Hate Radio’s Bigotry Against Hispanics

Faiz Shakir, Amanda Terkel, Satyam Khanna, Matt Corley, Ali Frick, and Benjamin Armbruster, American Progress Action, May 7, 2008

{snip} Racial slurs, particularly fueled against Hispanics, has found a home on right-wing radio, which claims 91 percent of radio airwaves. The nation’s leading Hispanic advocacy group, National Council of La Raza, launched a campaign earlier this year decrying right-wing radio for its “rhetoric that demonizes immigrants and Hispanic Americans.” “Talk like Savage’s, or Limbaugh’s or O’Reilly’s, has become routine, even systematic, and certainly a big business. {snip} Progressive radio host Mario Solis-Marich wrote Tuesday, “As a member of the largest minority ethnic group and a member of the media, I am continually puzzled and outraged by the idea that anyone can say anything about Latinos without fearing any consequence.”

DEMAGOGUING IMMIGRATION: A study by the Project for Excellence in Journalism found, “Thanks to energetic opposition from Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Michael Savage, immigration was the biggest topic, at 16%, on conservative talk radio in the second quarter” of last year—when conservative radio led the effort to defeat congressional comprehensive immigration reform, largely by resorting to fear and hatred. Radio host Neal Boortz urged listeners to help defeat “this illegal alien amnesty bill” and “yank out the welcome mat.” {snip} CNN’s Glenn Beck, who also has a radio show, took particular issue with Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) support for the immigration bill (though McCain has since changed positions), deriding the senator as “Juan McCain.” Beck called McCain’s support for the bill and the fact that his national director of Hispanic outreach was of Mexican background “an audacious slap in the face.”

A ‘RACE WAR’: {snip} Discussing a pro-immigrant parade in L.A., 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. Just this year, Fox News’s John Gibson gave “a big round of applause” on his radio show to the “non-Hispanic white women” who were having babies, which he said vindicated his call on “the dominant, or largest population sector, which is Caucasians,” to “make more babies.” {snip}

HEALTH SCARE: Right-wing radio hosts have also—wrongly—claimed that illegal immigrants should be kept out of the United States because they bring strange diseases in. O’Reilly agreed with a caller into his radio show who said that illegal immigration “surpasses the impact of 9/11” because “each one of these people is a biological weapon.” The caller claimed that that “illegals crossing the border” are bringing “tuberculosis, syphilis, leprosy.” O’Reilly agreed, and said there was “an absolutely airtight case” that more Americans “have either been killed or injured, based upon the 11 million illegals who are here,” than died on 9/11. {snip}

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