Cloaked Websites: Propaganda, Cyber-Racism and Epistemology in the Digital Era

Jessie Daniels, New Media & Society, August 2009

Abstract, Hunter College, City University of New York, USA,

This article analyzes cloaked websites, which are sites published by individuals or groups who conceal authorship in order to disguise deliberately a hidden political agenda. Drawing on the insights of critical theory and the Frankfurt School, this article examines the way in which cloaked websites conceal a variety of political agendas from a range of perspectives. Of particular interest here are cloaked white supremacist sites that disguise cyber-racism. The use of cloaked websites to further political ends raises important questions about knowledge production and epistemology in the digital era. These cloaked sites emerge within a social and political context in which it is increasingly difficult to parse fact from propaganda, and this is a particularly pernicious feature when it comes to the cyber-racism of cloaked white supremacist sites. The article concludes by calling for the importance of critical, situated political thinking in the evaluation of cloaked websites.

Key Words: cloaked o cyber-racism o epistemology o propaganda o racist o white supremacist

New Media & Society, Vol. 11, No. 5, 659-683 (2009)

DOI: 10.1177/1461444809105345

[Editor’s Note: “Cloaked Websites,” by Jessie Daniels, can be downloaded as a PDF file here. A subscription or fee is required.]


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