- On or about September 12, 2003, the City of Fresno disseminated a News Release entitled, "Human Relations Commission News Release," a true and correct copy of which is attached hereto as Exhibit "A" and made a part hereof (hereinafter, the "Release"). The Release refers to claimant as "a hate group." In addition, the Release states: "This group has also planned a ‘Free Republic Hate Rally Picnic’ in District 6," and accuses claimant of making "threats of violence toward any minority groups that interfere with their rally or picnic." The Release constitutes a false and unprivileged fixed representation to the eye which exposes claimant to hatred, contempt, ridicule, or obloquy, causes it to be shunned or avoided, and has a tendency to injure claimant in its occupation, trade or business. In addition, the Release charges claimant with a crime in that it accuses claimant of making "threats of violence" towards minority groups.
I'm not sure what criteria the Fresno HRC employs in determining what constitutes a "hate" group, but the Southern Poverty Law Center's is that such a group "attacks or maligns an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics." The SPLC does not list Free Republic as a hate group, but at various and multiple times, Freepers have engaged in such behavior, especially in the site's comments. Of particular note is the relentless attacks on homosexuals.
However, the site's owners have been fairly adept at quickly removing not only any liberal who dares post there, but also egregious and open cases of racism and anti-Semitism from its Web pages. What has resulted instead is a lot of rhetoric that treads up to those boundaries but only occasionally wanders over into overt racism.
Nonetheless, knowing the proclivities of the Freepers, the claims made by the Fresno HRC sound perfectly credible. Moreover, considering the massive amount of dis- and misinformation that is regularly peddled at the site, anything claimed to contrary by the Free Republic must be viewed skeptically.
Let's get out the popcorn and watch this case. I'd like some butter on it.