NEW YORK – One hate site proclaimed "Timothy James McVeigh Day," while white supremacists flooded online discussion forums Monday with messages proclaiming the Oklahoma City bomber a hero.
Remarks glorifying McVeigh were limited primarily to the portions of the Internet frequented by hate groups.
Mainstream services like America Online and MSNBC.com said the heated discussions there focused instead on topics like the death penalty and the impact of McVeigh's execution on comforting victims or deterring crime.
Marilyn Mayo, associate director of fact-finding for the Anti-Defamation League, said white supremacists largely praised McVeigh as a challenger to a government that they believe is controlled by Jews.
"He's going to be remembered as a martyr," she said.
On the other hand, forums frequented by militia groups were less supportive of McVeigh even though they agreed with his anti-government stance. Mayo said those groups tended to view McVeigh's choice of target as harmful to their cause.
The postings were found on Web sites' discussion boards and e-mail lists, though at least one Web site glorified McVeigh on its home page.
"It may not have been the way you or I would have attacked but we must give credit where credit is due," the message read. "Timothy did not just sit back, toss back a few beers and whine."
Although high-profile events sometimes generate offensive remarks or intolerance at mainstream sites, an MSNBC producer characterized Monday's discussions as civil.
"We have not seen any kind of concerted effort by militia groups or extremist groups to penetrate" the forums, said Joan Connell, MSNBC's executive producer for opinions and communities.
Connell and ABC's Lauren Kapp said monitors at their sites did not have to remove postings or banish offensive users any more than usual.