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16 Mar, 2018 03:43

US extremist monitor retracts article, apologies for linking journalists to Neo-Nazis

US extremist monitor retracts article, apologies for linking journalists to Neo-Nazis

A US-based organization that monitors extremist activity has apologized for linking several award-winning journalists to white supremacists and far-right groups in an article and deleted the story from its website.

A controversial article published by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), was retracted after it received angry reactions from those involved. Prominent journalist Max Blumenthal, who was the target of the article’s ire, harshly called the story a “lie-filled, McCarthyite piece of innuendo.”

Rania Khalek, who is also mentioned in the article in a negative way, noted that the SPLC seems to be “smearing people who are antiwar as fascists.”

Other journalists accused of having links to far-right groups in the story included Brian Becker from Sputnik’s Loud & Clear, the Grayzone Project’s Ben Norton and Shorty Award winner Tim Pool.

A few days after the publication, SPLC finally removed the text and apologized to the journalists.

“We extend a sincere apology to those who believe they have been falsely described in it, including Max Blumenthal, Ben Norton, Tim Pool, Rania Khalek, and Brian Becker,” the retraction said.

The group refuted that their article was written with “any intention to suggest that any of them are white supremacists, fascists, and/or anti-Semites, that they hold such views, or that they are engaged in a conspiracy with the Russian government to promote such views or otherwise.”

Blumenthal, who won the Online News Association's Independent Feature Award in 2002, accepted the apology.

After facing the wrath of journalists, the author of the story, Alexander Reid Ross, who is a lecturer at Portland State University, also took to Twitter to defend his ill-fated article, saying that he never called them fascists or anti-Semites.

“I will say there is one small, incidental error in the piece, that wasn't malicious at all,” he concluded.

Entitled, ‘The multipolar spin: how fascists operationalize left-wing resentment,’ the story was released by SPLC’s Hatewatch blog. The group, headquartered in Alabama, claims to “monitor hate groups and other extremists throughout the US and exposes their activities to law enforcement agencies.”