Ethnic media takes on hate, immigration


Citing the continuing incidence of hate crimes in the US, the National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC), along with 32 other organizations, is asking the FCC to look into broadcast hate speech and its influence on the nation. Meanwhile, over 250 ethnic media outlets, including newspaper, radio, television and online outlets, are using recent remarks by President Obama as a springboard to push for humane immigration reform.

On the hate speech front, the petition requests “…that the FCC initiate an inquiry into the extent, nature and effects of hate speech, and explore ways to counteract or reduce its negative impacts.”

Among the participating organizations are Asian American Justice Center (AAJC); Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good; the National Organization for Women (NOW); Rainbow PUSH Coalition; and the Office of Communication of the United Church of Christ, Inc.

“The diversity of signatories to this letter show that the problem of hate speech is not limited to the Latino community,” wrote NHMC. “Women, African Americans, Asian-Pacific Americans, Muslims, Jews, Catholics, gays and lesbians, people with disabilities, and even Caucasian Americans have all suffered harms as a result of hate speech. Hate speech is pernicious in its effect; it can cause psychological harm to its recipients, especially youth, as well as creating an environment that encourages the commission of hate crimes.”

On immigration, the media outlets are going to be pushing a “collective editorial” over the next two weeks seeking legislation that “…will reunite families, reinvigorate the economy, and remove the term ‘illegal or undocumented immigrants’ from the dialogue in this country.”

The media outlets, which claim to reach some 60M people, are urging their audiences to contact their congressional representatives in hopes of making immigration reform legislation a priority.

RBR/TVBR observation: Issues such as these that tend to bond members of a certain group together, regardless of their opinions on other matters, allow ethnic media to play a key role in framing the conversation and making a case. In the same way, mainstream media can advocate when local issues come up that tend to bond a general audience together, regardless of opinions on other matters. Most Hispanics want immigration reform; and (on a more trivial level), most listeners in general want the city’s potholes repaired. Finding and using such opportunities is a good way to make the case that your station is indeed serving the public interest.