Friday, July 14, 2017

Mollie Hemingway added her usual BS to the ABC/ADF "story"

Accurate reporting doesn't require Hemingway's approval. It would have been biased not to reference Alliance Defending Freedom's designation as a hate group.”
Mollie Hemingway
Mollie Hemingway, writer at The Federalist, has a spectacularly overrated intellect and a hallmark of her writing is intellectual dishonesty. Consider her post Thursday titled: “ABC News: Christians Who Believe In The First Amendment Are A ‘Hate Group’.” Did I mention that Hemingway is persistently intellectually dishonest?

No, Ms. Hemingway, this has nothing to do with the First Amendment. Christians who routinely denigrate and attempt to marginalize LGBT people are, indeed, a “Hate Group.” In this case that would be Alliance Defending Freedom. 

Surely Hemingway will cite SPLC's reasons for the designation and then rebut them. Surely she will attack this head on. Surely Ms. Hemingway has the intellectual horsepower to demonstrate, with specifics, exactly why SPLC's designation is unfair. Nope. Not a single link to, or quote from, Southern Poverty Law Center.

What she offers instead is fog. For example:
ABC News’ Pete Madden and Erin Galloway smeared Christians who believe the Bill of Rights secures religious liberty as a “hate group,” in an article this week headlined, “Jeff Sessions addresses ‘anti-LGBT hate group,’ but DOJ won’t release his remarks.” The lede of the story made it clear this was not just the work of a rogue headline writer but the failure of the reporters themselves:
Attorney General Jeff Sessions delivered a speech to an alleged hate group at an event closed to reporters on Tuesday night, but the Department of Justice is refusing to reveal what he said.

First, a note that you can — and should — read the prepared remarks of the Attorney General here at The Federalist.
Nice try. She is trying to claim a factual error on ABC's part. At least that is the intended inference. On Thursday Sessions released (after considerable outrage) what he purports to be a transcript of his remarks at ADF. ABC's story was published the prior day and was accurate at that time. Trump makes me a cynic and Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, III is a known bigot. We have no idea what Sessions said because the press was excluded from the event. Imagine the hair-on-fire reaction if Hillary Clinton had an off-the-record meeting with Council of American-Islamic Relations. But I digress.

Getting back to Ms. Hemingway:
Who is this “hate group”? Alliance Defending Freedom is not a hate group at all, but a civil liberties organization that battles for religious liberty. And they’re not a fringe group either. They just weeks ago won their most recent Supreme Court victory — Trinity Lutheran v. Comer — 7-2. It was their fifth Supreme Court victory in seven years, during which time they’ve had no losses at the high court.
That's lovely but it has no bearing on whether or not Alliance Defending Freedom is a hate group.
And the group is ranked among the top law firms in the country for its successes at the Supreme Court.
That is not only irrelevant to whether or not ADF is a hate group but it is an inaccurate portrayal. The link is to ADF's website.
To characterize such an accomplished civil rights group as a ‘hate group’ is unacceptable and inexcusable. It boggles the mind why ABC News, in the midst of cratering credibility, would disparage Christian efforts in favor of religious liberty in such a mendacious way.
Again, Hemingway has not offered a shred of evidence. The fact that ADF is a Christian advocacy organization does not mean that it is not a hate group. Any Klansman will proudly proclaim that his organization is fighting for Christian principles. Moreover, this disregards the fact that ADF defines religious liberty as the right to discriminate. They rabidly oppose all laws that offer nondiscrimination protections to LGBT people.
How in the world did this happen?

Well, for some reason ABC News chose to wholly adopt the Southern Poverty Law Center’s framing for the significance of the attorney general’s speech to the group.
It is germane to the story. Sessions was addressing a controversial group and the press was barred. Moreover, that is just more intellectual dishonesty. ABC did not adopt anything. They accurately reported that the leading tracker of hate groups in the country, SPLC, designated Alliance Defending Freedom as a hate group. So did NBC (assuming that the linked-to affiliate is representative).
Here’s why reporters such as Pete Madden and Erin Galloway should be wary before slightly rewriting SPLC press releases and passing off the work as their own. SPLC previously had a reservoir of credibility based on a history of good work exposing legitimately nefarious individuals and groups. In recent years, however, that reservoir has all but dried up as SPLC has gone after reasonable groups it merely disagrees with politically but labels as hate groups. It engages in this campaign while ignoring serious problems on the left.
That is all opinion, not fact. It lacks both evidence and examples. Hemingway is stating opinion as fact and that is just more intellectual dishonesty.
SPLC has the gall to list the Family Research Council as a “hate group,” for instance, even after an SPLC follower used an SPLC “hate map” to locate the Family Research Council offices in Washington, D.C., and commit an act of terrorism and attempted mass murder against the group. Thankfully, the SPLC-inspired terrorist was stopped by the security guard he shot when he arrived. Read all about that incident here.
This is both intellectually dishonest and intellectually vacuous. Hemingway is parroting an audacious argument by Tony Perkins. I do not expect Hemingway to consider the amount of violence that FRC has inspired by claiming that gay men are pedophiles and predators. However, to suggest that SPLC bears some responsibility for the actions of a crazy person is just dumb. To further suggest that it should affect SPLC's hate group designation is stunningly stupid. Again, there is no reference to SPLC's reasons for designating FRC as a hate group. Just more meaningless, idiotic demagoguery. This has nothing whatsoever to do with Alliance Defending Freedom's designation as a hate group.

This is followed by moronically blaming SPLC for the Scalise shooting because the shooter liked SPLC on Facebook. As a victim of gun violence myself I am among the last people to deflect blame or motivation for a shooting. Yet this is just nonsense and, again, it has nothing whatsoever to do with Alliance Defending Freedom's designation as a hate group.
It’s not just Christians who SPLC targets. SPLC also faces legal action for placing British Muslim author and counter-extremism activist Maajid Nawaz on an anti-Muslim “hate list.”
The above is a template for intellectual dishonesty and intellectual laziness:
  1. It is inaccurate. Maajid Nawaz is labeled an anti-Muslim extremist. That is not a hate list.
  2. There is no link to SPLC's analysis of Nawaz
  3. Hemingway provides no counterpoint to SPLC's analysis.
  4. Anyone can sue anyone for anything. Noting it as an argument (rather than a pertinent fact) is misleading.
  5. This has nothing to do with Alliance Defending Freedom's designation as a hate group.
ABC News can certainly quote the Southern Poverty Law Center’s extreme views, but it shouldn’t build a story around the wholesale acceptance of their flawed premises. That turns journalism into anti-religious propaganda on behalf of a partisan group. Media outlets do not want to be perceived as enemies of average Americans. They should avoid giving people reason to view them as just that.
  • There is not one example of an extreme view quoted and countered.
  • There is not one example of what Hemingway calls flawed premises. The fact that she doesn't like Christians being labeled as haters is not evidence of flawed premises.
  • Calling a Christian group a hate group is not anti-religious. It is anti-hate.
  • By definition, propaganda is biased and misleading. Hemingway has not provided a single example of bias on behalf of SPLC. In this case to do that she has to take on precisely what SPLC has written about Alliance Defending Freedom. Either Hemingway lacks the intellectual horsepower or is too lazy to do so. Or, perhaps, it is inarguable.
  • Average Americans? The very fact that two-thirds of our citizenry supports marriage equality suggests that they have dismissed the assertions of these hate groups. 
  • Accurate reporting doesn't require Hemingway's approval. It would have been biased not to reference Alliance Defending Freedom's designation as a hate group.
As I said, Hemingway combines an over-rated intellect with intellectual dishonesty. The result is a predictable train-wreck of a polemic.

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