WASHINGTON - JULY 10:  Morris Dees, founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center, speaks about hate crimes at the National Press Club on July 10, 2009 in Washington, DC. Mr. Dees spoke about the recent attack on the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.  (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

The Southern Poverty Law Center has targeted WND with one of its well-practiced smears.

SPLC, a self-styled “civil rights” organization, has attempted to discredit WND by associating the organization with a group that indulged in a negligible amount of over-the-top rhetoric.

SPLC has come under fire in the past for using a political bullying technique called “bracketing,” in which a respectable organization is smeared by linking it to racist or violent groups. Just last week, WND reported on SPLC efforts to “bracket” the nation’s most prestigious pro-family organizations by labeling them “haters” of homosexuals. 

“The SPLC is a marginal, fringe, extremist organization that establishes its own credibility and fund-raising base by attacking others as marginal, fringe and extremist” said Joseph Farah, founder of WND. “They employ the worst kinds of Saul Alinsky-style tactics, but they are nothing more than a hate-mongering machine that slimes others for fun and profit. I think most informed people on the left and right recognize this fact – but it still bears repeating over and over for those who have not caught on to their modus operandi.”

In an article headlined “Patriot Rhetoric Becomes Increasingly Violent,” SPLC described the group, the American Policy Center, as a “conspiracy-minded” arm of the “Patriot movement,” which is “determined to take back the country for the people.” APC describes itself as an advocate of free markets and limited government.

SPLC wrote that speakers at APC’s August, 2010 Freedom Action National Conference were “united by rage” at the federal government.

The FANC conference was held at Valley Forge, Penn.

SPLC acknowledged that “most” of the speakers at the FANC conference “proposed nominally peaceful options” for engaging the government.

“But none dismissed the possibility – even the probability – of violence,” SPLC warned.

SPLC was able to point at only three speakers who arguably advocated violence, and none of these issued any specific calls to arms.

“The most overt call for violence came from former Arizona sheriff Richard Mack,” wrote SPLC. “‘My dear friends, I pray for the day that the first sheriff in this country [is] the one to fire the shot heard ’round the world and take out some IRS agents!’ Mack said.”

SPLC proceeded to associate WND with APC, which it had just accused of using violent rhetoric.

“A month after the Valley Forge conclave, a different group of Patriots met in a far different setting. The three-day “Taking America Back” conference at the Doral Golf Resort & Spa in Miami was organized by the right-wing WorldNetDaily.”

SPLC was able to point to only one instance of allegedly “violent” rhetoric at Doral:

“‘At some point, being conservative is not enough,’ Farah said in comments kicking off the conference that recalled some of the hot talk at Valley Forge. ‘That’s when you need warriors.'”

SPLC also criticized conference speaker Floyd Brown, chairman of the Western Center for Journalism:

“‘If he can’t subvert America, I really believe Barack Obama wants to bankrupt America,’ said Floyd Brown, a consultant who is infamous for his racially charged Willie Horton television ad that severely damaged the 1988 campaign of Democratic presidential candidate Michael Dukakis.”

“I think it’s outrageous they could contend anything we said was inciting violence,” Brown told WND. “We’re all involved in political speech and political speech is protected by the First Amendment, and we’re entitled to criticize Barack Obama. It’s an outrageous example of political correctness gone mad. We don’t live in a police state yet!

“They try to claim we’re inciting people to violence,” Brown continued. “That’s similar to accusations they’ve made against the tea-party movement, that the tea party is working toward violence, and it couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s an outright lie. If you look at the rhetoric of the Left, it’s much more militaristic and openly calling for revolution. All we’re seeking is a restoration of the freedoms of our forefathers.”

Note: Read our discussion guidelines before commenting.