GuideStar Puts It Back in Neutral and Dumps SPLC Hate Group Banners
It hasn’t been a good two weeks for the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) — or its dwindling number of allies. Late Friday, a week after a second politically-motivated shooter was linked to SPLC, the organization suffered a huge embarrassment when the leadership of GuideStar pulled its “hate group” banners from its charity index. After users flooded the nonprofit tracker with complaints, CEO Jacob Harold announced that it would take down the labels from the pages of organizations like FRC. Ironically, Harold himself has become an issue since GuideStar has held itself out as politically and culturally neutral at the same time as he’s tweeting photos of himself at the anti-Trump Women’s March.
In a lengthy statement, GuideStar distanced itself from the controversial name-calling, saying, “We acknowledge there is a deep, nuanced conversation to be had with Americans of all political, cultural, and religious backgrounds regarding how we address — and identify — hate groups.” GuideStar explained that it had been overwhelmed by feedback from people (including 41 top conservative leaders), “many of whom have presented reasonable disagreements with the way in which this information was presented. We are always open and willing to have conversations with our users and nonprofit groups and welcomed this feedback… Driven by both our commitment to objectivity and our concerns for our staff’s wellbeing — we have decided to remove the SPLC annotations from these 46 organizations for the time being. This change will be implemented during the week of June 26, 2017. In the meantime, we will make this information available to any user on request.”
It was another major blow to SPLC’s credibility, which continues to suffer, even in the mainstream media. While the losses pile up for the so-called “civil rights” group, GuideStar learned a hard lesson about joining forces with an organization highlighted by the assailants in two cases of domestic terrorism. Harold’s group could have avoided this entire controversy if it had stuck to the objectivity that made it one of the country’s top charity raters in the first place.
Unfortunately, GuideStar wrote in its statement, “A significant amount of the feedback we’ve received in recent days has shifted from constructive criticism to harassment and threats directed at our staff and leadership.” At FRC, we’re dismayed to hear that GuideStar has been on the receiving end of those verbal attacks. We don’t take those threats lightly — we report them to the authorities immediately. I encourage GuideStar to do the same, since we know all too well how dangerous they can be.
It will probably take some time for the credibility of the charity index to rebound. As Breitbart pointed out, “The move to use SPLC’s inaccurate information led to GuideStar’s inaccurate smearing of dozens of mainstream conservative organizations as ‘hate groups’ and sparked fierce criticism from top conservatives. The goal of the Left in taking such action is to continue to build organizations that push their progressive leftist agenda. They want to also destroy organizations that challenge that leftist agenda…” Groups like Harold’s should know better than allowing themselves to become an extension of that extremism. Maybe now, organizations will think twice about teaming up with SPLC, a group so radioactive that even the Obama administration backed away.
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