Fox News host Tucker Carlson hosted anti-LGBTQ extremist Tony Perkins to promote a letter to the media by a cohort of right-wing organizations and hate groups that demanded news outlets not use the Southern Poverty Law Center's (SPLC) hate group designation. Though Perkins criticizes the SPLC for using the “hate group” label for his organization, the Family Research Council (FRC), he has used similar language against LGBTQ activists, calling them “hateful, vile, … spiteful” and saying that they are the “height of hatred” and engaged in “an agenda that will destroy them and our nation.” The FRC has long attempted to criminalize homosexuality, supported harmful “conversion therapy” for LGBTQ people, compared them to pedophiles, and said that LGBTQ suicides can be prevented by discouraging them from identifying as queer.
On September 6, Perkins' FRC and a number of other hate groups from various extremist ideologies, including anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant groups, penned a letter to media outlets that asked them to stop using SPLC's “hate group” label. The letter pushed the right-wing talking point that these groups should not be associated “with neo-Nazis and the KKK.” During the segment, Carlson echoed this point, saying, "Well, to call someone a hate group is to lump them in, in the popular mind, in my mind anyway, with like Nazis and crazy people, violent people, truly scary people." Carlson has hosted a series of anti-LGBTQ hate groups representatives in the last few months, many of whom attacked the SPLC's hate group designations. From the September 6 edition of Fox News' Tucker Carlson Tonight:
TUCKER CARLSON (HOST): As we told you before on the show and documented pretty conclusively, the Southern Poverty Law Center is a progressive activist group like hundreds of others. But for some reason, the media have anointed them the national arbiters of what is or what is not a hate group, which is a shame since they are totally fake and dishonest. Now 47 conservative leaders and organizations have released a letter calling on the media to stop citing the Southern Poverty Law Center and its fake data calling that group correctly “discredited” and “defamatory.” Tony Perkins is the president of the Family Research Council, which was once a victim of a terror attack inspired by the SPLC's rhetoric. He joins us tonight. Tony, thanks a lot for coming on. So, if I'm not misunderstanding this, you're attempting to convince the media to stop taking this fake group seriously, correct?
TONY PERKINS: Well, in part. We are also putting the media on notice that if you are going to take the SPLC -- as you described, a liberal activist organization that acts as a pit bull for the left, no offense to the pit bulls out there -- that they are using that information, putting it up, that they're endangering the lives of people by putting up this information from the Southern Poverty Law Center, which has no basis in fact or truth.
CARLSON: Well, to call someone a hate group is to lump them in, in the popular mind, in my mind anyway, with like Nazis and crazy people, violent people, truly scary people.
CARLSON: You would think that any normal reporter, no matter how liberal, would be looking through the list of hate groups, so-called hate groups, and say, “You know, OK, some of them are clearly hateful and crazy.” And then they get to the Family Research Council, and you say, “I may not agree with their agenda, but they are not a hate group.” Why does nobody at say CNN or The Washington Post ever think this is overreach? It is not a hate group. It is a Christian group.