Sunday, February 24

Appeal to Authority Hit Piece

AZ Central smears civil liberties organization with a
blatant appeal to authority fallacy.
Reporters are supposed to report -- give factual accounts of what has occurred. Much of the time they do, but in doing so they can distort reality and still hide behind the excuse that they are just reporting the facts. Getting  to the truth sometimes requires more work than a lot of reporters are willing to perform, especially if it would lead to conclusions contrary to their prejudices.

A February 9, 2019 story on AZ Central entitled "Arizona's 'In God We Trust' license plates fund anti-LGBT group" is a case in point. The piece is about Arizona Sen. Juan Mendez' recently introduced legislation, Senate Bills 1462 and 1463, which would address what Senator Mendez, an atheist, considers to be problems with the current law: it allows funds to go to a faith-based organization, people who want an "In God WeTrust" plate wouldn't want their money to go to a conservative Christian organization, and finally, that the organization, Scottsdale-based Alliance Defending Freedom, is a hate-based charity.

The issue with this article is the reporter's completely unchallenged use of the Southern Poverty Law Center's supposed "last word" authority in determining which organizations are "hate groups." The reporter, Ryan Randazzo, relies on the SPLC's web site designating ADF as a hate group because the Center says ADF has (as described by the reporter) "anti-LGBT views and claims that a 'homosexual agenda' will destroy society."

Randazzo does not explore these claims to see whether they are accurate, and secondly, whether such claims would actually make the Alliance Defending Freedom guilty of "hate." Disagreeing with any groups' goals has never equated with hating those who hold opposing views. In fact, holding any sort of views in support of traditional marriage and the nuclear family is enough reason to be included on the list of "hate groups" on SPLC's "hate map," right alongside the Ku Klux Klan and the American Nazi Party.

Randazzo also conveniently leaves out facts which would tend to undermine any credibility that the SPLC might have. And there is plenty of evidence, like a $3.375 million judgment against the self-appointed arbiters of socially correct viewpoints. The court awarded that sum in response to a similar smear against Maajid Nawaz for his opposition to Islamic extremism. No mention was made of the SPLC's role in the armed attack on the Family Research Council, a Washington, DC based organization in support of the family, or how Republican candidate for president in 2014, Ben Carson, was placed on their "extremist watch list." Public outcry forced them to apologize and remove him from the list that also contained neo-Nazis and KKKers. Randazzo apparently forgot to mention the RICO lawsuit filed in January by the Center for Immigration Studies against SPLC, if he even bothered to do a simple Google search on the organization's mounting legal problems. Perhaps those who depend on SPLC as a smear tool will also be held accountable for libelous statements in the near future.

The reporter also failed to mention ADF's impressive record. They have won fully 80% of their cases and have won 54 cases they have argued in front of the United States Supreme Court, hardly the track record one would expect from a ragtag group of hate-filled extremists.