Wednesday, January 28, 2009

NHMC Seeks Official Updates to 'Hate in the Media' Report



Jan. 28, 2009


Alex Nogales of the National Hispanic Media
Coalition. Courtesy

The National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) held a conference this morning in Washington, D.C. petitioning Congress and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to update their 1993 report on hate in the media. Alex Nogales, president and CEO of NHMC, presented a three-pronged approach that aimed to attenuate the problem as well as provided a methodology created by UCLA that attempts to scientifically identify hateful language.

"For the last two years we've been following hate speech in media because we've been concerned with the increase and the ugliness of it," said Inez Gonzalez, NHMC's VP of media policy. "In the last 4 years there has been a 40 percent increase in hate crimes against Latinos. There were three murders [all Latino] as a result of hate crimes; there's victimization from all over. Obviously, this is a number one priority."

NHMC argues that the most effective strategy to lessen media-engendered hate would be to utilize a system based on UCLA's research to identify hateful rhetoric, government acceptance of the petition, and an update to the 1993 "Role of Telecommunications in Hate Crime" report.

"The FCC has never done research into [media hate crimes]," reports Gonzalez. "We want them to open something for people so they can report things that happen in their community and what they hear in the media. We will be allowed to mobilize the country by letting people say their local stories."

The petition, which was drafted by Georgetown Law's Institute for Public Representation in correlation with the NHMC, was the main cause for today's press conference and called for a deeper focus on those in the media who generate hateful biases. The petition states that "the media has a powerful influence over people's behaviors and perceptions ... and is producing concrete harms."

UCLA's pilot study titled Hate Speech on Commercial Talk Radio began last October and examines the use of false facts, flawed arguments, and decisive language in conservative talk radio and its affects upon the opinions of listeners. Right-winged radio was chosen because it reaches about 80% of the American population weekly.

One of the three shows analyzed in the pilot was The Savage Nation, hosted by Michael Savage. A sound bite is currently featured on the Latinos Against Hate Web site, which records Savage as saying "Most refugees who come here, particularly from certain countries"--stressing the word certain--"do not assimilate to this nation. Its not the same as European immigrants . . . a nation must have a dialog as to which immigrants from which country they want."

Besides The Savage Nation, The Lou Dobbs Show, and The John & Ken Show were the other programs chosen for the study.

"Within a very short time [the study] identified 300 instances of hate speech [on the radio]." Said Gonzalez. How long is a short time? "About 80 minutes."
NHMC - Petition for Inquiry Into Hate Speech Petition for Inquiry Into Hate Speech PDF

The National Hispanic Media Coalition Wednesday will ask the FCC Wednesday to launch an inquiry into hate speech on radio and TV.



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