Media Matters put together a must-see compilation of the right-wing media’s fearmongering about swine flu. Michelle Malkin, Glenn Beck, Neil Boortz, Bill O’Reilly, Michael Savage and the Fox News crew are always eager to manipulate the news to support their hate-filled xenophobia, so the swine flu epidemic has really kicked their anti-immigrant rhetoric into overdrive. The winner for the most absurd (and dispicable) attack I’ve heard so far has come from Savage, who claimed this was a terrorist attack planted in Mexico by Islamic fundamentalists.
At AlterNet, Joshua Holland gets into the dangers of the right-wing media using this crisis to peddle their hateful rhetoric.
It would be easy to dismiss these ill-informed rants about immigration as unworthy of analysis because they’re shared by a very small (if very loud) minority of the population. But, as in Europe during the Middle Ages, this kind of hate talk can have deadly consequences.
Claims that Mexican immigrants (legal or otherwise) are disease-carrying pests aren’t merely offensive, they constitute “eliminationist rhetoric” — the idea that a group of people, usually portrayed as less than fully human, are destroying the country from within and need to be excised from the body politic.
In the four years between 2003 and2007 (the most recent year for which complete data are available), the FBI reported increases in hate crimes against Latinos year after year, and experts say the trend is continuing.
The Savages, Glenn Becks and Malkins of the right-wing media may be clownish, but to the extent that they’re helping shape a climate in which all people with an outward appearance similar to that of a migrant from south of the border face discrimination, if not outright peril, their shtick is anything but funny.