GOP Congressman Attacks Southern Poverty Law Center Chief With Satire Article
Freshman Congressman Pat Fallon (R-TX) learned a valuable lesson during a House of Representatives Armed Services Committee hearing on extremism in the United States military on Wednesday: always double-check your sources.
Fallon was under the impression that the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) – a non-profit organization that monitors and tracks hate groups – had assigned that designation to various veterans associations.
Unfortunately for Fallon, that story came from a military satire site called Duffel Blog, in an article entitled, “Southern Poverty Law Center classifies VFW and American Legion as hate groups,” which was published in 2017.
The piece jokes:
‘I hate to criminalize a group of decorated war veterans,’ [SPLC President J. Richard] Cohen said, from somewhere deep within a fog of pit sweat in his corporate think-tank steam room, where Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Moscow) was seen relaxing in the nude. ‘But these people revere statues of soldiers who have fought in wars where minorities and women weren’t allowed to fight.’
First, Fallon said that he “can’t fathom” the idea that “extremism is on the rise” in the armed forces and then whipped out his pseudo-weapon.
Not realizing what he was about to do, Fallon all but accused Lecia Brooks, the head of the SPLC, of being part of a coverup.
“Ms. Brooks, just a yes or no question for you: Has your organization named the American Legion as a hate group?” Fallon asked Brooks.
“I don’t believe so, and I don’t have the full list, sir, of hate groups lists, but I will…” Brooks replied before getting interrupted.
“I’ve found it and it did,” Fallon declared. “And how about – were you aware that the organization named the VFW, the Veterans of Foreign Wars – is a hate group?”
Brooks insisted that it was “not on our current census. No.”
Fallon said that the SPLC’s practices and reputation “leave a lot to be desired” without a single shred of irony.
It was not until later in the hearing that Fallon’s gaffe was acknowledged, at which point Brooks told Fallon that his “assertion appeared as satire in a military satire blog known as Duffel Blog.
Watch below beginning at approximately 37:40: