Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Your Provocative Idea For Tuesday Alternet Belongs On The Southern Poverty Law Center's Hate Group Watch List

Looking over the various putrid groups that The Southern Poverty Law Center has put on its list of hate groups, many of them call for violence, murder and genocide but the explicit calls for murder and violence are at the end of a continuum that begins with bigotry and hatred.   Some of them are pseudo-Christian groups and other groups which certainly don't represent any kind of coherent continuation of the majority of Jews, Muslims or others who nominally share the same general identity.

But groups that have not actually advocated violence or murder are on the list, The American Family Association is, rightly, on the list for pushing an extreme message of hatred of LGBT people, much of which, change a few words, and you could find similar stuff on mainstream atheist promoting websites, the James Randi "Educational" Foundation,  "Freethought Blogs" Alternet, Salon....

Alternet is a good example,  typical of the higher end of atheist hate talk, with a number of regulars who write dozens of articles for them which are often carried by other online magazines such as Salon.  Just take one of the Alternet regulars, Valerie Tarico and look at her index of articles.  6 Ways Religion Does More Bad Than Good, 10 Ways Religious Groups Are Freeloading Off of Taxpayers,  Smut in Jesusland: Why Red-State Conservatives Are the Biggest Porn Hounds,....   That last one is massivly hypocritical for the editors and publishers of Alternet which also carries numerous articles promoting pornography and prostitution and turning people into sex objects through the pseudo-feminist pose of "sex pos".  Apparently what they think is good when you're an atheist is to be condemned when they can assert it's being done by Christians based on geographic location.   If you changed a few words and she were targeting Jews or people of color, the hate content of her screeds would be undeniable and would fit in quite well with what is said by a number of those on the SPLC hate watch list.

And she's just one of the hate talkers at Alternet.   Amanda Marcotte has ridden anti-religious hatred to a kind of fame,  Dan Arel is definitely professionally anti-religious, though his hate talk is somewhat moderate for Alternet.  I would have included the index to Alternet's long time hate scribe C. J. Werleman but he was found to have also been a plagiarist last month and they have removed his archive from the site.   So, just for the record, they didn't remove him for spreading hate and misinformation about religious people over the years but cribbing some words will get you the boot from Alternet.  I don't know how Salon, who frequently carried his Alternet screeds announced it had been publishing plagarized content but that's about the only thing I know that will get an atheist hate talker banned from allegedly respectable company.

Since atheist content is guaranteed click bait, a major attraction at Alternet are the comment threads which seethe with hate talk that is considerably worse than the articles they are attached to.  Hate speech is the norm on any article that even indirectly impinges on religious issues, especially anything to do with Christianity.   I know for a fact that Alternet bans commentators but obviously not for even violent hate talk and the crudest, most extravagant lies about  religious people and groups.

The fact is that entities such as Alternet, especially through their ability to mix virulent hate talk with other content and to get its hate talk content on to other sites, such as Salon, have a role in mainstreaming some extreme hate right into the center of that mainstream, peddling hate to a young audience.  In some ways that ability is not dissimilar to such groups as The American Family Association on cabloid TV in the past and other groups on the SPLC's list.  I would guess that as the hatred of LGBT people becomes, thankfully, less tolerated the kind that Alternet specializes in will count for an increasing percentage of it in the general society.  I don't think that's a good thing.

Update:  I should point out that Amanda Marcotte's Pandagon-Raw Story archive may contain some of her most virulent hate content, from back before she cleaned up her act, somewhat, in the wake of her being dumped from the John Edwards campaign when her previous posts caught up with her.  I have not been able to find anything and suspect she may have taken a lot of that stuff down.  If anyone knows how to access her writing from the middle of the last decade or so, I will link to it.


  1. I have all but decided hate is all the internet really does.

    My daughter was telling me about the scientist on the comet probe who showed up for the press conference in a shirt designed by a friend, a woman: because it displayed half-dressed women in the print, he's been excoriated to the point of tears for daring to wear it at the conference, and so offend someone on the internet.

    It's the New Puritanism, with the World Wide Web behind it. If something someone does offends me, I must rally my troops and destroy that person. Or at least scream about them, loud and long. After all, it's not MY fault I'm offended.

    And so Marcotte and Tarico (Werleman seems to have turned in his atheist shtick lately; maybe that's why he's accused of plagiarism: it gets rid of him) find things to hate, the better to rile up their audience and get more clicks. Or attention. Or something.

    Negativity feeding negativity, and the only interest is: who are we bashing now? It's ironic Tarico accuses religion of creating groups with distinctive boundaries (as if human beings didn't do that on a regular basis anyway: it's sociology 101), and then she creates as tight a group around her hate-mongering as she can manage.

    Conversation is not possible. Discussion is not possible. All the web seems to be good for is screaming and yelling at some figure somewhere (on Salon, if it isn't "Christians," it's Woody Allen or, now, Bill Cosby. Gotta find a celebrity past his prime to call a sex criminal, because it generates the clicks. When that gets old, find another atheist....),

    If this is the brave new world the Internet promises, I'd rather go back to the boob tube. At least we were passive when we just stared at that; and it didn't keep us from getting involved in the Civil Rights movement, or the anti-war movement.

    More and more I think the intertoobs are just getting us involved in the virtual bowel movement....

  2. I'd wondered if that might have something to do with them turning on Werleman, too but haven't had the time to document it.

    Alternet is rather remarkable in how devoted to anti-religious hatred it is. When a magazine devotes so much of its resources to one fixation it's no accident and it exposes more about its real motives than they will explicitly say. I always wonder if some unnamed funding source has something to do with it. As I've noted, Corliss Lamont was behind a lot of the "Humanist" "skeptic" junk which was a direct precursor of the new atheism, many of the same people being involved, many of the same groupings of people.

    I've come to the conclusion that it's a hate group as devoted to spreading hate of its obsession as much as the others on the SPLC's list.