UCLA Releases Study on Radio Hate Speech

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LOS ANGELES -- Scholars at UCLA released the results of a pilot study of hate speech on commercial talk radio this week.

"We have analyzed, using one-day samples, three conservative talk shows in which we found statements attacking vulnerable groups like Hispanics," Francisco Xavier Iribarren, assistant director at UCLA's Chicano Studies Research Center, told EFE.

The programs analyzed were the June 24, 2008, installment of "The Savage Nation," a syndicated program; the July 30, 2008, episode of "The John & Ken Show," produced by KFI AM 640 in Los Angeles; and the July 31, 2008, episode of "The Lou Dobbs Show: Mr. Independent," syndicated by United Stations Radio Networks.

"Of 140 complaints about statements supposedly based on facts we found that 37 percent are not observable, 18 percent are unverifiable, 13 percent are distorted and 11 percent completely false," he said about accusations against groups that are vulnerable because of their ethnicity, like Hispanics, or for their religion, social or immigration status, or sexual orientation.

Ines Gonzales, executive vice president of the National Hispanic Media Coalition, told EFE that she noticed that often on conservative talk radio U.S. Hispanics are identified as "the other."

"This way of looking at people divides us, it makes us see Latinos as if they weren't part of the same group," Gonzales said.

"And there are statements even more radical, because they dehumanize Hispanics by identifying them with animals like 'cucarachas,' a way of creating a methodology that teaches listeners to react with scorn against vulnerable groups," she said.

"Hate speech creates considerable danger for Latinos in many U.S. communities and we know cases of men walking alone in the streets who are attacked by groups. There are cases where groups of young people in the course of a weekend party go out for the express purpose of attacking working men," Gonzales said.