ADL/AOL Blocking Software
AOL has 10 million subscribers. What ADL wants is to have AOL include software set to block the ADL list, knowing that most neophytes will never know they are blocked or figure out how to unblock access. Thus the key issue is whether ADL can reach a deal with AOL blocking right wing sites as the default option. Note also the fact that Fletcher and his editors somehow instinctively and reflexively know to use a well worn propaganda technique to set the proper emotional tone at the beginning of their NEWS article. The crude image of Klan hangings is used to justify the private censorship effort of ADL. In fact, the ADL is interested in blocking access to the intellectual sites, not the crude ones! Many of the crude sites are run by liberals trying to discredit us. This is just one more example of how ADL gains control of the media.
Oct. 24, 1997
Web sees hate sites spread
· As alarm rises, however, free-speech activists worry about proposed cures
BY MICHAEL FLETCHER
The Washington Post
WASHINGTON - If a contestant misses a word while playing the online version of the game hangman on a Ku Klux Klan Web site, he gets to hang "Leroy," an African American figure. After the lynching, the computer screams: "You win!"
Another site on the World Wide Web promotes the fictional notion that the Holocaust never occurred. "Did six million die?" it asks.
Still another Web site proclaims that Jews are "the anti-Christ," the result of a union between Eve and Satan. Another resurrects the ridiculous tale, popular in 19th century Europe, that Jews use the blood of Christian children as an ingredient in matzo.
Those are a small part a fast growing phenomenon cited in a new Anti-Defamation League report on the use of the Internet by racist and other hate groups to spread their messages and recruit supporters.
The ADL says there are 250 hate sites on the World Wide Web, a figure that has more than doubled in the past year.
While racist and separatist groups have long distributed their propaganda using everything from fliers and newspapers to radio shows and public access cable, the ADL says the Internet represents a more ominous threat because of its revolutionary low cost and global reach.
"Shrewd bigots of all kinds are rushing to use the enormous power of this new communications medium, and we must match and surpass them," said Abraham Foxman, the ADL's national director. "We must continue to expose them, to hold them up to public scrutiny and to counter their messages of hate."
The ADL says children are especially vulnerable to these materials because they are more likely to accept them as fact.
How to combat hate on the Internet is a problem the ADL is struggling to solve. Most speech on the Internet is protected by the First Amendment, putting it out of reach of lawmakers. Also, many Internet access providers are reluctant to censor materials voluntarily, for fear of the unending demands that would no doubt surface.
"We have people who say 'Tom Sawyer' and 'The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn' ought not be in the library," said Dennis Van Roekel, a National Education Association official who spoke at an ADL panel Tuesday on hate on the Internet.
ADL is working with America Online to develop software that would allow people to filter out hate sites.
"There is nothing wrong with brand-name filtering software," said Christian Wolf, a lawyer working with ADL to monitor objectionable material on the Internet. "If you don't like ADL's view of the world, you don't have to use our software."
The idea of software filters does not sit well with free-speech advocates. Barry Steinhardt, associate director of the American Civil Liberties Union, said any type of censorship is something the ACLU will watch closely.
"We of course have always believed that the best response to bad speech is more speech," he said. "We applaud the ADL for bringing to light what they view as hate speech and for responding to it.... (But) we are waiting to see precisely how the ADL software is to work and what their alliance with America Online will be."