San Antonio undergrad student Alfred MacDonald nee “Alfred with whom the news really sucks” runs the website People OK with Murdering Assange. It’s a collection of quotes from people with a platform calling for the Wikileaks founder to be killed for being a journalist. MacDonald sat down with FBLA (not really, we emailed him) for a little Q&A:
FBLA: Do you have any connection to Assange, Wikileaks or Anonymous?
AM: Nope. But by Anonymous I am assuming that you mean the Anon-Ops group which has come to Assange’s defense, because that group is often equivocated with “4chan users” when they are not the same thing. Some users of 4chan may identify as part of *their* version of Anonymous but not part of the group which comes to Assange’s defense.
Just so we’re clear though, I don’t consider myself a part of either Anonymous.
FBLA: What was your inspiration for the site? When was it launched?
AM: The site was launched 12/26/2010. The inspiration for the format came from sites like http://whatthefuckhasobamadonesofar.com/ and the inspiration for the subject matter came from my radio show “The News Really Sucks” — I had a segment where I listed, by name, the senators who had voted no on the 9/11 First Responders (Zadroga) bill. Psychologically, hearing names one-by-one is far more shameful than reading them as a gestalt. When you group them together, the focus is not “Jeff Sessions (who voted no)” but “The List of People (which includes Jeff Sessions.)” An all-at-once list removes their individuality. I had wanted to apply this same concept to those who wanted to murder Julian Assange. Initially, I was fully prepared to dismiss Bob Beckel’s comment on FOX News, but after seeing several other powerful figures say essentially the same thing I was disgusted. Someone needed to say that this was not okay.
That’s not to say I immediately went out and did something. I didn’t think the idea was that big. I had suggested the idea to reddit.com’s politics section in the form of a blog-like submission they call a ‘selfpost’, but the idea was lukewarmly received. I attribute this to reddit’s programmer culture which disdains anything that looks like a request for computer assistance because they get that enough from their relatives as it is.
FBLA: What are your plans for the site? Where do you see it going in the future?
AM: I want more people to understand that violent censorship is wrong, and that’s the extent of my plans for the site. As for the future, I don’t know — the most I can hope for is for more people to be aware of i
FBLA: What do you hope keeping track of all the media figures calling for the death of a journalist will accomplish?
AM: I want people to be aware that any variant of “I’m OK with murdering someone to censor them” is wrong to say, and doubly so for powerful people because more people take them seriously. No one who says something like “Assange should be murdered” should be taken seriously; instead, they should be shamed. I’m not beating around the bush here: if you say something like “Assange’s murder is justified”, you are a psychopath, you are a moral joke, and you have no business telling anyone what to do, ever. Violent censorship is the most un-American thing you can do short of burning the Constitution.
FBLA: What has been the reaction so far? Besides from me of course, have you or Mike Bell done any other media yet?
AM: You’re our first. The reaction has been surprising, actually, because most people quite enjoy our site regardless of their position on Wikileaks. The harshest criticism has been from programmers who don’t like the way Mike arranged the source code and web designers who don’t like our layout, hilariously enough. However! We were amused to receive our first pseudo-death threat recently in the form of “People OK With Murdering You: Everyone”, but the negative reaction has been sparse.