Lankford chides SPLC ‘hate’ designation
Sen. James Lankford, Oklahoma Republican,
on Monday confronted ABC News for labeling the conservative Alliance Defending Freedom as an alleged “hate group,” saying that disagreeing on the issues “isn’t the same as hate.”
The network stoked outrage on the right with its July 12 online article headlined, “Jeff Sessions addresses ‘anti-LGBT hate group,’ but DOJ won’t release his remarks,” which referred to the designation used by the liberal Southern Poverty Law Center on its “hate map.”
“In this country, we have the freedom to disagree. However, disagreement is not the same as discrimination, and it’s not the same as hate,” Mr. Lankford said in the Monday letter to ABC News President James Goldston.
“Labeling ADF a ‘hate group’ feeds into a narrative that news media frequently editorializes beyond the facts. This ultimately harms American trust in the press,” Mr. Lankford said.
The ADF has asked for a retraction and an apology from ABC, accusing the network of “journalistic malpractice.” The network has not responded to a request for comment.
SPLC President Richard Cohen defended the “hate group” designation, saying in a statement that the Arizona-based legal foundation “spreads demonizing lies about the LGBT community in this country and seeks to criminalize it abroad.”