Hate website headquartered in San Luis Obispo
February 18, 2011
San Luis Obispo, the renowned happiest place in America, is also the home of an apparent “hate” website that has created a multinational online forum against the political left, Muslims, gays and undocumented workers.
The website, “I Hate the Media,” (IHTM) is a conservative news outlet that uses humor, satire and even prejudice in its delivery of the news.
“Our goal at IHTM is to point out all the bias and the blindness, all the lies and the lunacy, all the fakes and the phonies, all the morons and the myopic,” the website says.
Recent news headlines include “New survey discovers that Egyptians are schizophrenic” and “Tendency to inbreed to blame for Muslim terrorists’ homicidal tendencies?”
IHTM says it wishes to put an end to most mainstream forms of media. The site says that television, radio, newspapers, magazines, films and music “all deserve to die slow, painful deaths.”
The owners, long time advertising executive Jim deYoung and his online business partner Mark Fleming, run the news site from San Luis Obispo.
DeYoung has long worked as a consultant for advertising and public relations agencies locally and across the country, including formerly being on staff at Barnett Cox & Associates. Fleming and deYoung founded several right leaning websites including ShutUpHilary.com and global warming conspiracy site, ClimateGate.com.
While the identity behind IHTM is not anonymous, it is not well-known either. The publishers only refer to themselves on the web as “The Administrator” and “The Editor.”
All traces of deYoung and Fleming’s names have been sanitized from the site.
DeYoung and Fleming wished to keep their identities under wraps because as they said, “there are lunatics out there.”
While deYoung was not keen on an article being written about the site, he did respond to the request for an interview, contingent on it being in writing. Fleming and deYoung formulated responses together.
Why would deYoung and Fleming want to disassociate their names from their website?
The duo makes a living off of offending people.
“If only some cultural subgroups have been offended, we haven’t done our job very well,” said the IHTM founders. “We intend to offend every group and subgroup. Think of us as equal opportunity offenders.”
Critics contend the content of the website arguably portrays some general stereotypes of Muslims, Mexicans, gays and liberals among others. According to IHTM, the top ten subjects it takes aim at are President Barack Obama, climate change, healthcare, “Obamacare,” election 2010, polls, MSNBC, Islam, CNN and immigration.
Gays may be among those taking offense. From unicorns to rainbow flags, the publishers draw in a slew of homosexual stereotypes in its article “Cramming it in where it doesn’t belong: UK schools introduce gay math, geography and science.”
IHTM faced backlash last June from investigative journalism outlet, Mother Jones, for its creation of “Mexicano Masks,” that were “designed to help legal American residents leach off the welfare system, overwhelm our public schools, overrun emergency rooms, crowd our criminal justice system, swamp our jails, and work without paying taxes.”
Like many news sites, IHTM allows readers to comment. Sometimes the remarks include hateful speech including a Feb. 14 comment made by Fleming.
“Anyone laughing at this video should be taken out and shot,” Fleming said regarding his story about a CBS news reporter who appeared to have a stroke on-air.
One reader responded to Fleming, “You should be shot for spouting such violent rhetoric.”
While another said, “U can borrow my shotgun if you want.”
Fleming continued by linking to a man on Twitter and saying, “Here’s my first target if I were to ever run into him.”
Pete Evans from San Luis Obispo County’s Alliance for Positive Programming which formed to reduce the hours of right wing talk radio on local airways said, “I think they are sad examples of tea party lunatics but may fall within so called first amendment protection, and given the frantic rhetoric we have heard for years now, they don’t strike me as all that strange.”
“This represents polarization in America, we have been polarized before. At some point people are going to have to figure out if they really want to know what is going on in the world or if they want to have their views confirmed,” said Cal Poly Journalism Professor Bill Loving, who considers the site to be an aggregator, a news website that gathers specific types of information from several sources.
While “I hate the media” publicizes itself as a conservative/libertarian news website, deYoung and Fleming say they do not recognize their site as a serious news source, rather satire. “Our job is to comment on the absurd and take the non-absurd to its absurd conclusions.”
That is not to say others don’t interpret IHTM as authentic news.
Loving says, the trouble is “people from the right are more likely to have fewer news sources” and are more apt to seek news that reaffirms their beliefs even if it is in fact misinformation.
“Most of the people that will be consuming this will only use this and other outlets that have the same philosophy,” Loving said. “They are not really getting a fair and balanced perspective of the world. It’s their right but we cannot legalize morality or good intention.”
The irreverent duo is having some cyber success. IHTM is ranked 17,549 in the United States for web traffic according to Alexa, the web information company.
“What’s gratifying is the rabid response of readers from virtually every country in the world,” said deYoung and Fleming. “We even have readers in Iran, which surprises us because we thought Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had outlawed laughing back in 2002.
“Our favorite reader comment of all time said, ‘You guys are like Rush Limbaugh only cooler.’ We wish. The original purpose of IHateTheMedia.com was to make both of us fabulously wealthy. In that regard it has failed miserably.”
Loving said, “If your world views are formed solely by Glenn Beck, IHTM and Rush Limbaugh, you are seeing the world through some very distorted spectacles.”