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Yahoo, AP and the mainstreaming of hate speech


by Ahmed Amr

(Thursday, June 17, 2010)



“Don’t take my word for it. Just go out to Yahoo at any given time of the day and you’ll be obliged to digest a full portion of the hateful banter that has been screened and approved by Yahoo’s moderators. And you can’t help but notice that the articles are all AP articles.”


Hate Muslims and Mexicans? Yahoo has discovered a niche market; they’ve modeled their news portals to attract and accommodate your derogatory and extremist banter. If you’re a bigot in search of a podium to spew your racist filth, Yahoo will roll out the red carpets and port your comments from article to article to make sure your hate vibes resonate among like minded travelers.

Marketing hate speech is perfectly legal – at least in the United States and, to put it mildly, the folks at Yahoo have cast aside their terms of use and stretched the letter of the law to allow their readers to post comments inciting violence and calling for genocide against certain ethnic groups.

It’s amazing what a decade can do to a news portal like Yahoo. Ten years ago when the internet was young and as fresh as the day it was born, Yahoo offered up diverse opinions from news sources that represented everybody from the right to the progressive left. Well as the old folks say – ‘those days are gone’ and you can kiss the new Yahoo goodbye when it comes to getting alternative points of view.

If you’re looking for international news, Yahoo publishes Associated Press (AP) content and almost nothing else. But that’s neither here nor there; what really concerns me is that Yahoo and AP engage in a very unique practice which, in my opinion, is border line criminal and certainly unethical. The two media giants string user comments from old articles and port them to new AP articles. In one instance, a string of over 50,000 comments was ported from one AP article to another for two months. That contention is not in dispute. Both Yahoo and AP were apparently contacted by other journalists and neither denied the practice.

AP is now claiming that this is a Yahoo problem that they didn’t have a clue about it. Now how likely is that? I checked Yahoo’s home page a few days ago and they had a display of nine articles under the World News tab. Every single one of them was an AP article. You wouldn’t buy a paper that was wall-to-wall AP press stories. But that’s a matter of taste and I won’t press the point.

Back to the comment strings that Yahoo and AP port from one article to another. First of all, they’re very selective about which articles they port comments to. The nine articles I mentioned have a comment count ranging from 69 to 17,268. Some AP articles have comments ported, but others don’t. So it’s not a software glitch. What exactly are Yahoo’s criteria for porting comments? That’s a question that deserves an answer. If you review the evidence presented below, it seems like they only ported strings of comments on AP articles related to the Middle East and Mexico – and the comment stings that are ported include a toxic dose of racist invective. When you set up a news portal for demented bigots – you need to keep the racist hordes entertained and recycled comments is Yahoo’s way of putting more red meat on the plate.

All one can do to decipher Yahoo’s methodology is analyze the evidence presented below in Exhibit A. Notice that every single one of the stories is from the Associated Press. That makes for nine out of nine. Compare that to Google’s News feature which presents news from four thousand sources and you’ll have no doubt that Yahoo’s lack of diversity is an aberration.

But that’s not half the story. At any given moment, you can find thousands of obscenely racist comments attached to featured AP articles – some of them dating back two or three months.

Don’t take my word for it. Just go out to Yahoo at any given time of the day and you’ll be obliged to digest a full portion of the hateful banter that has been screened and approved by Yahoo’s moderators. And you can’t help but notice that the articles are all AP articles.

I don’t have to go to too much effort to prove my point. It’s now 11 AM, Eastern Standard Time – Wednesday – June 16, 2010. I’m going to go pick up a quick sample to demonstrate that Yahoo has become the world’s single greatest purveyor of racist screeds. What follows is a small portion of the comments that were posted to a single AP article. So far, this particular string of comments has mushroomed to 11,944 comments. What’s interesting is that the article used in this example was posted only four hours ago (“Calderon asks for Mexicans’ support as toll rises – by Olga Rodriquez, Wed Jun 16, 7:04 am ET).” But the comment string stretches back three months to March 10, 2010. This is but a small sample of the user comments added to the string in the last 24 hours. Excuse the spelling and punctuation – they only go to demonstrate the level of intellect you’re likely to encounter on a Yahoo message board.

“Let the brown-turds kill each other who cares.” “ENGLISH only, no more Mexican crap. Don’t buy Mexico products. If you see them in the store–accidently on purpose knock the crap off the shelf.” “I say let the Mexicans kill themselves – less roaches to worry about.” “I say we nuke Mexico right along with the Middle East.” ”IF IT’S BROWN SHOOT IT.” “Mexico is worse than a 3rd world country! It is one of the most disgusting places on earth!! It’s so bad even the roaches are leaving and invading our great country! “ ”Keep the mexicana over in mexico let them kill each other, I don’t want them in USA there are too many here now. Ship them all back.” “Let those savages kill each other! Those sub-humans deserve to die!!!!!!” “MEXICO IS A BIG TOILET BOWL ,, FILLED WITH SH$#$#t AND IT KEEP S OVERFLOWING INTO THE USA,,,”

…….

“Population control MUST be implemented. White people at least know not to have more and more babies when they CANNOT AFFORD them. WE reward these breeding@#$%roaches for having them, only to make the situation worse, and worse. Send them home, if it takes fear, violence, whatever. They are detrimental to this country.” “The only problem with the US invading Mexico is that the b@st@rds breed faster than we can kill them!” ”Mexicans go home were you belong don`t come here and multiply like rats and take away the food stamps and cash aid that should go to the people live here leagally” ”keep the filth from coming into the U.S.A.!!! Go Arizona!!!!!!” “Keep all Mexicans out of our Country – These are dangerous people who provide dope to our children.” ”The answer to the Mexican problem is as follows, and I quote: Exterminate the brutes” “You can’t get rid of those Mayan bloodletting genes unless you exterminate the lot of them and start all over with new stock!” “less mexicans is a good thing”

…….

“AS long as it be WetBaks shootin WetBaks I can’t see a down side.” “MEXICO IS FULL OF LOW-LIFE SCUMBAG ANIMALS. SEND ALL OF THE FILTHY ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS BACK TO MEXICO ASAP!” “mommas dont let youre babies grow up to like mexicans because they are vermin scum”

…….

“CALDARON KEEPS BLAMING HIS ANIMAL POPULATION ON US. HIS PROBLEM IS THAT EVERYBODY IS IN THE POCKET OF THE CARTELS, INCLUDING HIM I SAY LETS NUKE MEXICO AND ALL ITS DIRTY UNEDUCATED PEOPLE. STAY AWAY FROM US AND STOP CAUSING PROBLEMS HERE.” “Anybody want to vacation in Mexico? Tourism is their biggest money maker (besides drugs) I can’t imagine having anything to do with that barbaric country.” “Mexico is a country for the dead. The people are scum and the government is bought by the drug lords.”

In a previous article, Suing Racist Yahoos, I gave a sampling of the derogatory comments one is likely to run into when reading virtually any article related to the Middle East.

“START CONFRONTING MUSLIMS AND INTIMIDATE THEM INTO LEAVING” “72 VIRGINS AND A RIVER OF WINE IS WHAT THESE BONEHEADS ARE PROMISED OVER THERE, LMFAO. IF THEY DO IT HERE THEY GET 6 CRACKHEADS AND A CASE OF MAD DOG 20/20. LET’S JUST START ATTACKING THEM RIGHT HERE!!!!!”

…….

“If this is not the greatest argument in favor of internment camps for all Muslims in the USA then we have no hope. We did it justifiably in WW2 for the Japs when needed and we NEED TO DO IT NOW FOR ALL MUSLIMS in the USA until we get this under control.”

…….

“We should absolutely bring back the camps of WW2 where Japanese citizens and non-citizens in the US were isolated and placed in camps to ensure the safety of our great nation. Obviously the difference here is that the camps should be filled with the Muslim Scum that roam, take advantage of, and poison this once beautiful country. While we’re at it we should through all the dead beat system workers in their as well.”

…….

“We let these diaper heads become citizens and they terrorize us. We allow dirty Mexicans to walk across the border and commit crimes, steal jobs and impose filth and lower standards upon us and we ship American jobs to the @#$% overseas. America deserves what it gets for not taking care of its own. Seems like we get all of the trash from other countries. Won’t be long before we are a 3rd world country – just a matter of time. SPAY AND NEUTER MEXICANS!!!!!!”

…….

“We are at war with and in the Middle East. All Muslims in the U.S. should be rounded up and placed in concentration camps until the wars are over!!!! If the republicans don’t insist that the president do something I will never vote republican again … ever!!!!”

…….

“Until the U.S. stops allowing the dregs of society (Muslims) to come to our country and visit, study, work etc., we’ll continue to see things like this happen. Close the border to Muslims and deport all those currently living here. Otherwise, grab your flak jacket and helmet and hope you’re not in the path of the next attempted attack by Islamic scum.”


Conclusions:

Like most major news portals, Yahoo has developed a well crafted business plan and it appears that Yahoo is on some kind of mission to bring hate speech to Main Street. What you’re seeing here is not just a result of Yahoo’s indifference to hate speech – it is the result of a shrewd business plan. With the exception of FOX, many of these comments would never make it past the moderators on other news portals. If it was just the occasional fluke comment – one could justify it by the sheer volume of user input. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons Yahoo ports strings of comments from one article to another. It exaggerates user response to an article and creates the impression that controlling racist content from their readers would require immense resources.

