Race Gender Cloaked Websites Essay examples

Submitted By Alicia-Bailey
Words: 1034
Pages: 5

Cloaked websites are deliberately disguised websites with a hidden agenda and published by individuals or groups who conceal their authorship (Daniels, 2012). Quite often is impossible to distinguish between a cloaked website and a grassroots published website because of how these websites are designed so similarly. Cloaked websites have been used in a negative way, with the purpose to generate propaganda and to attack specific individuals or organizations. Richard Berman is an individual who has been hired by several corporations and organizations that ask to remain anonymous to create many different cloaked websites and campaigns to attack certain groups. The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), hired Berman to create a website called RottenAcorn.com. This website appears to be a grassroots-like website but in reality is actually used to attack and falsely accuse the organization for voter registration fraud (Daniels, 2012). This report will use this example to reveal how the negative impact that this website had on the United States during the 2008 Presidential Election. Another cloaked website that appears to be a tribute page to Dr. Martin Luther King but is actually intended to demoralize his legacy and promote the ambitions of white supremacy (Daniels, 2012). Futhermore, this report will then use UnionFacts.com as an example of how millions of dollars were spent in order to influence the public opinion against labour unions. (Unionfacts.com) Cloaked websites have been used in most cases to negatively impact a specific individual or organization by misinforming the general public (Macarthur, 2010).
During the 2008 US Presidential Election, a story regarding ACORN and voter registration fraud peaked and caught the attention of all major media outlets within the United States. ACORN is a community-based organization in the United States that works toward helping low to moderately-income families through safety, healthcare, affordable housing, and in this case, voter registration. (ACORN Canada) ACORN promoted voter registration to these communities by going around to grocery stores and shopping markets to allow these people to vote. When these communities register to vote, they essentially vote for democrats. This angered most Republican parties within the United States and have been trying to destroy ACORN for many years. Richard Berman was hired by an anonymous organization to create a website called RottenAcorn.com. This site seeks to expose ACORN, disguising itself through an author called “Employment Policies Institute”. On this website, it exposed a story about ACORN participating in voter registration fraud, stating that they were registering fake names and registering people more than once. The media picked up on this that ACORN was participating in fraud and even caught the attention of major media outlets such as the New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal. (Maddow, 2009) Every single one of those media outlets failed to report that ACORN was actually abiding by the law and not one person in the entire country voted and signed those applications in a misleading way. The Republican Attorney General accused ACORN of making phony claims instead of saying that ACORN was, indeed, doing their jobs. 50 major media outlets falsely claimed that Barack Obama worked for ACORN and 72% of stories failed to quote ACORN. (Maddow, 2009) This cloaked website caused these major media outlets to believe the false claims and did not even bother to follow up on the misleading charges against ACORN. Martinlutherking.org appears to be a tribute page for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at first glance but it is actually intended to demoralize his legacy. The site includes links and undermining text of defamatory information about Dr. King as a civil rights leader, which includes his charges as an adulterer, a plagiarist, and reported connections to communism. (Daniels, 2012) This website was