There is a growing presence of leftist groups monitoring and censoring our daily lives in an effort to “thwart hate.” The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is just one of many organizations that are being tasked with deciding what we can or can’t listen to, watch, read, and even donate money to. These left-leaning censors are being invited by previously “free” platforms to ensure that conservative or Christian notions are kept at bay.
Whether you want to donate cash to charity, listen to music on Spotify, watch YouTube videos, or any number of previously innocuous activities, chances are that the content you’re consuming and the choices you are being allowed to make have passed through a leftist filter.
The music giant Spotify has 170 million users and is a multi-billion dollar platform. Users can get curated playlists or search for various artists. But singers and songwriters are now being axed from the playlists due to what Spotify determine to be “hateful conduct.”
And who decides what is “hateful conduct”?
According to Spotify’s policy:
“… we do not tolerate hate content on Spotify – content that expressly and principally promotes, advocates, or incites hatred or violence against a group or individual based on characteristics, including, race, religion, gender identity, sex, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, veteran status, or disability.”
Fairly boilerplate stuff. Yet they go further:
“We’ve also thought long and hard about how to handle content that is not hate content itself, but is principally made by artists or other creators who have demonstrated hateful conduct personally.”
And this is where it gets strange. For example, if President Trump released a new ballad, would they consider that to be a creator who has demonstrated hateful conduct? To help them make the right decisions, Spotify enlisted:
“… rights advocacy groups, including The Southern Poverty Law Center, The Anti-Defamation League, Color Of Change, Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ), GLAAD, Muslim Advocates, and the International Network Against Cyber Hate.”
These “bastions of impartiality” will now be the watchdogs of what you can listen to. Each of them has a bias and a particular mission to which they are beholden, and their power is only growing.
And it’s not just music. Google has enlisted the SPLC to help them police for extremist content on YouTube.
Amazon’s charity, Smile, allows users to donate 0.5% of their spending on the site to a charity of their choice… Unless, of course, that charity (or non-profit) has run afoul of the SPLC.
Churches and charitable organizations are finding their eligibility for the program withdraw due to SPLC’s designation of them as unfit. The Christian legal group Alliance Defending Freedom is one such case. President and CEO Michael Farris sent a letter of protest to Amazon, not so much complaining that they would not receive funds, but that the company had allowed itself to be hijacked. He wrote:
“Although the SPLC did good work many years ago, it has devolved into a far-left propaganda machine that slanders organizations with which it disagrees and destroys the possibility of civil discourse in the process.
The group has been discredited by investigative journalists and charity watchdogs as a ‘direct mail scam’ that has seen its leaders amass enormous fortunes. It is no surprise that the United States Department of Defense and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have severed ties with the SPLC.”
And it is becoming increasingly harder to argue with his assessment.
SPLC Getting it Wrong
When the SPLC began publishing their interactive “map of hate,” many groups were furious with their inclusion; individuals have also been maligned. British Muslim reformer and radio host Maajid Nawaz took on the leftist behemoth after they published his name on a list of “anti-Muslim figures.” Nawaz, being a prominent activist and celebrity, had the backing to take them on, but not everyone can.
“A shocking number of these extremists are seen regularly on television news programs and quoted in the pages of our leading newspapers. There, they routinely espouse a wide range of utter falsehoods, all designed to make Muslims appear as bloodthirsty terrorists or people intent on undermining American constitutional freedoms. More often than not, these claims go uncontested.”
Their anti-Muslim list included reformers, ex-Muslims, anti-extremist activists, and, of course, a couple of actual extremists just for balance. The list has now been removed from their website and literature.
To outsource censorship to groups that have a clear bias, that get it wrong so often, that even the U.S. government has issues working with, should be a red flag to anyone.
When a group that has an illiberal ideology at its core is given the power to choose what content people can listen to, what they can watch, what websites they can visit, and what organizations they can donate money to, they will use this power. They will use it often and with gusto.
The ideologues are no longer at the gate, they are on the inside, keeping us out.