Despite the self-promoting claim that they “provide a home for conservative, libertarian, classical liberal, and moderate voices in an effort to promote constructive and civil debate,” an article by NewBostonPost “Politics” contributor Evan Lips proves to be both destructive and flat-out antagonistic. It’s all the more insulting because it’s a textbook example of lazy “journalism,” and it’s evident Lips made little attempt to research his subject matter or even fact-check to determine truth and achieve balance. That’s despite his identifying contradictions in the claims he relied on, and the negligence he then showed by not exploring what else might prove unreliable.
“‘Hate groups’ to make appearances at RNC in Cleveland,” Lips’ July 14 headline declared. That’s accompanied by a photo of Oath Keepers, which is then featured along with the New Black Panther Party and the Westboro Baptist Church. Lips’ source: The Southern Poverty Law Center.
In fact, Oath Keepers never made plans to have a presence at the RNC. Founder Stewart Rhodes explained why the group would not be attending and why reports stating otherwise were false. And SPLC is hardly the undisputed “defender of civil rights” Lips appears to take at face value.
As reported by Breitbart News, the FBI distanced itself from SPLC after the Family Research Council and “fourteen other conservative and Christian leaders [wrote a letter calling SPLC] a heavily politicized organization producing inaccurate and biased data on ‘hate groups’…”
Such SPLC bias against Oath Keepers has been well documented. None of that made its way into Lips’ assessment though, despite his own admission that “The SPLC … does not specifically identify the nature of the group’s hate but has claimed members seek to overthrow the government.”
Had Lips done even minimal fact-checking, he’d have quickly (like by spending two minutes on this website) discovered Oath Keepers Bylaws, which specifically mandate:
Section 8.02. Restrictions on Membership:
(a) No person who advocates, or has been or is a member, or associated with, any organization, formal or informal, that advocates the overthrow of the government of the United States or the violation of the Constitution thereof, shall be entitled to be a member or associate member.
(b) No person who advocates, or has been or is a member, or associated with, any organization, formal or informal, that advocates discrimination, violence, or hatred toward any person based upon their race, nationality, creed, or color, shall be entitled to be a member or associate member.
So much for an “anti-government” group that has as its reason for existence fidelity to the oath its members took to the Constitution. So much for Oath Keepers being “haters.”
That brings us to another thread Lips couldn’t help but notice, yet still managed to avoid pulling. He even admits:
The SPLC claims the Oath Keepers “served as a private security force to prevent white businesses from looting,” but a St. Louis Post Dispatch report notes that members worked to protect a black-owned bakery after it had been vandalized during the unrest.
SPLC may have meant to write “protect” instead of “prevent,” but was too wrapped up in the smear job to notice. Still, Lips should have questioned the disconnect. And again per Rhodes:
The Southern Poverty Law Center is now trying to rewrite history by saying that during the Ferguson riots, “Oath Keepers served as a private security force to protect white businesses from looting.” The truth is that we guarded businesses owned by blacks (Natalie’s Cakes and More), Asians (Korean owned beauty supply and Asian owned Chinese restaurant), as well as whites (a white owned dental office). Their color didn’t matter to us, as we protect all Americans, but since the left likes to focus so much on race, let’s make that clear. And we also protected lives, not just property, since we protected the families of all colors who lived in apartments above those businesses – men, women, and children – from the deadly threat of murder by arson. And we didn’t ask the race of the people who lived there before deciding to protect them, because it was irrelevant to us. But of course, the SPLC can’t tell the truth about us as that doesn’t fit their agenda.
Further, following the attack at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Oath Keepers declared:
[W]e will train any other American or group of Americans who are targeted by Islamist terrorists, be they churches, Synagogues, school staff, or LGBT groups or nightclubs. We stand for the right of all Americans to defend themselves, and we stand united against all terrorists who would murder them.
Having the SPLC smear and conflate Oath Keepers with the New Black Panther Party and the Westboro Baptist Church is SOP for its lucrative agenda and hardly unexpected. Having establishment media repeat the smear is also sadly something that’s frustratingly familiar. But a supposedly liberty-oriented media source parroting SPLC talking points without question shows, at minimum, ignorance and laziness. Both are inexcusable traits, assuming this was indeed just a case of journalistic malpractice and not agitprop.
Lips, writing for a venture that bills itself as “The hub of conservative thought,” would do well to research his subject matter in the future and not rely exclusively on “progressive” sources, that is if he expects to have credibility with his target readership. And NewBostonPost publisher Tina McCormick, editor Jennifer C. Braceras, and editor-at-large Mary McCleary would do well to drill that expectation into their writers before sloppiness and shoddy reporting torpedo their relatively new venture and scuttle their efforts and investment.
Because you know what they say about “Loose Lips.”