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CNN SPECIAL REPORTS
Spreading Hate: The Dark Side of the Internet. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired May 5, 2018 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[20:00:12] ANNOUNCER: The following is a CNN Special Report.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One woman died in this crowd, when that car suddenly accelerated and slammed into a group of people protesting against the white nationalists.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Racists who kill. Nine people murdered in what police are calling a hate crime.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Attackers driven by lies.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Like I already told you I have to percent people who can't protect themselves.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is where he shot the gun, the assault rifle. Tried to shoot the lock off.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hate in the real world.
CROWD: Jews will not replace us!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That all started online.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For some reason they made me type in the words black on white crime. That was it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So what's at stake?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The future we want to build and the society that we want to have.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tonight, spreading hate. The dark side of the internet.
CROWD: Jews shall not replace us! Jews will not replace us! Blood and soil! Blood and soil!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: News of white Americans mirroring the Ku Klux Klan and chanting a Nazi rallying cry.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You can hear there the words of Nazis, the torches from the Ku Klux Klan. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They are message echoing. People are disturbed
by the chants and images from the march through living rooms across the nation.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your organization has been tracking hate for a hundred years. What was so different about Charlottesville?
JONATHAN GREENBLATT, CEO, ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE: It was literally the largest rally of its kind that we have seen in well over a decade. There's no question, something has changed and it's deeply troubling.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This represents a turning point.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Troubling because this white supremacist unite the white rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, defined a new daunting and divisive direction in our country.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are determined to take our country back.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Reformed Neo-Nazi and author Christian Picciolini believes their polo shirts, khakis and their made-up moniker, the alternative right o al-right, are just a new look and new name for an old hate.
When you saw those torches, what were you thinking?
CHRISTIAN PICCIOLINI, REFORMED NEO-NAZI: Over the last 30 year, we have seen a change from metastasis (ph) in this movement. This white supremacist movement that has many different players that are from the KKK to now the alt-right. We start with this breaking news.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In Charlottesville --.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Riot and lashed between white nationalist and counter protesters --.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Their intolerance was met with resistance.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We must warn you the outbursts have been violent.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And the resistance was met with terror.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One woman died in this crowd when that car suddenly accelerated and slammed into a group of people protesting against the white nationalists.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: James Alex Fields Jr., then 20 years old, seen here in exclusive photographs obtained by CNN, marching alongside Neo- Nazis and other white supremacists, hit the gas and drove his two-ton dodge challenger straight into antiracist protesters. Fields injured 19 people and killed 32-year-old activist Heather Heyer.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Actually, here, where we are filming right now, my best friend, and I got the word that they were looking for Heather's next of kin at the hospital, probably the worst day of my life. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: According to the FBI, hate crimes are up more
than 11 percent since 2014. And just three months before Heyer's death, intelligence officials sounded the alarm within its ranks. In a leaked internal intelligence bulletin, the FBI and the department of homeland security warned that members of the white supremacist movement likely will continue to pose a threat of lethal violence over the next year.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My daughter heather was killed as she protested racism.
[20:05:01] CROWD: Jews will not replace us!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And according to the Anti-Defamation League, white supremacist murders more than doubled in 2017.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need to be able to look in the mirror and say we have a problem here.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A problem that has long plagued the United States. But Picciolini says today white supremacists feel emboldened by the Trump White House.
PICCIOLINI: Many of the policies that we are hearing come out of this administration are precisely the things that we used to say 30 years ago in the white supremacist movement.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will not be replaced!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Richard Spencer has become one of the most well- known faces of the movement.
Do you believe you are spreading hate?
RICHARD SPENCER, ACTIVIST: No. I think the world is spreading hate. I mean, the world that we are living in now is generating strife and unhappiness and fragmentation. I am offering a way out. I am spreading love.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You just said the word "love." and moments ago you said a torch-lit rally was magical. Look. You know how to dress. You know how to cut your hair. You know how to present yourself. But your speech is --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hate.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hate. Who is a typical supporter?
SPENCER: A typical supporter is young, obviously white, male, often very tech savvy. Millenials and generations today they watch three You Tube videos and they are hooked.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hooked since 1995 when stormfront.org became the first major Web site for white nationalist.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is a platform that is encouraging this type of violence that is radicalizing young people. It's created this ecosystem of hate.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hate that can turn deadly, when it leaves the internet and enters the real world.
What's so disturbing about Storm Front for you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It can be found by a 12-year-old with just a few clicks.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Or a 21-year-old looking to kill as many black people as he could.
Coming up next, Dylan Roof and one of the deadliest hate crimes in modern U.S. history.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 911, what's the emergency?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please, Emanuel Church, people shot down here. Please, send somebody here right away. He has shot the pastor. He has got (INAUDIBLE). Please, come right away. He is coming. He is coming.
[20:11:36] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. actually preached there. Booker T. Washington actually preached there as well.
LEE BENNETT, HISTORIAN, MOTHER EMANUEL AME CHURCH: Emanuel AME church in Charleston, South Carolina has withstood every act of hate imaginable.
Why was there a need to have an independent congregation?
BENNETT: Many were concerned about just being able to worship in dignity.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Emanuel's very first church was set on fire and worshippers were hanged.
BENNETT: That church was burned to the ground by some of the white citizens of Charleston.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do you think this church over so many years, up to today, has learned about hate?
BENNETT: Hate will never win, is the message that's being sent.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But hate would return.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The killer of an unarmed black teenager, Trayvon Martin.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was walking home when he was shot and killed. A former neighborhood watch volunteer is accused of second degree murder.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Summer 2012. Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager, is shot and killed by George Zimmerman. Martin's death and Zimmerman's acquittal reignited the American debate over race and justice.
17-year-old Dylan Roof is sucked in.
DYLAN ROOF, SUSPECT, CHARLOTTESVILLE MASSACRE: As I looked his name up, type his name into Google, you know what I'm saying? For some reason, it made me type in the words black on white crime, and that was it.
GREENBLATT: We know Dylan Roof, some of his first searches on his path to radicalization were on topics like black on white crime. That's a key phrase that we recognizes as someone who might be adopting some of the racist tropes as if this were the root of the problem.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Black on white crime. Those four words would unlock a whole world of racially charged false statistics.
PICCIOLINI: There's so much information out there. It's tough to distinguish what's real, what's fake, what's propaganda, what's parody. And it's confusing for young people who are searching for an answer.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In February of 2015, Roof joins the white supremacist Web site stormfront.org, interacting with other users and hoping to meet them face-to-face. Four months later --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Breaking news out of South Carolina.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nine people murdered in what police are calling a hate crime.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A white man in his 20s walked into the bible study and opened fire.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dylan Roof carries out one of the deadliest hate crimes in modern U.S. history.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How did you find out about that? Did you research it?
ROOF: Yes, I just looked up black churches.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 59-year-old Myra Thompson was one of the nine black church members Roof shot and killed. She was also reverend Anthony Thompson's wife of 17 years.
REV. ANTHONY THOMPSON, WIFE'S KILLED BY DYLAN ROOF: (INAUDIBLE). Police had the streets blocked off. And he kept saying, turn around. I was like, you need to get out of my way now. I don't want to run you over, but you need to move. My wife is in that church. (INAUDIBLE) to that church. I heard there's a shooting. And I just lost it, for the first time in my life, I lost control.
[20:15:17] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If it were not for Storm Front, would those nine people in that AME church in Charleston still be alive?
PICCIOLINI: I think that all those things contributed to the actions of Dylan Roof who walked in and murdered them. But I also feel very strongly that it was the foundation that was broken underneath him that led him to that place to begin with. We are not born to hate. We are not born racist. We learn how to do that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Picciolini knows that transformation well. In fact he used to write and perform white power music. You can see him here in this 1993 HBO documentary. Turns out Dylan Roof was a fan. Roof says he saw that documentary, privately asking another user on Stormfront if he knew the name of Picciolini's band.