The racist commentary and the porting of string of comments only seem to be posted to select AP articles. Yahoo already has moderators in place and they obviously have instructions to give a pass to derogatory graffiti. This is a problem with easy and cheap solutions. Yahoo has already changed the default setting to show the newest comments first. Until a week ago, the default was oldest comments first which encouraged readers to wade through hundreds of these inane, deranged and derogatory postings without ever noticing that they were reading comments ported from ancient and unrelated AP stories.

The inescapable conclusion is that Yahoo is deliberately catering to a niche market of racists and bigots. To enhance their revenue, Yahoo is making the vilest forms of racism mainstream again. You’re unlikely to encounter much worse on a Nazi or KKK website. I challenge the Associated Press which is posturing as an innocent party to investigate whether this is a well formulated strategy orchestrated at the highest level of Yahoo’s management. And while they’re at it, the Associated Press might want to explain why they haven’t noticed this Yahoo media strategy before I brought it to their attention and why the AP allowed so much racist graffiti to be ‘associated’ with AP content.


Exhibit A – 9 out of 9 featured articles are from the Associated Press

The nine articles below were Yahoo’s featured ‘World’ news articles on June 9, 2010. Every single one of them was an Associated Press Article. Notice the date stamp on the first comment posted on each article. For example the oldest comment on the first article was posted by “L.G.” on March 03, 2010 – which means it was a user comment that it is over three months old – 98 days to be exact. That helps explain why the comment string is 3,799 long. The deceptive and exaggerated comment count is due to the fact that comments have been aggregated from unrelated AP articles and ported. In some cases the articles are ported to multiple articles a day.

Yahoo puts a date stamp on comments that are more than 24 hours old. So notice that on some articles there is no specific date stamp. When oldest comment only lets you know how many hours ago it was posted, it means that Yahoo hasn’t ported any comments to this particular article.

1. Iran dismisses sanctions, but tried to avoid them
By EDITH M. LEDERER, Associated Press Writer Edith M. Lederer, Associated Press Writer
Oldest Comment: L.G. Wed Mar 03, 2010 12:51 pm PST

3,799 Comments

…….

2. Afghan ex-spy boss opposes talking to Taliban
By MATTHEW PENNINGTON, Associated Press Writers Matthew Pennington, Associated Press Writers – Wed Jun 9
Oldest Comment: Kenny Sat Mar 06, 2010 09:22 pm PST

11,578 Comments

…….

3. Analysis: Sanctions unlikely to stop Iran
By GEORGE JAHN, Associated Press Writer George Jahn, Associated Press Writer – Wed Jun 9,
Oldest Comment: Joe 4 hours ago

69 Comments

…….

4. Israel lifts ban on some foods for Gaza
By STEVEN GUTKIN, Associated Press Writer Steven Gutkin, Associated Press Writer – Wed Jun 9
Oldest Comment: Mohammed Fri Jun 04, 2010 07:01 am PDT

17,628 Comments

…….

5. Gates: Progress in Afghan war must come this year
By ANNE GEARAN, AP National Security Writer Anne Gearan, Ap National Security Writer – Wed Jun 9
Oldest Comment: Harley Creel Sun Jun 06, 2010 03:06 am PDT

170 Comments

…….

6. FBI: Mexicans chased away US agents after shooting
By CHRISTOPHER SHERMAN and OLIVIA TORRES, Associated Press Writers Christopher Sherman And Olivia Torres, Associated Press Writers – 1 hr 12 mins ago
Oldest Comment: PerryC 7 hours ago
I applaud the border patrol for finally standing up to the illegal invaders of our sovereign borders and the rock-throwers who defend them!

3021 Comments

…….

7. Pro-business, Labor deadlocked in Dutch election
By ARTHUR MAX and TOBY STERLING, Associated Press Writer Arthur Max And Toby Sterling, Associated Press Writer – 2 hrs 11 mins ago
Oldest Comment: Cpljt Tue Jun 08, 2010 07:07 am PDT

126 Comments

…….

8. Canada derided for plan to build costly fake lake
By ROB GILLIES, Associated Press Writer Rob Gillies, Associated Press Writer – Wed Jun 9, 6:01 pm ET
Oldest Comment: Gary H 9 hours ago

334 Comments

…….

9. France selling 1,700 buildings to help cut debt
By ANGELA CHARLTON, Associated Press Writer Angela Charlton, Associated Press Writer – Wed Jun 9, 1:03 pm ET
Oldest Comment: Bullets In My Brain Old CT 12 hours ago

85 Comments

http://usa.mediamonitors.net/content/view/full/75593

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