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Sean Daly, Michelle Stark and Sharon Kennedy Wynne

Immigration Protests Draw Thousands: Fox News Starts the Race Baiting

10

April

"Do illegals have the 'right' to protest on U.S. soil?" "Are they hurting their cause by marching in the streets?" "Why are those supporting the Senate's recent immigration bill demonized as bigots?"

These are the "fair and balanced" headlines offered by Fox News Channel during its coverage of the Day of Action immigration rallies organized today in cities across the country.

As controversy over immigration legislation has produced public demonstrations involving up to 2-million activists, coverage has become a bit of a Rorschach test for cable news outlets, with viewers able to judge where reporters and anchors stand on the issue simply by the coded language they use.

Predictably, the conservative-friendly Fox News Channel has been toughest, playing to its law and order audience by asking pointed questions about the number of illegal immigrants in the crowd (unknowable), whether orators at the rallies were speaking in Spanish (they were speaking in Spanish and English) and whether attendees were holding Mexican or American flags.

"It appears that people there got the message, American flags don't go over too well on television?" said Fox News anchor David Asman this afternoon while interviewing one activist, implying without proof that the wide array of American flags at today's events were a ploy of some sort.

Given that CNN anchor Lou Dobbs has built an empire on his rants against illegal immigration, I can only dread what will come from his lips later today.

Reminds me of the same sorts of things TV news commentators said during the civil rights marches in the '60s. Back then, there was lots of fear that protestors would hurt their cause by demonstrating publicly, even if they were peaceful. As it turns out, the sight of non-violent men and women hosed down and beaten for peacefully insisting on their rights changed a nation.

As protestors on this issue see the power of their efforts and the veiled racism of conservative critics who once tried to woo their vote, I wonder what might happen this time around?

[Last modified: Wednesday, July 21, 2010 2:36pm]

    

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