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, [email protected]

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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