Friday, January 16, 2009

Hispanic Group Asks Cable TV to Stop 'Hate Speech'


AJC - Atlanta Jounal

Cox News Service
Friday, February 01, 2008

A Hispanic civil rights organization on Thursday called on the nation's largest cable news channels to stop "parroting hate speech" and "demonizing the Hispanic community."

Janet Murguia, president of the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), said that a rise in such rhetoric surrounding the issue of immigration has contributed to an increase in crimes against U.S. Hispanics.

"This strain of hate has found a new home. This hate is open. It's ugly and it demonizes all Latinos in the emerging debate on immigration," she said at a press conference.

NCLR said that the nation's three top cable news networks — CNN, Fox News Channel and MSNBC — regularly invite anti-immigrant extremists to their shows and do not identify the groups they are with or the fact that some are affiliated with white supremacist organizations or vigilante groups.

She said it would be like inviting former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke to discuss affirmative action policy.

In addition, Murguia said that talk show hosts and commentators — including CNN's Lou Dobbs, MSNBC contributor Patrick Buchanan, and Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity, often repeat the "hate speech" arguments against illegal immigrants.

Several myths are propagated on these shows, including that illegal immigrants are "invading" the United States, that they bring disease and crime, and that Mexicans want to reclaim the Southwest United States as part of their homeland, Murguia said. In addition, they use word such as "swarm" or "massive horde" when referring to illegal immigrants in an effort to dehumanize them, she said.

The group cited some examples, including:

— Glenn Beck of CNN's Headline News proposing on his radio show — as a joke — to have a factory that takes the bodies of Mexican illegal immigrants and turns them into a fuel called "Mexinol."

— Buchanan saying that the United States is experiencing "a wholesale invasion, the greatest invasion in human history coming across your Southern border, changing the composition and the character of your country."

— On CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight, someone identified as a medical lawyer saying that U.S. cases of leprosy have spiked because of illegal immigration — with 7,000 cases in the past three years. In reality, there have been 7,000 cases in the past 30 years and the peak year was 1983. After being questioned on the report, Dobbs said that he regretted using the source.

NCLR has started a campaign to combat such rhetoric on immigration and sent letters to the three cable news networks asking for meetings. Officials at CNN agreed to an exchange and Murguia will appear on Lou Dobbs Tonight Monday. Fox News Channel and MSNBC have not yet responded to the NCLR request.

The group will also ask presidential hopefuls to sign a pledge to reject hate speech.

In addition, NCLR launched a Web site — — which will post clips and quotes from news and radio shows and identify the guests on the shows and their ties to extremist groups.

The Web site also includes a map of hate crimes against Hispanics in the United States.

In its most recent report on hate crimes, the FBI said that such violence against Latinos increased 10 percent from 2005 to 2006.

Spokespersons for Lou Dobbs Tonight and The Glenn Beck Program said they had no comment on the NCLR charges. MSNBC and Fox News Channel did not immediately return calls for comment.

Murguia said that Hispanic groups will eventually go after the television show advertisers if the situation doesn't change.

"If we're not going to get to the networks, we're going to get to the sponsors," she said.

On the Web:

National Council of La Raza:

Lou Dobbs Tonight:

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