NEW YORK, Nov. 14, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- In the early 1990s, news websites launched comments sections for readers to share immediate responses to online news stories. But they soon devolved into cesspools of negativity, bigotry and racist rants from posters who hid behind "screen name" aliases.
Veteran New York-based journalist Anita M. Samuels, who has written for The New York Times, Billboard and The New York Daily News among others, began to collect examples of these comments after reading offensive responses on various articles. Samuels began to research the psycho-social causes behind such comments and ask news corporations what they were doing about them.
The result is the eye-opening and timely book, "Rants & Retorts: How Bigots Got a Monopoly on Commenting About News Online."
With a foreword by hip-hop artist /activist Chuck D of Public Enemy, and interviews with some 30 experts on media, culture, psychology, and technology, "Rants & Retorts" chronicles the ascendancy of hate speech in many online news forums. It also presents dozens of anonymous comments by topic including on Barack Obama's presidency, crime, education and parenting among others and examines the harmful stereotypes and divisive beliefs these Internet rants perpetuate in American society.
Samuels' findings form the strongest challenge yet to the parameters of American free speech in the backdrop of a racially divisive election. "I decided that the commentary should be documented as a 20th century tool for the high-speed spread of racism by lay people," she said on why she decided to author the book.
"Anita Samuels provides an insightful examination of the history, pros and cons of online comments through the dirty lens of hate speech against African-Americans. Her book will make you wonder about everyday people typing nearby at your coffee shop, library or job," commented Yanick Rice Lamb, Chair, Department of Media, Journalism and Film, Howard University
"Anita Samuels has expertly presented the raw, rabid and rancid soul of commentators who employ the new technology to spew hate with Gatling -gun accuracy," added Nick Charles, Professor of Media, CCNY.
"Rants & Retorts" undoubtedly holds up a mirror to race relations and the role of the media in today's America.
SOURCE Syllable Media LLC