Did you know that Dylan Roof was actually on one of the white supremacist sites asking people if they knew about one of your white power songs that you wrote years ago?
PICCIOLINI: No. I didn't know that. Can I see that? Those are my lyrics. I didn't know that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What were you expressing in that song?
PICCIOLINI: I put these words out into the world 28 years ago. I wasn't aware of this. That was the purpose of the music, was to encourage people to be violent.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Coming up.
THOMPSON: I'm not saying that he put it in their hearts. I'm saying some of those people already had it in their hearts and he just lit a match.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would like to punch him in the face, I'll tell you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 2016, and a presidential candidate's rhetorical bombs.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You know what they used to do, they would be carried out on a stretcher, folks.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Words that shock and horrified some people.
TRUMP: Knock the crap out of him, would you? Seriously.
8UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And excited others. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You will not replace us! Jews will not replace
SPENCER: That was a huge vehicle for the alt-right entering the mainstream.
[20:21:58] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They were not a soul to summon. Some fell by the wayside. Another fell on good ground.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Bible scholars say good ground represents a heart that allows the word of God to take root and grow in love and devotion.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That was the bible study lesson. Mark, chapter four.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Reverend Anthony Thompson's wife Myra taught those same words the night she and eight others were murdered by Dylan Roof.
Governor Nikki Haley said Myra Thompson taught our state and country how to love.
THOMPSON: (INAUDIBLE). When I met her, I thought I wasn't even close.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Reverend Eric Manning is now Mother Emanuel's new pastor.
Are you concerned there could be more mass shootings like what you experienced in this church?
REV. ERIC MANNING, PASTOR, MOTHER EMANUEL AME CHURCH: There's always a possibility. I would pray that's not the case. But if we do not do anything, then evil will continue to rear its head.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When photos emerged of the Emanuel AME shooter posing with the confederate flag, lawmakers and activists demanded that something should be done. Twenty-three days after the Charleston massacre, Governor Nikki Haley removed the flag from statehouse grounds.
NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO UNITED NATIONS: That flag does not represent the future of our great state.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But on white nationalist websites like Stormfront, the same sites that Dylan Roof frequented, exists an entirely different challenge.
DR. JOAN DONOVAN, MEDIA MANIPULATION RESEARCH LEAD DATA AND SOCIETY: When Nikki Haley removed the confederate flag from the South Carolina state capitol, white nationalists online were angered by this action by the state and they felt that the state were complicit in social movements.
TRUMP: I am officially running for president of the United States.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And at the same time, one of the most contentious presidential campaigns in recent memory was under way.
How hateful did social media get during the presidential campaign?
GREENBLATT: We did a study and looked at 12 months' worth of twitter data gathered during the presidential campaign. We were astonished to find millions and millions of anti-Semitic tweets.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: However it's impossible to know how many tweets were from real people.
SAMUEL WOOLLEY, RESEARCH DIRECTOR, INSTITUTE FOR THE FUTURE: Chat bots can be used on sites like Facebook or Twitter or You Tube, any social media site, to automate communication on that platform. So what the bot does is it looks like a person but actually it's an automated software program that's running scripts to make it look like a real human.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Bot or not, hateful messages were spreading on twitter. And it was twitter then presidential candidate Donald Trump used to communicate directly with voters.
[20:25:12] TRUMP: It's an asset. I tweet well.
DONOVAN: Trump might not get the validation that he wants in the media that his ideas are valid. But there are groups of people online, his twitter followers in particular, that support these ideas.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Some ideas reformed neo-Nazi Christian Picciolini says sound all too familiar.
Trump announces he is running for president. What did he say, what did he do that made you sit back and think?
PICCIOLINI: The first thing that I notice immediately was that he was using fear rhetoric to gain support.
TRUMP: When Mexico sends its people, they're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime, they are rapists. A total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.
PICCIOLINI: His rhetoric all fit in line with the same fear tactics that I used 30 years ago and in fact the white supremacist movement has never stopped using it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What Picciolini lived, Darryl Johnson monitored. Johnson is the former senior analyst for domestic terrorism at the department of homeland security.
