Boyles falsely denied League of the South declared Tancredo "our guest"

››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

Radio host Peter Boyles falsely declared that the controversy over the South Carolina League of the South's promotion of a speech by Republican U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo was "whole-cloth manufacturing" by the Southern Poverty Law Center. In fact, the League continued as of September 15 to post the invitation to the speech that said "Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-Colorado) will be our guest" on its website.

On September 14, KHOW-AM host Peter Boyles falsely declared that the controversy over the South Carolina League of the South's promotion of a speech by U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Littleton) on September 9 at the South Carolina State Museum was "whole-cloth manufacturing" by the Southern Poverty Law Center [SPLC]. Boyles insisted his "friends ... couldn't find" an online invitation in which the league -- which Boyles has described as a "racist" organization -- declared Tancredo "our guest."

On September 15, Boyles attacked the Rocky Mountain News' report that "the league had posted an invitation to its members saying Tancredo was 'our guest' at the event." Boyles falsely asserted, "The League never, on its website, claimed that Tancredo was their guest." In fact, as of the morning of September 15 when Boyles's show was being broadcast, the South Carolina League of the South continued to post the invitation that said "Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-Colorado) will be our guest" on its website.

SCLoS front page showing Tancredo as guest

Click the image above to view a full-sized screenshot.

In a September 11 article, apparently based in part on the South Carolina chapter of the League of the South's website claiming that Tancredo "will be our guest," the SPLC wrote that the chapter "hosted [the] barbeque in honor of Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo." But The Denver Post reported September 13 that the South Carolina Chapter of the League of the South "falsely claimed to have sponsored the event," and the Rocky Mountain News reported that the chapter has since acknowledged that it did not organize the event.

The event was a fundraiser for the conservative Americans Have Had Enough Coalition. Describing the fundraiser, the Rocky Mountain News reported September 13 that "Tancredo gave his standard immigration stump speech" and that "[t]here were Confederate flags in the room, and he [Tancredo] joined audience members in singing the Southern anthem Dixie." Similarly, The Denver Post reported September 13, "The Southern Poverty Law Center went to Saturday's museum event and reported details on its website, saying Tancredo 'addressed the standing-room audience of 200 to 250 from behind a podium draped in a Confederate battle flag.' "

As Colorado Media Matters has noted, The Denver Post reported September 13 that the SPLC and the Anti-Defamation League "consider the organization [the League of the South] a white-supremacist hate group." The Post reported that the League of the South's South Carolina chapter is a "neo-confederate group" and that "its website advocates 'a free and independent Southern republic' and eschews racial equality." On September 13, Boyles declared the League of the South is a "racist" organization.

The Post reported September 14 that, according to South Carolina League of the South board member Lourie Salley, "about 25" members of the chapter attended the fundraiser.

Defending Tancredo on September 13, Boyles attacked the SPLC. Boyles said that the SPLC "had initially claimed that they [the South Carolina League of the South] had claimed ... on their website" that Tancredo would be "our guest." Boyles said that the League "say[s], 'Look we never had it on our website.' " However, the Post reported in its September 14 article that Salley "said his group did not sponsor the appearance, although its website said 'Congressman Tom Tancredo ... will be our guest' at the event. That, he [Salley] said, meant Tancredo would be a guest of South Carolina."

Furthermore, on the September 14 broadcast of his show, Boyles stated that he "had some friends look on the website for that announcement and they couldn't find it. So that doesn't mean it wasn't there, it could have been taken down, but [the South Carolina League of the South] this morning, say look, we never claimed that."

On the September 15 broadcast of his show, Boyles attacked an article about the controversy in that day's Rocky Mountain News. Boyles asserted that News reporter M.E. Sprengelmeyer was "taking the word of the Southern Poverty Law Center" that "the League has posted an invitation to its members saying that Tancredo was a guest at the event." Boyles then said: "Remember the search that we had guys do? The League, never on its website, claimed Tancredo was their guest."

In fact, the online version of the September 13 article by Sprengelmeyer included the web address for the invitation posted on the South Carolina League of the South's website. The image, shown above, was taken from the website, which was still available the afternoon of September 15. It reads, in part: "Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-Colorado) will be our guest at the Visa Room of the SC State Museum at 11:00 AM, Saturday September 9th. Barbecue will be furnished by Maurice Bessinger's Piggy Park. The cost per plate will be approximately $20.00 with proceeds going to Congressman Tancredo's 501 (c) (4) organisation [sic], 'America has had enough'."

Boyles also claimed on September 14 that the South Carolina League of the South said it was "not there [at the speech]." However, on September 14, the Post reported -- citing Salley -- that "[a]bout 25 members of the South Carolina League of the South, which advocates an 'independent Southern republic,' attended Tancredo's speech Saturday in Columbia, S.C."

