Hale turning to cable again

Avowed racist's first public access show focuses on Ben Smith

Peoria Journal Star/February 29, 2000
By Andy Kravetz

Peoria - After a three-year hiatus, white supremacist Matt Hale will again produce a cable-access show to promote his racist beliefs. Dubbed "The White Revolution," the new half-hour show will air at 9 p.m. Wednesdays in East Peoria and at 6:30 p.m. Thursdays in Peoria on Channel 22.

The first show, which airs Wednesday night will reveal the "truth about Ben Smith" - the former member of Hale's group who killed two and wounded nine before killing himself last July.

"It'll show what type of a man he was," Hale said from his home Monday afternoon. "People will have a very different picture of this man after they watch the show."

Wednesday's show will mark the return to public-access television for the 28-year-old avowed racist from East Peoria. From 1990 until 1997, Hale produced several shows that touted his views on blacks, Jews, interracial dating and racial pride.

Hale is the leader of the World Church of the Creator - an organization that espouses the notion that blacks, Jews and other "mud races" are inferior to whites.

On Monday, he said he plans to mail videotapes to church members in other cities so they could broadcast the show on their cable-access channel. For Hale, the issue is as simple as the First Amendment, but Harlan Loeb, regional consul for the Anti- Defamation League in Chicago, flatly rejects that.

"He thinks he is very clever because he uses the First Amendment, but that's patently offensive because he would be the first to deny that same right to all non-whites," Loeb said. "It is disingenuous for Matt Hale to champion the First Amendment when the only people who could enjoy the same rights are pathetic racists like himself."

But Loeb and Ed Yohnka, a spokesman for the American Civil Liberties Union, agree that Hale has the right to broadcast his views over the air. "I think that as long as Mr. Hale does not advocate specific violent acts, he is OK," said Yohnka, who likened public access channels to a "technological town square."

AT&T Cable makes Channel 22 available for shows that fall into the categories of public, educational or governmental access, said George Bean, the cable company's local access coordinator.

The PEG Commission, the city-appointed board that governs the city-funded public access channel, sets the guidelines and procedures for Channel 22. PEG stands for "public, educational and governmental," the three types of programming noncommercial cable channels are supposed to air.

Hale's show complies with those guidelines, Bean said.

"And for those who don't agree, the avenue is always open to get your own program and promote your point of view if you have any discrepancy with his viewpoint," he added.

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