You were monitoring white supremacists, knew neo-Nazis since 1995. Why do they feel emboldened?
DARRYL JOHNSON, FORMER SENIOR ANALYST FOR DOMESTIC TERRORISM, HOMELAND SECURITY DEPARTMENT: All during the election campaign where he brought up the subject of building a border wall, the fact that we have an attempt to pass a ban on Muslims traveling from different countries, these are things I saw on white supremacist message boards ten years ago.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In November 2015, trump spreads fake black on white crime stats, retweeting a bogus claim that black people were responsible for 81 percent of the murders of white people, these false stats originating from a twitter account with a swastika avatar.
TRUMP: All it was is a retweet. It wasn't from me.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You saw the propaganda years back. Same thing that we are seeing right now. The fake black on white crime statistics.
JOHNSON: You know, white nationalists have forever used that to exploit racial tension in the community. We all know that it's fake and that it's not true.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's absolutely no credibility to that.
JOHNSON: Right. White nationalists exploit the issue of black on white crime to hopefully radicalize someone into doing something violent.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In January 2016, Trump retweets the handle "white genocide tm." The profile uses the name "Donald Trumpovitz." Trump re tweets the account in February. He also retweets Breitbart, a Web site often using racially charged and misogynistic headlines and tags stories with the key words "black crime."
By April of 2016, support for white supremacy on twitter is off the charts. A study at George Washington University reveals a nearly 300 percent growth in followers of the movement from 2014 to spring of 2016. Dates that just so happen to overlap with much of Donald Trump's presidential campaign. And some researchers believe that is more than just a coincidence.
DONOVAN: He is what we call opening the overt on window. This is a political theory where it's becoming more and more acceptable to talk about things that used to be publicly off limits.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In other words, white nationalists felt emboldened, openly expressing hateful ideas.
SPENCER: What I meet young people who are coming to the alt-right for the first time --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Richard Spencer, the man who made the term alt- right popular, saw his ideology in Trump's rhetoric.
SPENCER: It was a wonderful thing. In the sense that he was a nationalist populist. We were his vanguard.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A mostly online movement, it's difficult to define the alt-right. But it's no doubt fueled by white nationalists.
GREENBLATT: I don't really like the term alt-right. It's sort of a modern wrapper on an age-old problem of white supremacist.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The euphemism for racism.
GREENBLATT: It's a euphemism for anti-Semites, racists, and bigots.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Perhaps, the alt-right movement may have seen another nod to their ideology when then executive chairman of Breitbart, Steve Bannon, was set to be Trump's chief campaign strategist. Bannon described Breitbart to a reporter at the Republican national convention as the quote "platform for the alt- right." The Trump campaign denied any involvement in the alt-right movement.
[20:30:00] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you say the Trump campaign is a platform for the alt-right?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you say the Trump campaign is a platform for the alt-right?
KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No, not at all, we've never even discussed it internally. It certainly isn't part of our strategy meetings.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Throughout Trump's campaign and into his presidency, the tweeter in chief has repeatedly denied allegations of racism and anti-Semitism.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Number one, I am the least anti-Semitic person that you've ever seen in your entire life. Number two, racism. The least racist person.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But racism and anti-Semitism aren't the only poisons spreading to every corner of the web.
Coming up next, the danger of fake news.
Did you ever expect someone to walk through the doors of this restaurant with a gun?
JAMES ALEFANTIS, PIZZERIA OWNER: Never. I never expected it. I mean, that was definitely the worst day of my life.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald Trump. He's elected the 45th president.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald Trump knocked the establishment down and out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His historic upset, a tremendous victory for Donald Trump.
TRUMP: It's been what they call a historic event.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: November 2016. One of the most contentious and divisive presidential runs in American history is over. But the online drama, far from it.
[20:35:07] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How hateful did social media get during the election campaign?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The 2016 election campaign was different than any that we've seen in the past. And it really was a moment where I think social media came into its own.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And with problems of its own, tech companies struggled to stem the flow of false information.