From the September 15 broadcast of The Peter Boyles Show:

BOYLES: The controversy began, here's the third paragraph, this has already been here on 630 KHOW for two days in a row, has been discredited as anything but true. But that isn't going to stop the Rocky, is it? Third paragraph, controversy begins when an anti-racism group, the Southern Poverty Law Center -- Morris Dees and company -- posted an online article calling the gathering a hate-group event. The law center claimed the gathering was hosted by the South Carolina Chapter of the League of the South, a Southern national group. Then it jumps to -- although the league had posted an invitation to its members saying Tancredo was our guest at the event. It's not true. This is the fourth paragraph. This is not true.

The South Carolina League, or the League of the South, which really does have a lot of problems, and I would absolutely say if they were the guys -- that's true. Then Tancredo would have some trouble, more than trouble. Certainly have trouble from me, if he went into a place knowing that it was hosted by them. But guess what, it wasn't hosted by them in spite of -- there's actually been printed evidence that it was not -- they have actually said, we had nothing to do with this.

That isn't going to stop Spiegelmeyer in the morning Rocky Mountain News. Although the League has posted an invitation to its members saying Tancredo was our guest at the event, it was officially sponsored by an unrelated conservative group, Americans Have Had Enough. Now, Americans Have Had Enough are going to be with us at seven o'clock this morning. By the way, and this is Spiegelmeyer, I guess, taking the word of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Remember the search that we had guys do? The League, never on its website, claimed Tancredo was their guest. That isn't going to stop people, is it? And guess what? Oh, my God; they've reported Tancredo to Jesse Jackson.

Maybe we can get the Rev. Steven Dewberry of the New Horizon Christian Community Ministry on the show this morning and ask him what he really knows about this. Mind you, the room itself was a room that was rented by another organization -- the Americans Have Had Enough.

From the September 14 broadcast of The Peter Boyles Show:

BOYLES: As you probably know, there's been this, it's a nothing burger, but it's more of the same. Tom Tancredo, speaking at the South Carolina State Museum, was racked up real hard by the Southern Poverty Law Center. And now this morning the leader of the Southern nationalist group that really is a racist organization has come out and said, "Look, we have nothing to do with that meeting, we had nothing to do with organizing it." And the claim that was made by the Southern Poverty Law Center -- that was on their website -- that isn't true either. And this is whole-cloth manufacturing. And so the organization that he spoke to was called Americans Have Had Enough -- they'll be with us in the next hour.

[...]

TANCREDO: One of the things both the Post and the Rocky Mountain News reporter told Carlos Espinosa -- he's our

BOYLES: Sure, I know Carlos.

TANCREDO: When this stuff started coming down, Carlos kept saying to them, "What is the story here?" This outfit that claims itself to have been sponsoring this thing, the League of the South, was not sponsoring it, we never had anything to do with it, we never heard of it.

BOYLES: And apparently this rap was what they claimed on a website, but this morning, and I don't know with you busy, but

TANCREDO: No, I haven't seen anything.

BOYLES: But this morning, the group itself says we never claimed that we were sponsoring Tancredo.

TANCREDO: Yeah.

BOYLES: The so-called. I'll read you the fourth paragraph -- The South Carolina League of the South website posted an announcement Tancredo will be our guest at Saturday's event. And now they're saying, no, we never claimed that. And I had some friends look on the website for that announcement and they couldn't find it. So that doesn't mean it wasn't there, it could have been taken down, but they this morning say look, we never claimed that.

[...]

BOYLES: This morning, just FYI, Lourie Salley, board member of South Carolina League of the South, lashes out in saying, "Look, we had nothing to do with this, we never claimed that." The Southern Poverty Law Center had initially claimed that they had claimed it on their website; they say, "Look we never had it on our website." And so, you know.

[...]

BOYLES: And we had Congressman Tancredo on speaking about what did happen in that museum in South Carolina. In other words, he didn't pick the room. He thought that he was going to an outdoor barbecue and it ends up where it ends up. And then we spoke with Tony Horowitz. I thought that it was a good interview. Confederates in the attic was, because the re-enactors came up yesterday. And Tom said in fact he didn't see any re-enactors in the room. Doesn't say they weren't there, he said, but I didn't see them.

But he said that he didn't know anybody that was in that room. But as you know, the Southern Poverty Law Center claimed that the Southern -- The South Carolina League of the South had claimed that they had sponsored this. And I had friends look on the Internet and couldn't find their sponsorship. And then, this morning, they came out said, "Look, we never claimed this -- this was put on us by the Southern Poverty Law Center." And Tom talked about the Post and the News coverage of this.

[...]

BOYLES: The reason that this story becomes a story in the Rocky and the Post is that the claims made by the Southern Poverty Law Center -- that Tancredo was sponsored by the South Carolina League of the South. South Carolina League of the South, this comes up: We were not sponsors. We were not there.

We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.