As a communication educator and scholar, my interest in freedom of expression has been especially evident since 1981, when I began to participate in the work of the Commission on Freedom of Expression in the National Communication Association. My thinking became freshly perplexed in the latter days of the 20th century as I started to learn about public communicators’ increasing use of the Internet as a means for communication. It is common knowledge that as the Internet became available to millions of people, it provided access to sending and receiving information at modest costs for many of its users. Currently, anyone who wants to be on any Internet Web site can find a spot to communicate either as an individual or as a member of an organization. Among the organizations to post their views on the Internet, of course, are those organizations that use this means of expression to espouse messages of hate. The author defines in clear and meaningful language what messages of hate are, as well as the extent to which they can be found on the Internet.
Dr. Brett Barnett has transformed his research in the areas of communication, free expression, and messages from organizations that he identifies as hate groups.