SAMUEL WOOLLEY, RESEARCH DIRECTOR, INSTITUTE FOR THE FUTURE: You wouldn't want to be Twitter or Facebook right now, trying to figure out how to protect free speech while also trying to get rid of misinformation and fake news online. It's a really, really tricky problem.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The FBI has manuals about pizza used as codes. Cheese pizza means child pornography.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On December 1st, 2016, at 5:08 p.m., court documents reveal 28-year-old, Edgar Maddison Welch began watching YouTube videos on his cellphone, videos made by the infamous Infowars radio host and conspiracy theorist, Alex Jones.
ALEX JONES, RADIO HOST AND CONSPIRACY THEORIST: Of course I was proven right again.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Twenty minutes later, Welch texted his girlfriend, "Looking up Pizzagate and it makes me effing sick." Later, he sent a friend this YouTube video titled, "Pizzagate: The Bigger Picture." Pizzagate was a flat out lie, a bizarre conspiracy theory that a child sex trafficking ring linked to Hillary Clinton's campaign manager was operating out of a Washington, D.C. pizzeria. The incredibly disturbing false claim had been incubating on websites like 4chan, 8chan and reddit for weeks.
When did you first hear about Pizzagate?
ALEFANTIS: It started on November 4th of 2016.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Pizzeria owner James Alefantis is unaware of what is spreading online.
ALEFANTIS: I got a call from a local city paper reporter asking if I had heard about this online conspiracy theory that was on 4chan and reddit and involved Comet and I sort of thought, I don't know what this means, I'm sure it's nothing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But it became something big. Hundreds of thousands of people watched YouTube videos on Pizzagate made by Alex Jones. Mike Gottlieb is Alefantis' attorney.
MIKE GOTTLIEB, ATTORNEY OF MIKE ALEFANTIS: We could actually trace a spike, a meaningful spike and when the PCA conspiracy went from kind of this fringe thing on reddit in both forms to become a more mainstream to when Infowars started covering it in November.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: According to a sample of tweets given to CNN by researchers at Indiana University, Pizzagate or related hashtags were shared more than a million times on Twitter in just five weeks.
JONES: That's all going on and then all of a sudden --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Soon Alefantis was faced with a frightening reality. Thousands of people online believed the false claims.
ALEFANTIS: So they were calling me a pedophile, calling Hillary Clinton a pedophile, and then more outrageous things, calling us satanic, thinking that we had tunnels in our basement.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Welch is one of those people who believed the false claim. On December 2nd, he sends out another text, raiding a pedo ring, possibly sacrificing the lives of a few for the lives of many. Two days later, Welch takes off to Washington, D.C.
EDGAR MADDISON WELCH, SUSPECT OF SHOOTING IN A PIZZERIA: Like I've always told you, we have a duty to protect people who can't protect themselves.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And makes this video for his two young daughters he leaves behind.
WELCH: I can't let you grow up in a world that's so corrupt by evil.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Welch pulls up to Comet pizza six hours later. Armed with a revolver and an assault rifle.
ALEFANTIS: Calmly but with a giant assault rifle, walks through the dining room, through this bar area. This is where he shot the gun. And his assault rifle, he tried to shoot the lock off. And at some point this door opens with one of my staff members coming over with buckets of pizza dough. He raises the weapon and points it at my young dishwasher who is of course terrified.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Welch realizes there are no children being held against their will and surrenders to police. Welch pleaded guilty to assault and transporting a firearm over state lines. He's now serving four years in prison.
[20:40:10] ALEFANTIS: In the days that followed this gunman's arrival, there were hundreds of signs outside and some signs of support. It was like, we believe in the truth, or like don't let fake news win.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is this the power of social media?
GOTTLIEB: The notion that, you know, Mr. Welch is going to spend the next few years of his life in jail while the people who deliberately and willfully perpetrated this story that motivated him to do this will have nothing done to them, will suffer no consequences, will probably have more viewers and more followers for it, is profoundly saddening.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Coming up.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You vile (BLEEP), go kill yourself you (BLEEP) Jewish kike (BLEEP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hate you can't escape.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I hope you die, you worthless (BLEEP).
