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Casey Sanchez/SPLC, Frank Sharry, Andrea Nill/CAP smear FAIR over non-existent connection (Dave Bennion)

From a FAIR press release (link):

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has launched its most irresponsible attack to date against the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). The SPLC claims that Shawna Forde, the alleged killer of a little girl and her father during an Arizona home invasion, had ties to FAIR. Although no association exists -- or ever has -- between Ms. Forde and FAIR, the SPLC and organizations advocating mass amnesty and open borders have used this tragedy to fuel their on-going smear campaign against FAIR and other immigration policy organizations in order to suppress free and open debate about immigration policy in the United States... FAIR has no association with Shawna Forde. "Ms. Forde is not and never was an employee, member, activist, or donor of FAIR and most certainly has never been authorized to speak on behalf of our organization," stated Dan Stein, president of FAIR. "Ms. Forde misrepresented herself as a spokesperson for FAIR in a 2006 appearance on KYVE-TV in Yakima, Washington, and the producers of the program were remiss in failing to authenticate her false claims."

The SPLC report from Casey Sanchez is at [1]. It was updated after it was originally posted and they acknowledge the above press release; there may or may not have been other changes. In its current form, the SPLC post doesn't claim that she was a member, only that she represented herself as a member and so on. At the very least, the SPLC post is an example of incredibly bad journalism:

Contacted by Hatewatch, Enrique Cerna, the host of the show and an executive producer, said it’s difficult to remember all the production details of a segment produced three years ago. Still, he said his producers had contacted FAIR, asking for a representative to appear on the show. That representative cancelled at the last minute and was replaced by Forde, who identified herself as a FAIR official. “We wouldn’t have identified her with that organization if she hadn’t said she was speaking on their behalf,” said Cerna.

Obviously, Cerna should have verified with FAIR that she was able to speak on their behalf rather than simply taking her word for it.

The full video is here, but a shorter segment from user "AmericasVoiceTV" - Frank Sharry's America's Voice - is here. Unlike the SPLC, his description is completely disreputable:

Shawna Forde, arrested as a suspect in a deadly home invasion in Arizona, has ties to the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), an anti-immigrant group classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). Hat tip to http://TonyHerrera.com for finding this 2006 video.

She has no ties; Sharry is lying.

(Updates below)

Dave Bennion of Change dot org is less disreputable [2], posting the video and saying the following:

This is not a connection I’ve seen elsewhere, and it isn’t clear whether Forde was acting in a temporary role, whether her association with FAIR was more substantial, or whether FAIR was even aware of her claim to represent the group.

Whether that statement was in the original version of the post or not isn't known.

Returning to completely disreputable, Andrea Nill of ThinkProgress's "WonkRoom" - part of the Center for American Progress - said this on the 15th [3]:

America's Voice has posted a new video of Forde speaking on behalf of the anti-immigrant organization, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). In it, Forde addresses a 2006 townhall in Yakima, Washington, as a Minuteman and FAIR activist.

No update is provided; shortly before post time I left a comment asking whether Nill will be correcting her entry and the comment is in moderation. Note also that, as linked from the "WonkRoom" page, even the Anti Defamation League points out that most leaders of Minuteman-style groups had distanced themselves from her [4]. In her post, Nill mischaracterizes that ADL page.

UPDATE: The comment I left was approved, but no correction or clarification was provided. Instead, Andrea Nill doubles down, offering a follow-up at [5]:

The anti-immigrant group, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), issued a press release this afternoon denying any association with Forde after a video popped up of Shawna Forde speaking as a FAIR activist.

The "as" is almost assuredly a further attempt to smear; she was just pretending to be with FAIR.

Zachary Roth at a TalkingPointsMemo offshoot is also misleading [6]:

At a 2006 PBS-sponsored forum at which she claimed to be both a member of the Minutemen and a representative of the supposedly more mainstream anti-immigration group FAIR,

If he'd left out "supposedly" that would be correct; by adding that word he implies that somehow they're less mainstream, but that's only because of something they didn't do.

And, of course, David Neiwert is also getting involved [7]. He can't even be consistent in a short blog posting, starting with pretending there was a link and then, several paragraphs later, admitting there wasn't a link:

But the recent arrest of [Forde]... has ripped the veneer off the fake walls these nativists use to pretend that they have nothing to do with the racists who seem to swell their ranks as though they belonged there naturally... [several paragraphs deleted]... However, it was unclear to me if Forde really was a FAIR representative or whether she had just lied about that, as seems to be her pattern in many instances. But in untangling the puzzle, what emerged was a clear portrait of FAIR officials commingling freely with Minutemen and the many seedy characters who occupy their ranks -- so much so that what they become is a "respectable" front organization for a ragtag bunch of thuggish nativists.

