What do Glenn Beck, Ron Paul, Michele Bachmann and Joseph Farah have in common?
They’re all prominently featured in a new list of 40 “patriots” and “enablers” that a left-leaning group thinks Americans should be concerned about.
In its new report titled, “Meet the Patriots,” the Southern Poverty Law Center states: “In the last year and a half, militias and the larger antigovernment ‘patriot’ movement have exploded, accompanied by the rapid expansion of other sectors of the radical right. This spectacular growth is the result of several factors, including anger over major political, demographic and economic changes in America, along with the popularization of radical ideas and conspiracy theories by ostensibly mainstream politicians and media commentators.”
It defines “patriots” as “people who generally believe that the federal government is an evil entity that is engaged in a secret conspiracy to impose martial law, herd those who resist into concentration camps, and force the United States into a socialistic ‘New World Order.'”
The report calls Fox News host Glenn Beck “the Ringmaster” of the movement, noting, “With his weepy, chalkboard-scrawling appeals to Americans fearful that their government is leading them down the path to ruin, Glenn Beck has rocketed up the ladder of conservative icons and is using his popularity to directly shape a far-right resurgence.”
Regarding Bachmann, the Republican congresswoman from Minnesota, the report says, “When it comes to spreading fear of a menacing federal government infested with anti-American elements, U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann can give even the most paranoid militiaman a run for his money.”
WND Editor Joseph Farah is described as “a leading fomenter of the baseless claim that President Obama was not born in Hawaii, but in Africa, and so is not qualified to be president.” It also says he could not be reached for comment.
“Could not be reached for comment?” asked Farah in a response column. “Let me state unequivocally and for the record, the gutless, little cowards at the Southern Poverty Law Center with their $300 million annual budget never had the courage to call me, leave a message or send an e-mail! I would have been amused to answer the accusations of [SPLC Founder Morris] Dees or one of his little minions. Anyone who knows me understands how much I like to mix it up with those who disagree with me. Could not be reached for comment, indeed. Larceny and cowardice are the trademarks of Dees and company.
“And, just for the record,” Farah continued, “though I have spoken and written hundreds of thousands of words about Barack Obama’s failure to prove his eligibility, I have never said or written that he ‘was not born in Hawaii, but in Africa.’ What I have said is ever so simple: Obama has not proven he was born in the United States and a natural born citizen. It’s amazing to me with all I write – six columns a week, more than a dozen books, thousands of hours of broadcast time – that people still feel compelled to put words in my mouth!”
Topping the list is Chuck Baldwin, a Pensacola, Fla.-based pastor and radio talk-show host, who also ran for president in 2008 as the nominee of the Constitution Party.
“In one of his more sweeping and patriot-like observations, Baldwin writes that ‘there is a conspiracy by elitists within government and big business to steal America’s independence,'” the report states.
Baldwin is firing back in a column in which he says, “The SPLC is one of the most ultra-liberal organizations in the country and should be dismissed as a group of paranoid leftists, not worthy of thought or mention.
“The sad truth is, however, our federal government has chosen to exalt the SPLC to the position of being its ‘go to’ source for information regarding ‘potential domestic terrorists’ and similar characterizations. As a result, the information and reports disseminated by SPLC wind up in police reports and bulletins all over the United States. …
“One could even question whether the SPLC is merely a front organization for Big Brother. Therefore, it is highly likely that the report negatively profiling 40 American patriots will find its way into Department of Homeland Security fusion centers and be distributed to police agencies all across the country. So, should the 40 people who find themselves targeted by SPLC expect some kind of government/police attention? Are we really that close to Nazi-style persecution in America? If the SPLC has its way, the answer seems to be a definite yes.”
Some other well-known names on the list include U.S. Rep. Paul Broun, R-Ga.; Fox News legal analyst and former Judge Andrew Napolitano; tax protester and former IRS special agent Joe Banister; columnist Devvy Kidd; and radio talk-show host Alex Jones.
Just last month, as WND reported, the SPLC launched an attack against the tea-party phenomenon, claiming the movement is “shot through” with radical ideas and tied with “hate groups,” “furious anti-immigrant vigilante groups” and “so-called ‘patriot’ groups.”