A coalition of conservative groups whose advocacy has been labeled "hate" by the leftist media-darling Southern Poverty Law Center are launching a counteroffensive Monday, accusing it of fueling hate, killing free speech and even encouraging terrorist-style attacks on those it doesn't agree with.
The effort, which includes a video and planned Monday tweetstorm, takes aim at SPLC's so-called "hate map" which identifies groups it says promotes hate and extremism. It includes groups like the Ku Klux Klan, but also conservative nonprofits that promote traditional marriage, enforcement of immigration laws, and other policies it doesn't agree with.
The campaign, revealed to Secrets, is being led by the Washington-based Family Research Council, the social conservative policy giant whose entrance guard was shot in 2012 by a man inspired by SPLC's hate map that listed FRC as an anti-gay "hate" group.
"Despite SPLC's baggage — which also includes connections to two liberal gunmen – they continue to be cited as a credible source by mainstream media and others. With SPLC in the spotlight, we must expose this organization for what it really is – a left wing smear group who has become exactly what they set out to fight, spreading hate and putting targets on people's backs," said a note to supporters from FRC, which also noted the support for the SPLC of the gunman who shot up a GOP congressional baseball practice, seriously injuring House Majority Whip Steve Scalise.
The effort follows a big win by the groups this month in getting the influential group GuideStar, which rates charities for contributors, to stop including SPLC hate "flags" in their reviews.
Over three dozen conservative representatives wrote in a letter to GuideStar, "The ‘hate group' list is nothing more than a political weapon targeting people it deems to be its political enemies." Among the signers: Eagle Forum, FRC, National Organization for Marriage, former Reagan Attorney General Edwin Meese, Heritage Foundation, Immigration Reform Law Institute, and Judicial Watch.
The FRC memo directed supports to a video on the effort and listed several suggested tweets to use and a hashtag for the effort, #SPLCexposed:
"Tune in on July 16th for D. James Kennedy Ministries' special exposing the SPLC (full show available online here beginning July 14th), then join us on July 17th for a social media campaign using the hashtag #SPLCexposed on Twitter and Facebook," it said.
The SPLC had no immediate response.
One of the suggested tweets references the FRC shooter Floyd Corkins:
"@SPLCenter has been linked in federal court to convicted domestic terrorist Floyd Corkins. http://tws.io/2sYsPEx #SPLCexposed"
Another noted the FBI's severing of ties to SPLC over domestic terror:
"There's a reason the FBI distanced themselves w/ @splcenter. They're discredited & linked to terrorism: http://ow.ly/Miilg #SPLCexposed"
The video provides some details about the "domestic terrorism" shooting at FRC and amounts to a warning to conservative and Christian groups targeted by the SPLC that the liberal group has issued a "noose of hate" against non-hate groups it doesn't agree with.
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org