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The so-called Trump Effect: a country of high schools embroiled by hate hoaxes

Tina Trent author image /

Unlike the rest of the Left, which is currently obsessed with Russians, Russians everywhere, the disciplined, prolific fabulists of the Southern Poverty Law Center have stayed admirably on-message.

Morris Dees and his neo-Marxist minions laboring behind the thick walls of the group’s “poverty palace” in Montgomery, Alabama, continue to push the line that the greatest threat to America is white men.

The most dangerous of all the Caucasian males, according to the SPLC, is President-elect Donald Trump.

His presence on the American scene and now his approaching presidency have sparked thousands of cases of “prejudice,” “bullying,” and hate crimes at the nation’s schools, the SPLC claims in a recent report called The Trump Effect. (I previewed the report in an earlier Bombthrowers article.)

The overarching problem with the report is that it relies entirely on unverified claims by teachers, many of whom themselves are left-wing activists. They are free to spin any yarns they please with impunity.

The SPLC claims that despite the unscientific nature of its survey somehow the paper evidences a towering tidal wave of hate speech, vandalism, and threats directed at minority schoolchildren by their benighted peers who support President-elect Trump.

The mainstream media has eagerly picked up these allegations and reported them as news.

Vice gently wept that now that Trump “has officially won the White House, the question looming is whether the ‘Trump effect’ on young people will get worse.”

The marijuana industry trade publication Rolling Stone used the opportunity to bash Trump. It quoted the SPLC’s Maureen Costello snottily describing the would-be president as “the perfect candidate for a seventh-grade kid; bad behavior and repeating what Trump has said seems to be a part of testing limits.”

Journalists want to believe this crap.

Thus do unsubstantiated rumors become documented incidents; documented incidents become official reports, and official reports become a purported “tidal wave of hate” blared in headlines across the nation.

But is any of it true? Not just some of it but any of it? How many of these unsubstantiated claims are pure lies submitted by politically savvy or attention-seeking minority children who are endlessly egged on by their teachers to see themselves as victims of white supremacy?

How many of these claimed incidents are misrepresentations of ordinary two-way conflict between peers, or sheer fabrications by educators primed to see racism lurking in every white 10-year old boy?

How many of the comments by students reported by the SPLC’s teacher-spies are actually reasonable responses by frustrated students to the rhetoric constantly spewed by the teachers themselves about “Trump” or “white people” or “Amerikkka”? Reading the teacher comments, it is extraordinary to see teacher after teacher impose their politics on the captive audiences that are their classrooms.

To get to the truth behind these “hate incident” reports, one needs to understand the shoddy methodology the SPLC used to collect data and create its reports:

  • Through its highly politicized Teaching Tolerance curricula, the SPLC communicates with leftist schoolteachers who share their view of America as an unredeemable cesspool of white supremacy and trans-historical, omnipresent oppression of all minorities.
  • Teachers who sign up and use Teaching Tolerance materials were encouraged last spring and again after the election to take a survey “measuring” the “Trump Effect,” described as an increase in a climate of hostility between students due to Trump’s campaign and election. The SPLC has released two Trump Effect reports – the first in March and the second on November 28, 2016.
  • The SPLC acknowledged that its first survey of educators was “unscientific.” This is an understatement. Researchers acknowledged that a mere 2,000 educators had generated 5,000 survey comments without explaining how multiple comments from the same educator were used to tabulate “incidents of hate.” In the earlier Trump Effect report, the SPLC claimed to be following up to confirm the incidents reported. The group later dropped this claim.
  • In the November 28 report, the SPLC now claims that 10,000 “teachers, counselors, administrators and others who work in schools” have responded. Does this count the 2,000 teachers who completed 5,000 comments in the earlier report?
  • There is no discernible methodology used for identifying and purging hoaxes or confirming the validity of the claims made by survey respondents. These teachers can essentially say anything.
  • Throughout the reports, anonymous vandalism (such as swastikas drawn alongside the word “Trump”) is automatically attributed to pro-Trump agitators even though the only people caught committing such vandalism to date nationwide have been opponents of Trump. Images of this vandalism litter SPLC reports and the organization’s website and are prominently featured as evidence that anti-Semitic white supremacism is on the rise among Trump supporters.
  • Even drawing on this pool of ideologically self-selected educators, the SPLC still received multiple reports of anti-Trump students attacking Trump-supporting students. Rather than quantify pro-Trump versus anti-Trump incidents, the SPLC classified all aggression as a consequence of the “climate” created by Trump.
  • The SPLC also expunged from the record any mention of the serious, documented attacks on Trump supporters and the riots, property damage, and attacks on police by anti-Trump protesters, even though many of these protesters were students and many of the riots, violent protests, and attacks on police originated from events that began on school property.

