Groups Push FCC to Regulate Hate Speech

By Jamilah King Jun 02, 2010

A coalition of more than 30 groups requested this week that the FCC monitor hate speech on cable news and talk radio programs, The Hill reported this week. The request comes as the FCC prepares to tackle net neutrality, and supports a petition filed last year by the National Hispanic Media Coalition asking the commission to look into the relationship between hate speech and the rising number of hate crimes against Latinos. This latest request was sent as a letter by groups including Free Press, the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, and the Center for Media Justice, arguing that the Internet has made it harder for the public to separate facts from "bigotry masquerading as news." Though the groups didn’t name any names, they also accused syndicated radio programs of using hate speech as a profit-model and hiding behind the invisibility of the Internet.

"As traditional media have become less diverse and less competitive, they have also grown less responsible and less responsive to the communities that they are supposed to serve," the organizations wrote to the FCC. "In this same atmosphere hate speech thrives, as hate has developed as a profit-model for syndicated radio and cable television program masquerading as ‘news. …"The Internet gives the illusion that news sources have increased, but in fact there are fewer journalists employed now than ever before. Moreover, on the Internet, speakers can hide in the cloak of anonymity, emboldened to say things that they may not say in the public eye."

Ironically, news of the request also sparked a slew of what could be considered hateful comments over at The Hill, including gems like: "Get Obama first. That half breed hates whites and he lets them know" and "If you do not like what you hear..don’t listen. We are not in Venuzuela (yet)."