I am not a supporter of Moms for Liberty.

I am a supporter of unbiased reporting, and the Moms have not been getting it.

Nearly every news story written or broadcast makes this assertion, usually high in the story: The group is described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as “an anti-government extremist group.” (SPLC made that declaration in 2022, and rolls MFL into its off-cited bundle of other “hate groups.”)

That smear plants a negative image in the mind of the reader or viewer that is not balanced by the media’s use of Moms’ self-description of itself as “a parental rights group.”

What you don’t see is any characterization by law enforcement, such as the FBI, of Moms for Liberty as a hate group. It is not listed in the FBI’s vault. As a matter of fact, as far as I can tell, it is only the Southern Poverty Law Center that drops that bomb on MFL.

READ MORE — From the Editors: Haverford’s curriculum curation doesn’t get the same treatment as other districts’ in the mainstream press

SPLC is itself described as a “civil rights watchdog group,” which it once was, back when I was a member and supporter. But it has since strayed from that mission into backing various Left to Far Left causes only. In the view of SPLC, conservatives never have their rights abrogated. 

SPLC is hardly a fair and disinterested observer.

If, say, the Conservative American Caucus described the Democratic Party as a coven of Marxist pedophiles, would any legitimate news outlet use it? (There is no Conservative American Caucus; I invented the name to illustrate the issue.)

Let’s hope not, but the Southern Poverty Law Center is given an authority it does not deserve.

I am neither the first, nor the only, to question its status as a fair arbiter.

Back in 2019, the Washington Post, known as a bastion of liberal thought, asked if SPLC was a fair judge of hate in America. In the story, the head of the SPLC calls its hate list a “blunt weapon” and practically admits they apply it, well, liberally.

The Post reports, “For decades, the hate list was a golden seal of disapproval, considered nonpartisan enough to be heeded by government agencies, police departments, corporations and journalists. But in recent years … the list has swept up an increasing number of conservative activists — mostly in the anti-LGBT, anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim categories….”

I am none of the above, but those are social, and political expressions, and they are protected by the First Amendment.

“Along the way, the SPLC undermined its own credibility with a couple of blunders,” the Post reports. “In 2015, it apologized for listing Ben Carson as an extremist (though not on the hate list), saying the characterization was inaccurate. Then, this past June, the group paid $3.4 million to Muslim activist Maajid Nawaz and his Quilliam organization to settle a threatened lawsuit. The SPLC had listed them in a ‘Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists’ (again, not on the main hate list). The SPLC apologized for misunderstanding Nawaz’s work to counter Islamist extremism.”

In its previous practice, the Southern Poverty Law Center used to sue the Ku Klux Klan — and bankrupt that actual extremist group.

Now, SPLC itself has a record of, well, extremism. And it can’t write it all off to mistakes.

SPLC is given an authority it does not deserve. I am neither the first, nor the only, to question its status as a fair arbiter.

About ten years ago, its newsletter started referring to illegal immigrants as “immigrants,” in complaints about how they were threatened.

I called them and said legal immigrants aren’t under threat, and SPLC was commingling legal immigrants with illegals. They said it was a mistake, but it happened again, and again I complained, and again it was called a mistake. When it happened again, I stopped giving them money and they stopped answering my complaints.

Late in 2019, word came from leadership inside the elaborate SPLC headquarters that the progressive group that fights for the oppressed would fight its employees’ attempt to form a union. Wow! Talk about hate.

This reorientation seemed to start after the removal of SPLC founder, the widely respected Morris Dees.

Or formerly respected, after a damning piece on Dees and SPLC was published by the uber-progressive The New Yorker. That takedown recapped earlier stories that had questioned, or attacked, SPLC.

And these attacks came from friends, not by those on the hate list.

With all this evidence readily available, why in the world does the mainstream media continue to give SPLC such unquestioned authority? 

Confirmation bias, perhaps?

Stu Bykofsky was the long-time columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News. He now publishes at stubykofsky.com.

12 thoughts on “Stu Bykofsky: The press should be honest about Moms for Liberty”

  1. Whether or not it’s a hate group, Klanned Karenhood (aka Mom’s Against Liberty) will stop at nothing to censor curriculums and silence discussion around topics that hurt their feelings. They believe students are snowflakes who can’t handle learning about the existence of people with differing political opinions. This is the kind of identity politics and fear mongering the right classically resorts to when they realize they have no actual policies to benefit the American people or address things that matter like the economy.

    They say they’re for “parents’ rights” yet support career politicians making state level laws to regulate and censor what teachers are allowed to teach. I wonder how they would react if a school board, let alone state government, wanted to ban libraries from carrying books about certain founding fathers on the basis of them owning slaves.

    1. Let’s fact check Cicero:
      1-MFL “will stop at nothing to censor…and silence.” False. Any parent who wants sexually explicit reading material for their kids can order it instantly online.
      2-They think students “can’t handle….differing opinions.” No; teacher unions alone enforce Leftist orthodoxy.
      3-“fear mongering and identity politics?” Really? This from a Democrat?
      Come to think of it: Hispanics, Evangelical Blacks and Muslims agree with MFL, not Cicero.
      This all comes down to one big argument for school choice: If Cicero’s kids like their porn they can keep their porn.