It’s a neat trick, if a dishonest one, to rely on self-reporting lefty educators to paint their own vision of one-sided abuse of social norms by Trump supporters instead of actually counting the documented anti-Trump attacks that really occurred. By relying on what the SPLC acknowledges is an “admittedly unscientific” survey method, the group has erased from history the riots, the bottles lobbed at cops, the fire bombings, the businesses looted, the students burning flags and shrieking slurs at white classmates – almost.

For, even some of these hard-left teachers were honest enough to report their students attacking students who supported or appeared to support Trump. But in those cases, the apparatchiks at the SPLC simply transformed such reports into condemnation of Trump for causing minorities to attack their white peers.

Here is the SPLC survey methodology for the November report. Note that the group has ceased to claim it is following up and confirming the “incidents” reported:

The discussion in this report summarizes responses to questions posed by Teaching Tolerance via an informal online survey launched on November 14, 2016; the data reported here is based on the responses as of November 23.

A link to the survey was sent to educators who subscribe to the Teaching Tolerance newsletter and was also shared on Teaching Tolerance’s social media sites. It was open to any educator who wanted to participate. Several other groups, including Facing History and Ourselves, Teaching for Change, Not in Our Schools, the American Federation of Teachers and Rethinking Schools, also shared the survey link with their audiences.

The individual items can be found on page 15 of this report.

In the course of just over a week, over 10,000 people responded to the survey. Collectively, they submitted over 25,000 comments. Nearly all respondents identified themselves by name, email address, grade level and state. More than 1,500 signified a willingness to go on record by giving permission for Teaching Tolerance to share their contact information with the media.

The results of this survey are not scientific. The respondents were not selected in a manner to ensure a representative sample . . .

Here is how the New York Times dramatically embroidered on the SPLC report, giving the group ample space to embroider as well:

The air felt leaden in the hallways at West High School on the morning after Election Day. The usual clatter from the building’s 2,000 students was muffled. At lunchtime, Lujayn Hamad was in the cafeteria when she said a boy she barely knew roughly bumped into her and swore at her.

“Go back home,” he told Ms. Hamad, who is 15, and an American citizen, and wears a hijab.

The comment, overheard by a friend at Ms. Hamad’s side — though denied by the male student — set off a turbulent week of tears, fury and demonstrations at West High, a large public school in this university town, which prides itself on its openness and progressivism. Minorities make up nearly 40 percent of the student body at West High, a far more diverse mix than the typical Iowan school.

Note that the student who is accused by Ms. Hamad, who denies having said anything to her, is not given an opportunity to speak. If the incident really did “set off a turbulent week of tears, fury and demonstrations,” then why didn’t the Times reporter investigate more deeply, especially considering the quantity of such high-profile cases that have turned out to be hoaxes and frauds?

And why didn’t the SPLC investigate and report what it found as well?

Instead of doing any real reporting, the Times simply gives the SPLC space to claim that most such incidents are occurring at schools:

The Southern Poverty Law Center, which has been tracking thousands of such episodes since the election, said the most commonly reported locations for harassment were K-12 schools.

Since the SPLC was surveying schools exclusively, this “finding” might be classified “unsurprising.” The Times doesn’t mention this. It’s a perfect circle of pure confabulation.

And so the manufactured narrative propagates onward. Never mind the real violence that occurs at schools, where 5 percent of teachers report being physically attacked by students annually, theft and violence victimizes 5 students out of 100, 12 percent of students over the age of 12 report the presence of gangs in their schools, and nearly 6 percent of students report they stayed home from school out of fear for their safety.

Never mind, also, the real tidal wave of slurs, threats, riots, property damage, beatings, and blockades by the anti-Trump students and their teachers.

Why worry about speech when real violence is occurring? Why worry about schools at all?

Follow the money.

Ever since the Department of Justice ejected the SPLC for playing fast and loose with fundraising and general truthiness, the organization has focused more and more of its activities on K – 12 education, where there is virtually limitless money to be made by shilling anti-American curricula and selling “teacher trainings” in the wake of all the fake and nebulous “incidents” of “hate” gathered by in-house reporters of fake and nebulous “incidents” of “hate.”

Back on November 4, then-pre-president Hillary Clinton cited the SPLC report and the alleged “Trump Effect” to announce that she would be showering on groups such as the Southern Poverty Law Center $500 million in government money to “stop the bullying.” There’s big money in claiming our schools are awash with nine-year old white supremacists and neo-Nazis – and education funding is the only cash the SPLC can still skim off taxpayers these days.

Thus The Trump Effect reports.

The Author

Tina Trent

Tina Trent writes about crime and policing, political radicals, social service programs, and academia. She has published several reports for America’s Survival and helped the late Larry Grathwohl release a…

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