Last year, Southern Poverty Law Center’s Spring “Intelligence Report” exposed hate groups, focusing on “patriot movements.” The same ‘Issue 145’ profiled online spaces for Men’s Rights Activism as “woman hating,” and it’s posted to SPLC’s website.
It references Manboobz.com as a source, which accounts for why pick-up artist urls are next to MRA websites and the term “manosphere.” Manboobz.com is a self-described site for mockery. In April, posts about MRA website A Voice for Men used images of the KKK and Nazi symbols.*
In saying Manboobz.com is a “resource” (with a url), SPLC puts their organization’s endorsement on the content. Southern Poverty Law Center is an organization of legal professionals, backed by lawyers. In effect, content for mockery in one space is turned into information.
A blog can now cite Southern Poverty Law Center as a credible source. KKK and Nazi associations–which also appear on SPLC’s “Hate and Extremism” page–are in a new context.
Ryan Holiday, in his book Trust Me I’m lying, calls the cross-referencing of links recursion. Now other blogs, like in this piece from The Good Men Project, use SPLC in their coverage of Men’s Rights Activists.
A consequence of this kind of loose association is the language of a protest group who clashed with MRAs in Toronto last month. Through a megaphone, they shouted “Racist, Sexist, Anti-Gay!” and accused MRAs of being a “front group for white supremacists.”
At a new level of recursion, ABC’s 20/20 is sourcing part of its news story about MRAs and A Voice for Men to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Description of an “underbelly” alludes to SPLC’s “underworld.” (There’s a quote.) The editor-in-chief of SPLC’s “Intelligence Report,” Mark Potok is quoted as an “expert.”
The promo video shows an anchor woman wearing a distressed facial expression questioning A Voice for Men‘s Paul Elam. With a Southern accent, he talks about “a change in the world in the last 50 years…”
Mark Potok was interviewed in 2012 by Abby Martin on Breaking the Set. She asked:
“When you juxtapose these groups… when you characterize them as groups that one should be watching out for… put them under this blanket next to hate groups… Do you think this does any damage?”
- Caitlin Moran’s Feminism Box - December 14, 2013
- My Tweet to Lena Dunham, Re: Feminism, Ableism - December 4, 2013
- Recursion: SPLC Sourcing Manboobz, ABC Sourcing SPLC - October 23, 2013