[20:45:04] SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm not going to sit here and tell you that covering people who literally hate me for the color of my skin isn't hard. It's hard.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: CNN Correspondent Sara Sidner began covering hate crimes during the 2016 presidential campaign. Soon after the election, Sidner would cover hate like no other assignment she ever had.
SIDNER: There are more hate incidents now since Donald Trump has become president.
That's how neo-Nazis see President Trump. They are clapping for him.
RICHARD SPENCER, AMERICAN WHITE SUPREMACIST: It belongs to us.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: November 21st, 2016, this undercover video of Richard Spencer's white nationalist conference is released.
SPENCER: Hail Trump! Hail our people! Hail our victory!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Spencer chanting "Hail victory" after Donald Trump won the election. His supporters giving the Nazi salute.
SIDNER: He became very much well-known after that. That video garnered national attention.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They met up for a conference saying America belongs to white people.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And with nearly three million views on YouTube, Spencer's newfound fame hit home.
How do your mom and dad feel about you, thanksgiving dinner? Do you -- so, what do they say to you? Do they say, Richard, what the hell are you doing? Or do they say, Richard, we love you no matter what?
SPENCER: It's more of the latter.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We love you no matter what? SPENCER: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Spencer's mother Sherry lives in Whitefish, Montana. She and her husband have never agreed to an on-camera interview.
SIDNER: What could possibly go wrong in Whitefish, Montana? It's the most idyllic, beautiful little town. However, members of Sherry Spencer's community were concerned about her son's video.
SIDNER: At some point a young mother named Tanya Gersh, had a conversation with Richard Spencer's mother.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Gersh, a real estate agent says she tried to warn Sherry of looming protests, protests possibly taking place outside a property she owned.
TANYA GERSH, RESIDENT OF WHITEFISH, MONTANA: I said if this were my son and I were in this situation and I were really hurting Whitefish like this, I would sell the building.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But that isn't what Sherry did. Instead, she claimed Gersh threatened her in a blog post.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She published a blog that called me an extortionist.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And that changed Tanya's life forever. What happened to Tanya Gersh?
JONATHAN GREENBLATT, CEO, ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE: She was accused by Richard Spencer's mother of mistreating her and that literally unleashed the hordes of the alt-right.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Andrew Anglin, founder of the Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi and white supremacist site, read that post. He discovered Gersh was Jewish and that's all it took to unleash the fury.
GREENBLATT: Andrew Anglin is someone who is open about his admiration for Adolf Hitler. He's someone who's open about his anti-Semitism.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Anglin asked his readers, are you all ready for an old-fashioned troll storm?
GERSH: Andrew Anglin from the Daily Stormer website told his hundreds and thousands of followers to go visit me in person, to attack me in any way that they could. And that's exactly what they did. It started immediately.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Warning. What you're about to hear is vulgar and disturbing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go kill yourself, you (BLEEP) Jewish (BLEEP) you vile (BLEEP).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So burn in hell (BLEEP) (BLEEP) (BLEEP). UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You worthless piece of (BLEEP). I hope you die, you worthless (BLEEP).
GERSH: I had a lot of phone calls with gunshots. That sound kind of still makes me sick.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For months, Gersh and her 12-year-old son received thousands of death threats and hateful messages, threats Sherry Spencer has publicly condemned.
GERSH: I just pray that we'll be safe.
SIDNER: She can't be a real estate agent because she's afraid to show up in person, people are saying we know where you live, it's public record, so then at some point she decides to fight back.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tanya Gersh and the Southern Poverty Law Center have filed a lawsuit against Anglin for invading her privacy, violating Montana's anti-intimidation act, and inflicting emotional distress.
SIDNER: Andrew Anglin, for his part, has responded through his attorney, saying this was all freedom of speech.
[20:50:01] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Freedom of speech versus and inciting violence herein lies the volatile gray area of internet hate.
