By Ken Oliver | February 28, 2019 1:02 PM EST
The Spanish-language sister network to NBC really made a fool of itself in a story on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC) annual “Year in Hate” report. The goal of the tag-team effort by Telemundo and the discredited SPLC was clear: blame President Trump and white supremacism as being responsible for an alarming increase in hate crimes and hate groups across the nation.
The only problem was, incredibly, none of the three examples Telemundo used actually fit the proposed narrative. Watch Telemundo anchor José Díaz-Balart and the SPLC’s Heidi Beirich in Keystone Cops mode, as they set up the anti-Trump narrative, but are undermined by the actual report, which features two alleged African-American attacks on Hispanics.
The third strike (and Telemundo is out) came when correspondent Francisco Cuevas deceptively cited the case of “the director of a newspaper publicly called a few days ago for the return of the Ku Klux Klan.” What Cuevas failed to mention is that the referenced buffoonish editorial had nothing to do with calling for racial violence, but instead was directed against tax-raising politicians in Alabama. The editor in question, incidentally, has since handed the reigns of the newspaper over to an African-American.
By the SPLC’s own reckoning, President Trump should actually be taking credit for what turns out to be the across-the-board collapse of America’s historic white supremacist hate groups. Now how’s this for MAGA: according to the SPLC, the Klan is currently so decrepit that it appears to be on its “last legs” having fallen from more than 130 KKK groups under President Obama in 2016 to 72 by the end of President Trump’s first year in 2017 and only 51 remaining at the end of Trump’s second year in 2018.
Also unreported was that the supposed growth in Neo Nazi groups, featured with such alarm by Univision in that network’s coverage of the SPLC’s 2017 report, also fell in 2018 to 112 groups, down nine from the 121 groups reported in 2017. Racist skinheads, likewise, are also having tough times under Trump. The SPLC finds them to be “dying out”, falling from their Obama high water mark of 138 groups across the U.S. in 2012 to only 63 under President Trump in 2018.
Even the SPLC acknowledges that since the deadly 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, white nationalist hate groups have “largely retreated” from public activism.
Finally, it must be noted that the entire SPLC “hate group” project is a mess and a sham, totally undeserving of the acritical coverage Telemundo and other national news outlets give it. As we pointed out last year, conservative leaders have consistently warned the media that the SPLC’s annual hate group report is simply not credible.
Further, many of the “hate” groups in the U.S. classified by the SPLC as “anti-Muslim”, such as ACT for America, the Center for Security Policy and Jihad Watch, 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.
To see the full transcript of the above-referenced report that aired on the February 21, 2019 edition of Noticias Telemundo, click “expand.”
February 21, 2019
6:39:21 PM – 6:41:25 PM
JOSÉ DIAZ-BALART, ANCHOR, TELEMUNDO: The United States lives times of hatred. Crimes against Latinos and other minorities have had a record increase, and many attribute it to the anti-immigrant rhetoric of President Trump. There have been very extreme attacks like the one suffered by a father and son at the hands of a man who wanted to kill Mexicans. Francisco Cuevas reports.
FRANCISCO CUEVAS, CORRESPONDENT, TELEMUNDO: In Utah a hate crime could finally be punished. Alan Dale was already indicted on three charges in a federal court for attacking a father and son last year, while shouting that he wanted to kill a Mexican. Now he could face life imprisonment. 2018 was a year in which hate attacks soared to levels never seen before, and according to many President Donald Trump has unleashed the demons.
PACO MORENO, COUNCIL OF MEXICAN FEDERATIONS IN NORTH AMERICA (COFEM): Because of that permission that President Donald Trump is giving to racists.
CUEVAS: The report from the Southern Poverty Law Center, a group in charge of combating and reporting hate and intolerance, indicates that the number of extremist groups has gradually increased with the arrival of President Trump to power and reached its highest level in 2018, with a historic increase of 30%.
ARTURO CARMONA, POLITICAL ANALYST (FORMER DEPUTY POLITICAL DIRECTOR FOR BERNIE SANDERS): He’s fostered the surge and emergence of racist groups everywhere.
CUEVAS: The FBI also reported a 30% increase in hate crimes, like the one suffered last year by 92-year-old Rodolfo Rodríguez. The woman who hit him with a brick shouted at him to return to Mexico. In Alabama, the director of a newspaper publicly called a few days ago for the return of the Ku Klux Klan, something unthinkable a few years ago.
HEIDI BEIRICH, SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER: Trump has given a voice to the ire and paranoia of white supremacists
CUEVAS: And San Francisco, Chicago, Houston, Dallas and Seattle registered their highest numbers of hate crimes in a decade. Unfortunately, many cases are not reported because the victims are undocumented immigrants. In Los Angeles, California, Francisco Cuevas, Telemundo News.