The Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian nonprofit dedicated to defending “religious freedom, sanctity of life, and marriage and family,” is demanding an apology and a retraction from ABC News after the network labeled it a “hate group” in a recent article.
ABC News reporters Pete Madden and Erin Golloway penned an article earlier this week with the headline, “Jeff Sessions addresses ‘anti-LGBT hate group,’ but DOJ won’t release his remarks.”
— Pete Madden (@pamadden) July 12, 2017
The opening paragraph of the article stated that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions “delivered a speech to an alleged hate group at an event closed to reporters on Tuesday night, but the Department of Justice is refusing to reveal what he said.”
ABC News branded the Alliance Defending Freedom as a “hate group” because the left-leaning Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled the nonprofit as such. The SPLC describes the ADF as a group that “specializes in supporting the recriminalization of homosexuality abroad, ending same-sex marriage, and generally making life as difficult as possible for LGBT communities in the U.S. and internationally.”
In response to the ABC News story, the ADF is calling out Madden and Golloway for “journalistic malpractice,” slamming the reporters for using “false charges against Alliance Defending Freedom by a radically partisan, violence-inciting organization like Southern Poverty Law Center” in their story.
“Americans’ trust in media is cratering, and the blatant bias and lack of professionalism that ABC attempted to pass off as news can only serve to confirm and intensify that distrust,” ADF spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said in a statement. “Southern Poverty Law Center spends its time and money attacking veterans, nuns, Muslims who oppose terrorism, Catholics, Evangelicals, and anyone else who dares disagree with its fringe ideology.”
She continued: “For the sake of its own integrity, ABC News should issue an apology to Alliance Defending Freedom and retract the defamatory story it published Wednesday.”
Several well-known conservative voices criticized ABC News — and NBC News, which ran a similar story — for its coverage of Sessions’ address to the ADF.
— Denny Burk (@DennyBurk) July 13, 2017
Wow, ADF is not a "hate group." Amazing that media keeps treating SPLC seriously. Extreme bias. https://t.co/R0lFCw8Gr4
— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) July 13, 2017
ABC News calls a Christian legal group a “hate group” for defending Christians in court. https://t.co/UujgYzvgYb
— Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) July 13, 2017
If nothing else, this ordeal has shined a light on the SPLC’s partisan efforts. After all, a spokeswoman for the liberal group recently told Politico, “We are focused, whether people like it or not, on the radical right. We believe that it’s uniquely threatening to democracy.”
And for what it’s worth, The Federalist has obtained a copy of Sessions’ address from earlier this week. The attorney general used his speech before the ADF to outline the rich history of religious freedom in the United States and highlight how today’s culture “has become less hospitable to people of faith and to religious belief.”
“Our freedom as citizens has always been inextricably linked with our religious freedom as a people,” Sessions said. “It has protected both the freedom to worship and the freedom not to believe as well.”