Dana Milbank To Michelangelo Signorile: FRC Is Not The KKK And Therefore Not A Hate Group

DanamilbankRadio host Michelangelo Signorile invited Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank onto his show yesterday so that Milbank could discuss the controversial article in which he criticizes the Southern Poverty Law Center for labeling the anti-gay organization Family Research Council a hate group because such a label can inspire madness like the FRC shooting.

Milbank wrote at the time that it is "reckless" calling people who rabble-rouse against equality by spreading lies and vitriol a "hate group." He stuck by that story during his conversation with Signorile and tried to further emphasize his point by contrasting the FRC, which he called a "Washington think tank," with the KKK.

"The hate group category, is with the exception of the Family Research Council, a bunch of neo-Nazi and Ku Klux Klan-like groups, and while they may say all kinds of wacky things at the FRC, they’re a Washington think tank, not a group that puts on sheets and organizes lynch mobs," he said.

Reminded that "hate group" is applied to non-violent groups as well, Milbank again went for the most extreme comparison: Some [hate groups] put on white sheets and go around and lynch people and some of them don’t. It’s not the same as the KKK and Stormfront. There is a fundamental distinction. I think people who say hateful things are in one category and people who commit violent acts are in another category." Milbank also tried to bolster FRC's credibility by mentioning that it was founded by James Dobson and run for a spell by Gary Bauer, a man whose past as a failed presidential candidate somehow makes him more legitimate and wholesome.

Milbank later griped that the interview was an "ambush," but Signorile insists Milbank was informed ahead of time they would be discussing his column. "Milbank was not asked to come on the show under any false pretenses. He
was invited on the show to discuss the controversial column he’d
written, and he accepted the invitation," said Signorile.

Listen to the interview over at The Huffington Post.


  1. kpo5 says

    No white hoods?

    Really? Because these “family” and “marriage” groups spend more time trying to get around finance laws to shield their donors than any other groups out there. And the money donated to these groups funds advertisements that spread blatant lies about gay people; lies that stir up a lot of negative emotion towards the gay community and lies that, no doubt, can lead to hate crimes against the community.

    These groups don’t provide any backing for their funny social science studies when all signs point to the data being ‘cooked.’ Transparency is the last thing these groups give us. They police their comments online and ban any users with logical pro-equality arguments that tear theirs to shreds.

    So maybe you can’t see a white hood, Milbank, but it’s there

  2. Paul R says

    Milbank has always been an idiot. So what sense does it make to say that groups speaking hate somehow aren’t hateful? As though that doesn’t incite violence too?

  3. HadenoughBS says

    Dana, Dana, Dana. Where did you get such crazy ideas about what does and does not constitute a hate group? FRC is NOT one just because they don’t wear white hoods and hang minorities from the nearest tree?? I used to enjoy reading your commentaries but now I’ll just ignore them.

  4. BZ says

    Milbank has always been a smart-alec whose favorite occupation is getting under other people’s skin. Sometimes that’s worked in our favor he was one of the only Washington journalists who wasn’t afraid to speak the truth and dare to criticize the Bush Administration in 2002-2003, at a time when all the other journalists had fallen in line in the face of threats of retaliation by Karl Rove. So, I respect him for that period when he saw himself as an outsider to the Washington mainstream media establishment. Lately, however, he seems to be craving admittance to that exclusive club, and the price of membership is distinguishing who in Washington politics is a “serious” player – and not offending those players lest you be perceived as too partisan, or losing coveted access. I think this column was a calculated move by Milbank. He is trying to further his career by establishing himself as one of those self-appointed Mr-Reasonable-Moderate-Middle-of-the-Road journalist types who deny that there is any ideology in the center of the political spectrum, that bipartisanship is the highest political value, and that their own personal political views represent the mainstream.

    In other words, Milbank is selling out to follow in the footsteps of Howard Kurtz, David Broder, etc. and he’s deliberately making this play at our expense so that he can do it. Feh.

    I liked him better when he was a smart alec thumbing his nose at people in power. Now he wants to be just another one of those powerful people.

  5. Yeek says

    Chris, you betray your true nature by the “quote marks” and the kook caps.

    Dana is not a bad guy. I don’t agree with him though. I understand his argument that some groups are more violent than others, but I think a broad definition of ‘Hate Group’ is not an unjustified thing. Of course FRC objects to the label – the KKK and Stormfront probably object to it as well. They’d probably prefer “love groups.”

    It’s a bit of a silly argument over semantics here. I’m not sure who sets the definition of “hate group,” but I think most people are reasonable enough to understand that levels of distinction exist within that label.

  6. woodroad34d says

    The SPLC has specific rules as to what constitutes a hate group; and it’s been widely accepted, pretty much by everyone. Only now, someone with the political influence of Miss Toni, do those rules not apply. Dana Millbank has tipped his hand–we now know who his “friend$” are.

