Recently in the UK, someone decided to see what would happen when they posted Nazi anti-semitic propaganda on the daily mail. They took the English translations, replaced Jew with migrant and posted in the comments section. The results were worrying as they received massively more upvotes than downvotes. I decided to try the same on the comments section of thejournal.ie, posing under the name “John Rexford” to see what happened.
I had planned on continuing this experiment for longer but, to their credit, thejournal.ie have blocked me from posting anymore comments and have removed some of the more blatantly obvious ones, which would be considered incitement to hatred.
The first three comments were posted during the day, the last one on an article which was a couple of hours old. The last comment was posted shortly after 5pm. From the screenshots below you can see that the comment posted after 5 was almost completely downvoted, which leads me to think that the demographic reading the journal changes at that point. However, the comments posted during the day were the opposite. Thankfully some people, as you will see in the comments below, are willing to stand up against this kind of bigotry. Unfortunately, they seem to be in the minority among this particular readership. It must be pointed out that the reporting on the refugee crisis by the journal has been impartial and objective; they have in no way encouraged these kinds of comments or support of them. The people upvoting these comments have done so of their own free will. I doubt very much they are aware of the source of these comments.
Had I stated that I was about to post nazi propaganda, I doubt people would have voted so enthusiastically in favour of it, but this goes to show how easy it is to latch onto peoples (in this case unfounded) fears and lead them into support of something terrible. We need to learn from the mistakes of the past, not repeat them.
I do not believe the readership of the journal to be representative of Ireland as a whole and, had I been able to continue to post, I believe the evening readership of the journal would have rejected these comments completely. At least that is what I would gather based on the last two comments below.
We need to stand up to hatred and bigotry. We must remember that these refugees coming to Europe are not terrorists, they are innocents victims fleeing a warzone. They desperately need our help. The comments I posted, and their responses are below. Some of the later comments were removed by thejournal.ie before I could gather any reaction, either positive or negative, so they are not shown here.