  2. Perhaps if the curriculum foisted on parents by “progressive” educators wasn’t so antithetical to moral development and good self-image, there would not be the need for MAL or similar organizations. What reasonable person is OK with kindergarten children being told that their bodies are wrong for them or being told gender is anything one wants it to be at any particular moment and that sex is a physical exchange based on some vague feelings. I doubt you are in favor of teachers teaching anything they want, like say, the efficacy of witchcraft, or ritual murder is OK or that it is OK to get rid of people we don’t like with concentration camps. But then. from what I see of today’s society. supported by the current crop of cinemas from Hollywood, it just may be what people want.

    1. Your comment is lunacy. Teachers don’t teach anything they want. If you believe that, whydon’t you talk to some teachers. You might learn something.

  3. Stu, you’ve been around long enough to know why the corrupt mainstream media gives SPLC so much credibility. SPLC is in fact one of the premiere hate groups in the country.

    The hardcore Left along with the arm of the Democrat Party AKA teachers unions think that they and not parents should be in control of what children learn in school. Ask punk Terry McAuliffe how that claim worked out for him in his pursuit of the Governor’s office in Virginia.

    Thank God for the parents who are coming forth around the country to take back our schools from those who want to indoctrinate rather than educate our children. Your kids, your tax dollars, your choice.

    1. Agree 100%. Ten years ago teachers were complaining parents failed to show up for PTA meetings and far too many were not involved in their children’s schooling.
      Today politicians, teachers’ unions and others claim “these are OUR (state/government’s) children…” while plotting to secretly indoctrinate (both sexually and politically) students whose parents are now actively participating in their children’s education. Teachers’ unions and government are now eating the fruits of the words spoken by them for the past decade and they don’t like the taste.

  4. Bykofsky uses the article to bash SPLC. What he doesn’t do is make a sound argument for why MFL is not a hate group and why the designation is wrong. I suppose that’s because he doesn’t have any evidence. It’s easier to attack and throw around vague, irrational complaints than to do some research and present a cogent argument. But that’s Bykofsky for you. Very weak writing.

  5. No one wants to say/admit this, but the idea that parents should decide what kids learn at school is absurd. For example, the West Chester Area SD has some 12,000 students, each with their own experiences, abilities, interested and goals. Which of those 12,000 parents get to decide the curriculum? Whose views rule the day? And how many parents haven’t set foot in a public school since they grabbed their own diploma? How many grasps the logistics of running a school? There’s a reason curriculum is decided by professionals and not by random moms at a playdate. Parents should have input, but if a particular family requires their “rights” to dictate the experience of others, they should home school. And yes, I’m a parent who has homeschooled, had my kids in public school, and been a teacher.

  6. “To tell parents that they do not have the right to have a say in what their children learn is to tell them that their children are nothing more than government property. It is to tell them that their children are mere widgets that are to be programmed in the exact right way — in the way state bureaucrats decide is best. But far from promoting diversity and inclusion, this line of thinking destroys it. It squashes the spirit of free inquiry, discovery, and questioning that leads to a productive society. It creates a world in which everybody thinks the same.”
    What pronouns did Sons of Liberty use to identify Themselves? Teehee – and they were parents, had their kids in pens with the goats, and even taught.
    “[T]he ways in which identity-focused curricula have already been implemented in schools across the country may give us a clue. Chris Rufo, who is a contributing editor at City Journal, has done penetrating reporting on this. Here are a few of the things he found:
    1. An elementary school in Cupertino, California, “force[d] third graders to deconstruct their racial and sexual identities, then rank themselves according to their ‘power and privilege.’”
    2. In a presentation, “Seattle Public Schools tells teachers that the education system is guilty of ‘spirit murder’ against black children and that white teachers must ‘bankrupt [their] privilege in acknowledgement of [their] thieved inheritance.’”
    3. In an elementary school in Philadelphia where 87 percent of kids will not achieve basic literacy by graduation, “fifth graders [were forced] to celebrate ‘Black communism’ and simulate a Black Power rally to ‘free Angela Davis’ from prison.”
    These are some of the most radical examples, but they are by no means isolated. The ideology underlying much of this has become even more widespread over the past year or so. In fact, the two largest teachers’ unions in the country have both come out in strong support of this type of race-essentialist education, signaling that they want to bring it into as many classrooms as possible.”
    This approach of infusing education with far-left politics is dangerous. What if the curricula were Neo-Nazi garbage? Would you not want the parents of the 12,000 students in West Chester Area SD to then object?

  7. Stu, tell us why you’re not a supporter of Moms for Liberty. I’d like to hear, point-by-point, what your disagreements are. Since the MSM criticisms are hysterical and over-the-top (They love Hitler!), it would be refreshing to hear this from a reasonable person.

  8. The SPLC is a money- making operation for its’ leaders. It barely even pays lip service to what it’s supposed to stand for. Whatever ideals it had are long gone. It just enriches the leadership. Just like the NRA. Even a thick head like Oliver North realized that the NRA leadership betrayed its’ founding principles and raises big money by claiming ‘Democrats are coming for your guns’. Balderdash.

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