A close look at Southern Poverty Law Center and “hate groups”: thanks to David Walker for directing me to this discussion of the SPLC’s “perfidy” in aggressive solicitation, based on “careful reporter” (says Declan McCullagh, on whose Politech mailing list this discussion occurred) Ken Silverstein’s dissection of their fundraising efforts in a Harper’s Magazine piece reprinted here. I’ve given money to the SPLC for years and have been edified by Morris Dees’ achievements in breaking the backs of hate groups in litigation. I’m certainly concerned that the American Institute of Philanthropy gives the SPLC low marks, and have certainly noticed the frequency of  its direct-mail solicitations — although they are not distasteful, as the genre goes. But on the other hand, if the flagbearers of this critique are Alexander Cockburn and the “Counterpunch folks”, who too often discredit their political credentials by leading with hysteria without following through with thoughtful analysis, IMHO concerns can be discounted… ‘Wads of cash’ raised by direct mail are not necessarily evil if they do good works…