GERSH: He is calling his followers to hurt people. It's very different than saying, I don't like Jewish people.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Coming up, internet activist fight back.
RASHAD ROBINSON, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, COLOR OF CHANGE: We went back and forth with these companies, pleading, pushing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Plus, high school and hate. Teens trying to eradicate racism.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you have a classmate wanting to take part in a white supremacy rally, what would you do?
TRUMP: We're closely following the terrible events unfolding in Charlottesville, Virginia.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: On August 12th, 2017, the president of the United States responds to the deadly white supremacist rally that shook the nation.
TRUMP: We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Then the press conference that stunned Republicans and Democrats alike.
TRUMP: I think there's blame on both sides.
[20:55:01] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Equating protestors with racist.
TRUMP: You had one group on one side that was bad and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Trump going even further calling some white supremacists fine people.
TRUMP: You also had people that were very fine people on both sides.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The president continues to exceed the expectations of white nationalist. One texted me last night, my God, I love this man.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you feel he has sent a clear message condemning white supremacism?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Of course not.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: President Trump continues to insist he is not racist.
TRUMP: I am the least racist person you have ever interviewed, that I can tell you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But the president wasn't the only one to take the heat. So were tech companies. White supremacists promoted and organized online through major sites like Facebook and Twitter.
JOAN DONOVAN, MEDIA MANIUPULATION RESEARCH LEAD, DATA & SOCIETY: Prior to Charlottesville, it's been very disorganized in terms of how are we going to get these internet companies to regulate the platforms where this hate speech circulates. Part of it has to do that with us believing that internet is public space. It's not. Facebook very much controls what we see and if we see it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So therein lies the question, do tech companies have a moral responsibility when it comes to online hate?
ROBINSON: What we are saying is that you cannot advance violence. You cannot advance illegal practices that hurt people. Credit card companies. You technology companies. You will be held accountable for your role in it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Both Google and domain registrar, Go Daddy did finally do something, blocking neo-Nazi website, the Daily Stormer, but only after it published a story mocking the murder of Heather Heyer in Charlottesville.
Other companies like Twitter and Facebook has sent banned users who have threatened violence or contributed to hate movements.
MARK ZUCKERBERG, CEO, FACEBOOK: A lot of good things happened. But unfortunately, there's also some bad things that happen. Whether that's fake news or hate speech or people trying to hurt each other. And our responsibility is just to make sure that we amplify all the good in human nature that's out there, but also mitigate the bad.
GREENBLATT: I think it's safe to say that the companies are now coming to grips with the scale and scope of the problem.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And Greenblatt is helping guide them. He and the Anti-Defamation League announced they're creating a cyber hate problem solving lab in Silicon Valley, supported by Google, Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft, the first of its kind.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How is that going to stop the spread of hate?
GREENBLATT: What ADL is doing with the problem solving lab is shifting the conversation away from the lawyers and policy people to engage engineers and product mangers.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As for white supremacist Richard Spencer, his notoriety during the Trump campaign has subsided.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't have a solution to this problem.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Spencer recently announced the cancellation of his college tour and Go Daddy has since taken down Spencer's website, altright.com. But the internet is a new platform for an age-old platform in America. And for the generations who have grown up online, they know to improve digital discourse, they first got to tackle hate face-to-face.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is the answer awareness among our youth like you?
EL-HADJI N'DIAYE, STUDENT: I think it's important to know the reason why a person might mate something or they might do certain actions because something might have happened that made them think that way.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You guys are talking about discrimination and race and hatred and really tough issues to talk about. How does it feel to do that?
CAROLINE DUVIVIER, STUDENT: Once you get talking and once you really gets above your point, you feel confident and you feel like you're really on your way to making a change.
JOSH WOJTOWICZ, STUDENT: It feels really empowering to have your voice guide people and to be like a light in a place of darkness.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The next generation clear-eyed about the problem of online venom. A vast battleground with few rules to stop the spread of hate.
[21:55:48] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We want to stop the hate before it starts.