Conservatives’ antipathy towards the Girl Scouts has generally been found on the fringes. In 1994, for example, James Dobson’s Focus on the Family published a memorable attack on the Girl Scouts, insisting the group “lost their way” after the Scouts made a religious oath optional for membership. (For the religious right, faith shouldn’t be voluntary; it should be mandated on children by authority figures demanding vows of allegiance.)

I can’t find it online anymore, but back in 2005, Amanda Marcotte had a great item about various paranoid voices on the right, complaining about “radical lesbian feminists” having taken over the Girl Scouts.

In general, most of the American mainstream ignored all of this, and the Girl Scouts were not caught up in the right’s culture war. But just over the last few days, conservatives’ hostility seems to have reached new heights.

The right-wing media closed out 2011 by attacking the Girl Scouts of America for, in the words of Glenn Beck website The Blaze, publishing a book that “refers young readers to Media Matters for America as one of the primary sources for debunking lies and deceit.” Fox News led the charge, devoting more than 15 minutes over two days and three programs to the GSA’s “liberal ideology,” including its purported ties to Planned Parenthood.

It was a quite week for these attacks. The cast of “Fox & Friends” told viewers the Girl Scouts have a “liberal bias”; a co-host of Fox News’ “The Five” called the Girl Scouts’ book “indoctrination”; and CNN contributor Dana Loesch not only lamented the “moral decline” of the Girl Scouts, she also suggested conservatives should stop buying their cookies as a form of political protest.

Comedy Central responded with the appropriate derision.

Don’t be fooled by those cute little outfits or merit badges. The Girl Scouts aren’t just selling you a pack of cookies — they’re selling you a pack of lies, with a light coating of toasted coconut communism. Why do the Girl Scouts teach survival skills? It’s clearly an attempt to build some kind of liberal tween militia. Volunteering and “helping” others? Just another strategy to mobilize the working poor and other key Democratic voting blocs.

We need to shield our nation’s girls from this dangerous organization and stop them from drinking the Kool-Aid, no matter how well it washes down those Thin Mints.

This was, in case it’s not obvious, sarcasm.

Unfortunately, this story does not have a happy ending. In a statement, Girl Scouts of the USA confirmed this week that future editions of its materials will not refer readers to Media Matters.

The conservative freak-out appears to have worked.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.