A podcast following the Aussie far right
“Dangerous idiots are a little more difficult to determine because there’s such a large volume of material. If you go onto Facebook and look for expressions of racial hatred you’ll spend the rest of your life examining it.”
Fleming focuses on those with a long running history of racist statements, and interestingly those that seem more rational, the more committed, and more militant.
“[They] have longer histories to excavate, and it’s through that you can determine which individuals are key,” he says.
Fleming and Smith have become experts in these fringe political movements. They point to the Christchurch killer as an extreme example of this kind of ideology left unchecked.
Due to their subject matter, Andy Fleming (a pseudonym) and Cam Smith (“a thankfully very common name”) have had to take their personal security very seriously. They now pre-record episodes after violent threats were sent to the community radio studio that hosts them.
“We’re just very careful about what we reveal online. There’s no photos of us on the internet at all.” says Smith.
When asked how culpable they thought social media platforms Youtube, Twitter and Facebook are for the resurgence of the far-right, the pair admit that there the groups are so numerous and so ridiculous that it is tough to identify the really dangerous ones until it’s too late.
“[Facebook and YouTube] have a commercial interest in allowing [far right material] because it drives engagement, and the more clicks you get the more attention, the bigger the market you have to sell to advertisers and other data collectors,” Fleming says.
“There’s no real incentive for these companies to address [hatred on their platforms] other than the occasional public outcry. This happened in the wake of Christchurch and had some effect. But essentially, by the time these companies act, it’s usually long after the horse has bolted.”
Peter Wells interviews Australia’s best podcasters every week on his podcast, Meta. Subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts.