INTERNET PROVIDERS CENSORING CONSERVATIVE NEWS E-MAIL
Posted 1:00 AM Eastern
by Jim Kouri
Something ominous and sinister has been happening on the Internet lately: two major internet service providers -- without any prior explanation or notice -- have been discriminating against conservative e-zines and web journals.
According to several subscribers to NewsWithViews.Com's newsletter, companies such as Earthlink and SBC Global are intentionally blocking delivery of NWV's e-mail to subscribers.
"When I wasn't receiving my NewsWithViews notices I called their office in Oregon to ask why. I was concerned they had closed down or worse. The gentleman I spoke with told me that all the Earthlink folks were being denied delivery of the daily posts from NWV," complains Jackie Juntti, a NewswithViews.com e-mail subscriber.
"I have to admit that shocked me as Earthlink has long had the reputation of sending EVERYTHING thru their servers -- no holds barred. I tried and tried to make an e-mail complaint about their blocking NWV from getting to me. I explained to them I SUBSCRIBED to that list and I WANT IT DELIVERED!! I tried several different Earthlink e-mail addresses and as of this moment I have yet to receive any response from Earthlink about my emailed complaints on this topic," said Ms. Juntti.
As reported by NewsBusters, the most recent widespread occurrence of this unexplained phenomenon was when Frank Salvato, proprietor of The New Media Journal, realized that his content that day hadn't been disseminated at Google News as it had been on a daily basis since he reached an agreement with the search engine in September 2005.
After sending the Google Help Desk a query concerning the matter, Salvato was informed that there had been complaints of "hate speech" at his website, and as a result, The New Media Journal would no longer be part of Google News. As evidence of his offense, the Google Team supplied Salvato with links to three recent op-eds published by his contributing writers, all coincidentally about radical Islam and its relation to terrorism.
According to a recent WND news article American Airlines is blocking WorldNetDaily as a "hate site." "WoldNetDaily is anything but, all they do is report the truth, since when is truth hate?"
As a sidebar, the NewsBusters article that first broke this story on May 19 cannot be found by doing a Google News search even though other recent articles by NewsBusters can.
To be sure, there have been complaints in the past from conservative bloggers that internet service providers seem to have dubious requirements to be a part of its News Crawl. In February 2005, Michelle Malkin spoke of the difficulties she was having becoming part of Google News. At roughly the same time, Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs also complained about not being being excluded by internet services.
However, the biggest example of censorship appears to be the blocking of e-mail from conservative web sites such as NewswithViews.com. NWV e-mail is treated as spam in spite of the fact that readers voluntarily sign up for the newsletter.
NewswithViews.com subscriber Mary Gasser reported to this writer that she's already found five conservative newsletters including NWV being blocked by her server SBC Global, which is owned by AT&T.
"It's crazy how these people just decide to block e-mail and treat it as spam, but they treat spam as legitimate e-mail," says Ms. Gasser.
Few knowledgeable people question the existence of bias in the media, although there is debate about the slant. However, it is conceivable that few folks have considered the possibility of Internet news aggregators possessing such partiality, and, maybe more important, the ramifications.
Beyond this, Google appears intimately tied to former vice president and potential 2008 Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore. It is no secret that Gore is a senior advisor to Google, a position that garnered him a sizable number of shares according to Fox News political analyst Susan Estrich. On May 19's The Big Story, Estrich discussed with host John Gibson Gore's connection with Google, and how the wealth generated from the shares he owns in the Internet behemoth could give him enough money to finance his own presidential campaign.
NWV contacted Earthlink and was directed to their company's policy on spam blocking:
Known spam blocking detects messages from known spammers on EarthLink servers and intercepts them before they reach your inbox. These messages are automatically sent to your "Known spam" folder, where you can view the messages before deleting them. This level of protection works regardless of your email program.
Suspect email blocking allows you to only receive email from the people in your address book. All other email will be sent to the "Suspect Email" folder until you have approved the sender.
Note: Legitimate emails coming from EarthLink will NOT be filtered and will ALWAYS be delivered directly to your inbox. You should NEVER accept a blocked email that ended up in one of your spam folders just because it APPEARS to be from EarthLink.
Political strategist Mike Baker of New Jersey is suspicious of Earthlink and SBC Global. He wonders how customers continue to receive unsolicited information on penis enhancement, get-rich-quick schemes, and pharmaceutical products but their requested political e-mail is blocked by their Internet provider.
"I've personally had desired e-mail blocked by IP servers, but I get regular e-mail on how to enlarge my sex organ or how to buy controlled substances on the internet," says Baker.
When this reporter contacted SBC Global -- which recently merged with Yahoo! -- I was directed to their spam protection policy:
The SBC Global email account includes SpamGuard, a filtering system designed to reduce spam in your inbox by directing most bulk messages to a bulk mail folder. This filtering system is automatically activated when you upgrade to SBC Yahoo! DSL.
When our automatic filter determines that a message was sent in bulk, SpamGuard generates a bulk mail folder and sends the bulk message to this folder instead of your inbox. This technique aims to deliver only emails that you've requested to your Inbox. However, we may occasionally send these messages to your bulk mail folder. If this occurs, let us know by clicking the This is not Spam link on the message itself.
Messages remain in your bulk mail folder for a minimum of 30 days unless you delete them yourself. After 30 days, the messages are removed automatically. You may wish to empty your bulk mail folder yourself on a periodic basis by deleting all unsolicited messages that have been placed there. This will free up your online email storage space.
Please be aware that the bulk mail folder doesn't generate Spam, and does not create additional mail. The system only directs incoming bulk messages addressed to you to a different folder.
Conservative activist Kathy Lehman is also complaining about her IP server, Earthlink. She states that when she called customer service she spoke for over a half-hour with a representative overseas, but finally hung up when she discovered she wasn't making any headway.
"I've since switched to another server in order to get my conservative publications and newsletters such as NewswithViews.com," said Ms. Lehman.
"Dealing with their customer service people was like dealing with crazy people."