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Less Than a Day After Shooting, CNN Affirms FRC's 'Hate Group' Label

Less than a day after a shooting at the Family Research Council, CNN dug up a 13 year-old FRC quote to support the "hate group" label by the liberal Southern Poverty Law Center. Early Start anchor Zoraida Sambolin said the FRC was "hate spewing hate."

"I want our viewers to actually see some of the things that this organization has put out there so that – we kind of understand why they were labeled a hate group," Sambolin insisted. 

Her guest Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage had denounced the SPLC's "hate group" rating, but it's no secret that CNN respects the SPLC and has repeatedly touted its research on hate groups in the U.S. Sambolin stood by the SPLC's rating.

"So, everything points to the fact this was politically motivated and it's totally unacceptable," Brown said. "And groups like Southern Poverty Law Center which have labeled the Family Research Council which is a mainstream group, a hate group, that sort of talk, that sort of labeling and attack, it's totally irresponsible and unacceptable, and I think this incident makes that clear."

Sambolin countered with a statement from a 1999 FRC pamphlet: "They say, 'One of the primary goals of the homosexual rights movement is to abolish all age of consent laws and to eventually recognize pedophiles as the prophets of a new sexual order.' Isn't that hateful in your opinion?"

"But it is spewing hate, isn't it? It is spewing hate. So it's hate spewing hate. Would you agree or disagree with that?" she pressed Brown.

[Video below. Audio here.]

He answered that "you can agree or disagree with the position, but saying it's spewing hate and that we are going to therefore label you a hate group, that's totally irresponsible."

A transcript of the segment, which aired on August 16 on Early Start at 6:32 a.m. EDT, is as follows:

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN: What was your reaction when you heard about the shooting?

BRIAN BROWN, president, National Organization for Marriage: I was horrified. Immediately our thoughts and prayers went to the Family Research Council and we're still thinking about them, praying for them. It's really horrifying that something like this would happen.

But, you know, all the indications from multiple sources that were there say that the shooter actually came in and started attacking the policies of the Family Research Council. At the end, he apol – evidently he said something to the guard, he wasn't going after him. He's going after what the Family Research Council stands for and there was supposedly Chick-fil-A bags in his backpack.

So, everything points to the fact this was politically motivated and it's totally unacceptable. And groups like Southern Poverty Law Center which have labeled the Family Research Council which is a mainstream group, a hate group, that sort of talk, that sort of labeling and attack, it's totally irresponsible and unacceptable, and I think this incident makes that clear.

SAMBOLIN: The Southern Poverty Law Center has a long list of organizations on its Web site that they have labeled hate groups. None of those groups in the past have been victims of an attack like this. Why do you think that this particular organization was targeted?

BROWN: Well, again, when you take the Family Research Council, which is again a mainstream group, does a lot of work in D.C., the Values Voter Summit is a huge summit in Washington, D.C. that stands up for traditional values, and you have one of the spokesman for the Southern Poverty Law Center actually saying that this group is really no different than the Aryan Brotherhood, you've crossed a line. It's totally unacceptable.

And again, the responsibility is on the shooter but we need to have a civil debate over issues like redefining marriage. But we should not be attacking and labeling as hate groups those that we disagree. We should condemn violence of any sort but we should also be responsible.

SAMBOLIN: Handling this with civility. Let's focus on that for a while, because the Southern Poverty Law Center says that the reason that they added this organization to their hate group is because they're defaming gays and lesbians.

And I want to highlight – I want our viewers to actually see some of the things that this organization has put out there so that – we kind of understand why they were labeled a hate group.

They say, "One of the primary goals of the homosexual rights movement is to abolish all age of consent laws and to eventually recognize pedophiles as the prophets of a new sexual order." Isn't that hateful in your opinion?

BROWN: No, you shouldn't – just because you disagree with that statement, you should argue with it. By no means can you say just because of a statement like that this is the same as the KKK or the Aryan Brotherhood. That's totally unacceptable.

SAMBOLIN: But it is spewing hate, isn't it? It is spewing hate. So it's hate spewing hate. Would you agree or disagree with that?

BROWN: It's – no, I would disagree saying that coming – you can agree or disagree with the position, but saying it's spewing hate and that we are going to therefore label you a hate group, that's totally irresponsible. And I think the American people understand this. And this tragedy highlights how irresponsible something like this is.

SAMBOLIN: Are you concerned now about your organization, the National Organization for Marriage?

BROWN: Well, I think throughout the country, we've all tightened up our security measures even before this. We've received death threats. We had a package sent to us a week ago that was clearly intended to intimidate us. We thought it was a bomb scare. We're going back to the D.C. police and saying this stuff needs to be investigated. So of course we are.

And – but it's not going to stop us. The key point is that in America we disagree, we debate, we don't try and silence folks that we disagree with. And it's just completely unacceptable to say that the Family Research Council is the same as some sort of violent hate group. It's just totally unacceptable.

-- Matt Hadro is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center