporting to see whether it was truthful or not," Frankel said. Later, using the present tense as a narrative device, he made this indictment of the political reporters of the time: "They become the abettors, if you will, of the folks who are running the blacklist. The assumptions are, 'Well, it's just news.'"

Said Frankel: "[T]hey didn't do the accountability journalism that we demand of the press and that is necessary if they're going to keep powerful institutions like HUAC and the FBI honest."

The SPLC owes much of its power and wealth to the complicity of reporters who parrot hate-group accusations aimed at stifling the national immigration debate. In serving the SPLC, these reporters fail the fundamental journalistic responsibility to expose sham and abuse of power. They have served instead as stenographers for the SPLC. They have aided and abetted the mob from Montgomery as it struts and frets hour after hour on the national stage, posing as a paladin of tolerance even as it spins viciously idiotic tales of click-bait character assassination.

Pathological, lucrative, and cunning indeed.