Media And Hispanic Activists Argue Over Freedom Of Hate Speech

by Project Censored
Published: Updated:

The FBI reported that Hispanic hate crimes had increased by 40 percent between 2003 and 2007, but USA Today noted that this statistic did not include the un-reported crimes against illegal immigrants who fear deportation.  Hate speech often incites hate crimes, which is why many people have condemned the words of Lou Dobbs, Michael Savage, and Rush Limbaugh.  National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) president Alex Nogales filed a petition with the FCC in order to investigate hate speech.  Although NMHC does not want to reintroduce the Fairness Doctrine, which would limit dissenting opinions in the media, opponents state that the petition would violate First Amendment rights.  Other activists believe that the best way to combat hate speech is to learn how news is formed, since the media often reinforces an ‘us’ versus ‘them’ mentality by portraying all Hispanics as drug/sex-trafficking illegal immigrants who threaten the security of white America.

“Hate speech, Media Activism, and the First Amendment: Putting a spotlight on dehumanizing language,” Candice O’Grady, Extra!, 5/09

“Hot rhetoric fuels Latino hate crimes,” Raul Reyes, USA Today, 12/05/08

Student researcher: Alyssa Jarrett, CSU Fresno
Faculty evaluator: Malik Simba, PhD, CSU Fresno