There's a link out there, but it's probably just in his fevered imagination.

UPDATE 2: Wendy Norris at the Colorado Independent (parent company funded in part by Rockefeller funds and by George Soros) falsely states [8]:

The Tancredo-Forde connections continue with their joint association with the Federation for American Immigration Reform. Forde participated in a televised 2006 town hall meeting in Yakima, Wash., where she was identified repeatedly as a representative of FAIR.

UPDATE 3: Now, Presente is starting a campaign to send emails to the "Members of the House and Senate Subcommittees on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law Membership" [sic] [9]:

Last month, 9-year-old Brisenia Flores was murdered, apparently at the hands of Shawna Forde and other individuals connected to organizations like the “Minutemen” groups and the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). There has been a documented increase in the level of anti-Latino violence in recent years, and it can be connected to the ideas promoted by these groups.

The flaws in that statement should be obvious to even the Democrats on that subcommittee. Those flaws include smearing all groups with "Minutemen" in their names and trumpeting a non-existent FAIR connection. Regarding the last, a connection "can" be drawn in the sense that some groups that support illegal immigration have drawn that connection, but that doesn't make it true. If "can" is used in the sense of proving something to be true, then the last sentence is false.

[1] splcenter.org/blog/2009/06/15/accused-nativist-murderer-once-claimed-to-represent-fair

[2] immigration.change.org/blog/view/shawna_forde_linked_to_fair_in_2006_video
On a sidenote, Bennion previously used the pseudonym "Yave Begnet" when commenting on blogs and the like.

[3] wonkroom.thinkprogress.org/2009/06/15/minutemen-murder-arizona-immigration

[4] adl.org/main_Extremism/Shawna-Forde-Arrested.htm

[5] wonkroom.thinkprogress.org/2009/06/17/shawne-forde-minuteman-gop

[6] tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2009/06/

[7] crooksandliars.com/david-neiwert/minuteman-tactical-leadermurder-susp

[8] coloradoindependent.com/31469/

[9] presente.org/campaigns/flores

Other tags: crooks and liars

Wed, 06/17/2009 - 09:55 · Importance: 4

Wed, 06/17/2009 - 19:23

If FAIR's so intent on distancing themselves from Forde now, why didn't they protest her as an impostor when she appeared on TV? Seems FAIR had no problem back in 2006. And Bob Baker of FAIR on learning of the Flores family murders told Crooks and Liars Neiwert that "She wouldn't do something like that...". Gotta be familiar with someone to give that kind of character reference.

Wed, 06/17/2009 - 20:15
petty bourgeois

Whatever. If you believe anything the $PLC has to say, you're a fucking idiot.

Thu, 06/18/2009 - 01:33

All this effort to refute one (yet another) of their silly smears. It won't make any difference. _bad journalism_ One reason is that everything on their site is more or less a fund-raising appeal -- all of it has next to nothing to do with "journalism".

Thu, 06/18/2009 - 05:07
Fred Dawes


Thu, 06/18/2009 - 13:43

The SPLC was responsible for the lawsuits against ranchers over their attempts to protect their own property from border crossing Foreigners. They are as bad if not worse than the ACLU which is trying to destroy the USA. Anyone who thinks one persons actions means all are guilty ought to toss the entire congress...Starting with Rangel, Frank, Dodd, and let's not forget Killer Kennedy!!!! There are many Republicans who also warrant a close look....Then again the press is about as "free" as Chavez's government owned press.

Tue, 06/23/2009 - 18:52

When Stalin used to conduct his show trials starting in the 1930s up until his death in 1953, he used to name the trials after what ever plot it was he cooked up so there would be no mistaking who were the "supposed" perpetrators. Right before Stalin died, he was in the middle of persecuting Jews in the name of the "Jewish-doctors Plot" His claim was that rootless-cosmopolitian-jews were trying to assinate him and had already killed Zdanoff who had been the number 2 guy. Stalin had already killed dozens of doctors, including his own and was in the process of what many believe, of deporting most of the Soviet Jews to Siberia. Right when this was about to happen, Abukumof, the head of SMERSH (which was the part of the NKVD that was persecuting the trials, fell out of favor with Stalin. True to Stalin's perfidity he ended up adding another hyphen by including Abukumoff in the conspericy which finally reached the rediculous name of Abukumoff-Jewish-Dortors Plot. Guilt by association. Tancredo-Forde indeed.