The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) on Wednesday announced it is forming a task force to combat hate speech and anti-Semitic harassment towards journalists on social media following a series of disturbing incidents where Jewish journalists covering the 2016 presidential campaign have been targets of anti-Semitic abuse.
Jewish journalists have recently faced anti-Semitic abuse and death threats by Trump supporters over articles they have published about the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. Among those journalists who have reported receiving harassing and hate-filled anti-Semitic messages on social media are CNN’s Jake Tapper, Julia Ioffe, The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg, and Jonathan Weisman of The New York Times.
According to the ADL news release, the task force will seek insights from a group of outside experts and representatives of journalism, law enforcement, academia, Silicon Valley, and nongovernmental organizations to assess the scope and source of harassment of journalists and commentators, and determine whether and how this harassment is having an impact on the electorate.
Advisors include: Danielle Citron, Professor of Law at the University of Maryland and an expert on online harassment; Steve Coll, Dean of Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism; Todd Gitlin, a professor at Columbia Journalism School; Brad Hamm, Dean of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University; Shawn Henry, retired Executive Assistant Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; journalist Julia Ioffe, a victim of anti-Semitic abuse by fan of Donald Trump; Bethany Mandel, a conservative columnist; Leon Wieseltier, an editor at The Atlantic, and Isaiah Berlin Senior, Fellow in Culture and Policy at The Brookings Institution.
“Journalists are used to being criticized, but this election cycle we repeatedly have seen criticism quickly cross the line into ugly anti-Semitic and other hateful attacks including death threats,” Jonathan Greenblatt, ADL CEO, said in a statement. “ADL has been monitoring, studying, and speaking out against anti-Semitism, racism, and other hate for years. We hope to bring our experience to this latest manifestation of it so we can take steps to address this challenge even as we strive to ensure that we do not jeopardize free speech and a free press.”