HBO's "Hate.com" is only 41 minutes long, yet it's filled with what seems like volumes of information you won't find anywhere else.
Producers Vince DiPersio and William Guttentag not only chronicle the explosion of hate groups on the Internet (350 at last count), but also manage to get the leaders of most of the major groups to lay out their agendas and acknowledge the links between their Web pages and some of the most notorious hate crimes of the last decade.
You'll not only hear William Pierce, author of "The Turner Diaries," a novel about a fictional race war, talking about his work and his white supremacist National Alliance Web site, you'll see the relationship between the author, the book and Timothy McVeigh's bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City.
You'll also hear Matt Hale, the 29-year-old leader of the racist and anti-Semitic World Church of the Creator, talking about the message he put out on his hate site one day, and the response by a follower. Benjamin Smith, 20, killed an African-American basketball coach and an Asian-American student in suburbs outside Chicago.
And you'll hear Matthew Williams, who admitted to killing a gay couple in California and bombing several Jewish synagogues, explain how he learned to hate homosexuals and Jews on the Web.
DiPersio and Guttentag, who have each won Emmy Awards as well as Robert F. Kennedy Awards for Journalism, don't just suggest links as many "investigative reports" on television do. They absolutely nail down the cause and effect between the hate message on the Internet and actions taken by followers known as "lone wolves." And, after they nail it down, they use narrator Morris Dees, founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center, to try to drive a stake through the heart of the message the hate-mongers are preaching.
The film is not above criticism. One especially jarring moment occurs when Dees, who has been serving as narrator, suddenly changes hats and appears as an expert being interviewed. It reflects a deeper conflict, because the Southern Poverty Law Center is actually a co-producer of the film. As much as Dees is the absolute expert on this subject - last month he won a $6 million suit against the Aryan Nations as part of his strategy to bankrupt hate groups through the courts - he shouldn't be presented in that role if he is also producing the film.
Another problem involves the lack of persons of color speaking as experts, especially since the hate-mongers are allowed to make their erroneous claims of racial inferiority.
But, overall, "Hate.com" is an exemplary film. What most amazes me is how little attention the television networks and mainstream press have paid to these hate sites and their relationship to the crimes that made front page news. In a phone interview last week, DiPersio said he can't explain why so little has been done with the story that he and his partner tell.
It's a little embarrassing that HBO, which is not primarily a journalistic enterprise, had to do it. Maybe, the cable channel should borrow the PBS slogan and make it, "If HBO doesn't do it, who will?"
When: 10 tonight
In brief: A powerful, eye-opening examination of hate on the Internet.