The recent murders of local prosecutors in a north Texas county -- possibly at the hands of white supremacists -- was the news hook for MSNBC's The Cycle to bring Heidi Beirich of the left-leaning Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) on to the April 2 program. In introducing the guest and justifying her expertise, co-host Ari Melber merely described the SPLC as "a group that documents that state of hate groups in America." [video follows page break; MP3 audio here]
It fell to token conservative co-host S.E. Cupp to remind viewers that SPLC leans to the left and has been criticized by conservatives for "smearing religious and far-right groups and ignoring far-left hate groups." "Shouldn't people be aware of your ideological biases before they take seriously [SPLC's] claims of who they should be afraid of?" Cupp argued. A bemused Beirich insisted she had to "dispute the notion of the question on its premise," adding that:
CNN let the liberal Southern Poverty Law Center brand many right-wing "patriot" groups as "extremist" and racist on Friday afternoon. CNN host Brooke Baldwin simply listened to the SPLC talking points and concernedly asked what was being done to "combat" the "paranoia" of "anti-government activism."
The SPLC had previously placed the Family Research Council alongside Klan members and neo-Nazis in a list of "hate" groups, but CNN did not question their study then. They continued to accept their liberal "expertise" on Friday, not challenging whether certain groups belonged in the "extremist" category. [Video below the break.]