Hispanic Group Alleges Hate Speech on Cable News

John Eggerton, Broadcasting & Cable, January 29, 2008

In a petition to the FCC this week, the National Hispanic Media Coalition claims that hate speech is “prevalent” on national cable news networks and wants the government to do something about it.

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NHMC, a nonprofit LA based media advocacy group, cited a 2007 Media Matters study that concluded that “the alleged connection between illegal immigration and crime” was discussed on 94 episodes of CNN’s Lou Dobbs Tonight, 66 times on Fox’s Bill O’Reilly, and 29 times on Glenn Beck’s Headline News show.

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NHMC defined hate speech as speech whose cumulative effect is to create an atmosphere of hate and prejudice that “legitimizes” violence against its targets.

NHMC was looking for a sympathetic ear from an FCC under Democratic hands, citing candidate Barack Obama’s fall 2008 speech to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus about immigrants “counting on us to stop the hateful rhetoric filling the airwaves.”

It also sent a copy of the petition to the National Telecommunications & Information Administration, asking it to update its 1993 report to Congress on the role of Telecommunications in Hate Crimes.

The group said it was not asking the FCC to re-impose the fairness doctrine, something some congressional Democrats have suggested they might want to do, but it does want the FCC to collect data, seek public comment, explore what they say is the relationship between hate speech and hate crimes and “explore options” for combating it. An aide to then candidate Barack Obama told B&C at least twice during the campaign that he did not support reintroducing the doctrine.

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