Representatives of the National
Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) met with Commissioner Mignon Clyburn and
her chief of staff, Angela Kronenberg Thursday, seeking her support for
opening an official inquiry into "the extent and
effects of hate speech in media."
That is according to an ex parte filling at the commission from NHMC VP Jessica Gonzalez outlining the meeting topics.
Gonzalez was also in attendance.
The NHMC delegation, led by President
Alex Nogales, was not pushing for rules, according to Gonzalez. Instead,
she wrote, they were seeking "non-regulatory ways" to counter such
Nogales argued that hate speech against Latinos has increased since NHMC first filed its petition for inquiry last year.
In that petition, NHMC said that hate speech was prevalent on cable new
nets as well as talk radio.
NHMC defined hate speech as speech whose cumulative effect is to create an atmosphere of hate and prejudice
that "legitimizes" violence against its targets.
NHMC has been looking for a sympathetic ear from an FCC under Democratic hands, citing candidate Barack
Obama's fall 2008 speech to the
Congressional Hispanic Caucus about immigrants were "counting on us to
stop the hateful rhetoric filling the airwaves."
The group has been careful not to
raise the fairness doctrine issue that has become a red flag for
conservative talkers and bloggers. It said when it first sought the FCC
inquiry in January 2009 that it is not asking the FCC
to re-impose the fairness doctrine, something some congressional
Democrats have suggested they might want to do. But it does want the FCC
to collect data, seek public comment, and explore what it says is the
relationship between hate speech and hate crimes
and "explore options" for combating it.
The doctrine, which was scrapped as
unconstitutional by the FCC in 1987, required broadcasters to seek out
and offer airtime to opposing viewpoints on controversial issues.
While he had the face time with
Clyburn, Nogales also gave a shout-out to the memorandum of
understanding his group had signed with Comcast/NBC U in June. He said
it would "diversify" Comcast, but also said the FCC needed to
make that understanding an enforceable condition of the merger.
Kronenberg was not available at press time for comment on Clyburn's reaction to the request for support for the hate speech petition.
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