There was a time when the Southern Poverty Law Center did useful work reporting on actual hate groups such as the KKK. These days, though, the SPLC is simply a MoveOn or Media Matters–style outfit.
Its core mission now is trying to marginalize and shut up even mildly right-of-center voices by calling them instruments of hate, making increasingly strained attempts to tie conservative commentators, authors, political figures, and professors to the alt-right or neo-Nazism. At the same time it elevates absurd bloggers to the level of potential leaders of lynch mobs.
It has targeted Senator Rand Paul, surgeon–turned–HUD secretary Ben Carson, and human-rights activists Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Maajid Nawaz, calling them extremists or agents of hate (though it removed Carson from its list after an outcry), and it tagged both the Family Research Council and Mark Krikorian’s think tank, the Center for Immigration Studies, as hate groups, though the latter has been invited to testify before Congress more than 100 times.