  7. Francis says

    Well, now we see Dana for what he is. Which is, as BZ put it, he’s a sell-out. A Washington political junkie, DC insider totally removed from the world around him and not willing to ruffle the feathers of those in the DC circle. So I’m no longer offended with his FRC article. Still, for him to publicly continue to go out of his way to defend FRC is disgusting.

  8. RJ says

    Dear Christopher H,

    Please lay off the all-caps routine, unless you’re really trying to show everyone how loud, pompous and arrogant you are.

    Btw, I don’t think vernacular means what you think it means.

  9. Mi-miami says

    Milbank is wrong on this one. It doesn’t take white hoods and lynching to qualify as a hate group. The FRC spews and incites hatred. I believe that the FRC is INDEED engaged in an orchestrated agenda against the LGBT community. The FRC is a well-organized and vocal participant in various media – quite different from individuals expressing their own hatred and homophobia.

  10. Diogenes Arktos says

    “Family Research Council WAS VIOLATED. THAT WAS WRONG! PERIOD!”

    No, that was not wrong. Religious Right organizations (like the FRC) and their allies have actually claimed it is “inflammatory” when their views are made public and called for “public pressure on some of these gay rights organizations to tone it down”.

  11. odsbjorn says

    Yes, CAH, gays wanting equal rights is “cocky”. How dare we? We pay taxes and then expect to be treated as full citizens of the US? What nerve!

    You should go back to school and learn to turn off the Caps Lock, buffoon.

  12. Mike says

    The FRC are worse than the KKK the FRC are more like Nazis. You know the Hitler German Catholics who murdered gays and Jews and other minorities by the millions.

  13. Caliban says

    What else would you call a group that spreads hate for (and fear of) another group, especially when they use lies and distortions to do it?

    And when was the last time the KKK actually lynched someone or burned a cross on someone’s lawn? That may have been their stock-in-trade at one time, when public opinion was still such that people and law enforcement would look the other way, but thanks in part thanks to the SPLC they now just use hateful RHETORIC, same as the FRC. It’s a distinction without a difference.

  14. maddM@ says

    Milbank got what he wanted- a lot of free publicity and the ability to come off as very level headed and middle of the road to people with a very superficial knowledge of what’s going on. To the person without much background, yes it is obvious that there is a difference between groups like the KKK and the FRC HOWEVER the differences do not absolve FRC of their status as a hate group and Milbank’s distinction is somewhat arbitrary.

    Furthermore, is he implying that if someone went in and shot some klan members for being involved with a SPLC designated hate group, that would be OK?

    Meanwhile his original argument of :hey gays, why don’t you tone it down because something you might say might be used the wrong way by someone completely unbalanced to do something bad” while completely ignoring FRC doing that day in and day out the other direction is absolutely awful. Sorry bud, I don’t take advice from idiots that oversimplify scenarios to win political points.

  15. anon says

    The SPLC gets to define their list the way they want. You can have your own list if you want, but they’ve probably put more effort and consideration into their list.

    Dana would have been better off making the claim that almost all public advocacy groups use misinformation to advance their agenda, which is the chief crime of the FRC, but the FRC also wants to enshrine discrimination into the law, which makes for a toxic duology of sociopathic misinformation. The KKK is dishonest about the inferiority of the black race, which they tout to support their own discrimination agenda (and lets through in Jews and Catholics too), so the comparison there is apt. When the WWF touts ridiculous claims about the decline of polar bears, it isn’t quite the same thing. However, that’s probably what Milbank is thinking.

  16. andrew says

    I agree with Dana Milbank. The FRC is a very right wing group whose social and political views are not mine but they should not be labeled a hate group.

  17. says

    Milbank is par and parcel of the Washington DC insiders. If a group has “think tank” beside their name, resides inside the Washington DC geographical borders and even 1 elected republican uses them for information, then it’s ‘legitimate.’

    These nuts live inside a very small bubble and, like any aristocracy, think their voice is the only one that counts. Challenging them is akin to rebelling, and must not be tolerated.

  18. SoLeftImRight says

    FRC is a think tank? Really? There is zero thinking involved with these morons.

    Hate group is 100% accurate. Holding up the KKK as the standard for hate is putting the bar a bit high. FRC or NOM are pure bigotry and hatred with a dedication to denying civil rights = hate.

  19. Diogenes Arktos says

    HRC published the following on their webpage the day before the shooting at FRC:

    “The FRC has been labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. It’s a group that has advocated for the criminalization of homosexuality, called for LGBT people to be exported from the U.S., and has pushed dangerous lies trying to link being gay to pedophilia.”

    FRC’s supporters have deemed it’s “inflammatory” that the FRC’s actual views are receiving a public airing.

    BTW – As the SPLC explained, FRC received the designation “because of its dissemination of false and demonizing propaganda about gays and lesbians”.

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