Photo: Lou Dobbs on the Radio
Scholars at UCLA released Tuesday the results of Quantifying Hate Speech on Commercial Talk Radio, a study analyzing content that denigrates vulnerable communities.
“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.
“It’s a pilot study of qualitative content analysis, with which we have created a methodology to quantify in a trustworthy way the incidence of hate speech,” he said.
Iribarren and CSRC director Chon Noriega were the principal researchers on the project.
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.
“With our analysis tools we have discovered calls to action against vulnerable groups and organizations, and we have found that things they state as facts are either false or unverifiable,” Iribarren said.
“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.
She noted that the UCLA study contains graphics showing the different ways of arousing hate such as unfounded claims, divisive language and contextual conditions related to the right to practice politics in the United States based on place of birth.
“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.