Southern Poverty Law Center’s ‘Hatewatch’ takes aim at pundit Michelle Malkin

Former frequent Fox News contributor and outspoken conservative commentator Michelle Malkin is under fire from left-wing watchdogs at the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) over alleged ties to white nationalist groups, though the controversial history of the organization’s “Hatewatch” initiative may prompt some to question the validity of their conclusions.

The SPLC recently took Malkin to task for serving as one of several speakers at an annual event held in November by American Renaissance, a group Hatewatch says describes itself as a “race-realist, white advocacy organization.”

According to the SPLC, Jared Taylor, the head of American Renaissance, routinely brings in speakers that include “neo-Nazis, white nationalists, Klansmen and other prominent figures in the American and global racist right,” and for this year’s event, featured an attorney for “the Klan” and a host of other figures who, in their estimation, are extremely problematic.

The Hatewatch website cited an unnamed conference attendee in reporting that Malkin’s speech at the gathering praised right-wing activists taking part in “hand to hand, pen to pen combat against the vast anti-white, anti-American forces bent on demographic mass murder.

Speaking more generally of their disdain for Malkin’s viewpoint, SPLC declared that she “has provided a bridge between the nativist fringe and the more mainstream right wing for nearly two decades, and derisively referred a quote from the Filipino-American author in which she said, “I don’t apologize as somebody who has non-white skin for defending the idea that America should maintain its historic demographic balance.”

Some of Malkin’s more controversial statements and associations have indeed landed her in hot water not just with left-leaning constituencies such as the SPLC, as conservative organization Young America’s Foundation (YAF) severed ties with the author back in 2019 over her support of allegedly racist and anti-Semitic activist Nick Fuentes, as The Hill reported at the time.

In announcing that decision, YAF touted its willingness to provide “a platform to a broad range of speakers with a range of views,” but maintained that “there is no room in mainstream conservatism or at YAF for holocaust deniers, white nationalists, street brawlers, or racists,” a statement that caused Malkin to declare, “the SPLC is cheering.”

While Malkin’s involvement with or support for right-wing groups is certainly fair game for legitimate analysis as well as criticism, if warranted, the SPLC and its “Hatewatch” function has also been the subject of justified scrutiny in recent years for its misleading and defamatory descriptions of pro-life and pro-traditional marriage organization – such as the well-respected Alliance for Defending Freedom – as “anti-LGBTQ hate groups.”

There may well be legions of conservative Americans who are truly uncomfortable with Malkin’s apparent ties to what some may classify as far-right fringe actors, but given the SPLC’s questionable history of false accusations and dangerously reckless claims, any judgment the group claims to render on an individual’s character must always be taken with a healthy dose of skepticism.