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Talking Bad About People

May 07, 2008 - Posted by Mario Moreno

Two items of interest on the web caught our eye today, both relating to how immigrants and Latinos are treated by America’s broadcast media.

The Center for American Progress dedicated its Progress Report to a succinct summation of “Hate Radio’s Bigotry Against Hispanics.” 

Right-wing radio’s discussion of immigration often veers away from policy to focus on race. [Radio host Michael] Savage once warned his listeners, “The European-American, or the white person, is being erased from America’s future…There is a racial element to the immigration invasion, at least I see it that way.” Discussing a pro-immigrant parade in L.A., [Radio and TV talker Bill] O’Reilly said, “So now, it’s becoming a race war.” O’Reilly also accused supporters of immigration — “who hate America…because it’s run primarily by white, Christian men” — of seeking “to change the complexion…of America.” These hatemongers have made clear their primary concern: maintaining a white majority.

The whole report is worth a read.

On CAP’s Think Progress blog, the discussion continues with a focus on Rush Limbaugh and his recent and disparaging comments about Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, which prompted the president of the National Hispanic Media Coalition, Alex Nogales, to say:

What can I tell you? It’s the same kind of nasty, bigoted, racist type of comment that has become so prevalent in today’s society, as practiced by Lou Dobbs, as practiced by [Sean] Hannity, [Bill] O’Reilly, [Michael] Savage — all these guys who are appealing to a particular bigoted audience, and fanning the fires of bigotry and racism by doing these kinds of things without real concern about the consequences of their words.

Radio talk show host Mario Solís Marich picks up on the double standards for derogatory talk about Latinos in his article on The Huffington Post, “The Media’s Latino Rules,” which picks up on the Limbaugh comment and compares it to other recent flashes of overt racism.

There will be no national debate about whether [Dobbs] should step down as there was when Imus referred to a women’s basketball team in a derogatory fashion. There will be no national outrage like there was following the racist vocal vomiting of “comedian” Michael Richards. There will be no slam down and painful lame excuses like those offered by Mel Gibson after his anti-Semitic comments. The rules for Latinos are different.

Rush, Lou Dobbs, and a host of shock jocks are well aware of this different set of rules. Dobbs & Rush inc. can freely accuse Latinos of spreading Leprosy and TB, of raping children, and even planning the violent overthrow of the US, without any proof whatsoever.

While Rush and other radio talkers are pretty upfront about their political leanings and political agenda, it is a shame that CNN, which once stood for Cable NewsNetwork, has decided that anti-immigration advocacy should be part of their primetime schedules on both CNN (“Lou Dobbs Tonight”) and CNN Headline News (“The Glenn Beck Show”). Perhaps the middle N in CNN should be in quotation marks.

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