Cultural Caviar

SPLC 2: The Search for More Money

March 08, 2017

For example, Jim Tharpe, the deputy metro editor of The Atlanta Constitution, remarked at a Harvard conference in 1999 about his experiences editing a Pulitzer-nominated series on the SPLC for the Montgomery Advertiser:

I had no idea how sophisticated they were, how much money they raised, and how little access you have to them as a reporter….

Our series was published in 1995 after three years of very brutal research under the threat of lawsuit the entire time….

The center was building up a huge surplus…. A sampling of their donors showed that they had no idea of the center’s wealth. The charity watchdog groups, the few that are in existence, had consistently criticized the center, even though nobody had reported that.

Ironically:

There was a problem with black employees at what was the nation’s richest civil rights organization; there were no blacks in the top management positions. Twelve out of the 13 black current and former employees we contacted cited racism at the center, which was a shocker to me.

In the end:

The story really didn’t get out of Montgomery and that’s a real problem. The center’s donors are not in Montgomery; the center’s donors are in the Northeast and on the West Coast.

Similarly, Ken Silverstein wrote in Harper’s in 2000 in “The Church of Morris Dees”:

Cofounded in 1971 by civil rights lawyer cum direct-marketing millionaire Morris Dees…“He’s the Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker of the civil rights movement,” renowned anti-death-penalty lawyer Millard Farmer says of Dees, his former associate, “though I don’t mean to malign Jim and Tammy Faye.”

Silverstein noted:

The Ku Klux Klan, the SPLC’s most lucrative nemesis, has shrunk from 4 million members in the 1920s to an estimated 2,000 today, as many as 10 percent of whom are thought to be FBI informants. But news of a declining Klan does not make for inclining donations to Morris Dees and Co., which is why the SPLC honors nearly every nationally covered “hate crime” with direct-mail alarums full of nightmarish invocations of “armed Klan paramilitary forces” and “violent neo-Nazi extremists”…

As Mencius Moldbug observed in 2013:

In a country where witch-hunting is a stable and lucrative career, and also an amateur pastime enjoyed by millions of hobbyists on the weekend, we know there are no real witches worth a damn.

Morris has dredged up so much money fighting the barely existent KKK that the SPLC has built in downtown Montgomery the “Poverty Palace,” which looks like a six-story trailer crossed with a secret police academy from the movie Brazil.

Yet the SPLC still goes out of its way to tar worthy scientists and conservationists, such as three-time Democratic governor of Colorado Richard Lamm. Dees gives the impression that he can’t control his own urges to pander and slander no matter how obviously devious his actions seem to objective observers.

Now 80, Morris is, at last report, onto his fifth wife.

Perhaps the first large-scale article on the SPLC to capture just how funny it is that this junk-mail-monger is treated seriously by the press was Charlotte Allen’s “King of Fearmongers” in The Weekly Standard.

Morris’ lavishly funded operation has been out to ruin my career for more than a dozen years now, but I have to say that I find him a likable knave. He’s both a force of nature and a tasteless buffoon, as the 60-photo lifestyle spread on his luxury estate in the Montgomery Advertiser illustrated. Ironically, Dees makes Trump seem as careful as Charles Murray.

Over the years, Morris’ racket has come to resemble Mel Brooks’ title for a proposed sequel to his Star Wars parody, Spaceballs:

Spaceballs 2: The Search for More Money.

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