Study Finds Hate Speech On Talk Radio

Two conservative talk radio programs in the U.S. used hate speech to demean foreign nationals and racial, ethnic and religious minorities, according to a preliminary report  by UCLA.

The two radio programs — "The Savage Nation," a national show, and "The John and Ken Show," a Los Angeles–based program – were chosen because conservative talk radio accounts for 91 percent of total weekday talk radio programming, according to UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center director Chon Noriega, a UCLA professor of cinema and media studies, and Francisco Javier Iribarren, the center's assistant director.

"Using this definition of hate speech, the study found 334 instances of hate speech in just 80 minutes of programming," Noriega said, according to a UCLA news release. "These statements were then separated into four different types of hate speech." The four types are characterized as dehumanizing metaphors, flawed argumentation, divisive language and false statements.

The dehumanizing metaphors evoked themes of warfare, heroism, biblical characters, criminality to name a few, while the flawed argumentation included ad hominem statements, guilt by association, and hidden assumptions or missing premises. The study also found that the hosts used false statements - such as simple falsehood, exaggerated statement or decontextualized facts - to validate their points and to promote public opinion.

One an example cited in the study comes from "The John and Ken Show" and concerns a statement about the city of San Francisco's "sanctuary policy" for undocumented immigrants: "And this all under the Gavin Newsom policy in San Francisco of letting underage illegal alien criminals loose," the press release states the show said.

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Gavin Newsom is the current lieutenant governor of California and former mayor of San Francisco.

Researchers claim the statement used false facts as the sanctuary policy preceded Newsom's tenure as mayor and neither Newsom nor the sanctuary policy supports "letting underage illegal alien criminals loose."

Researchers also said that the show used divisive language by claiming that undocumented youth and their perceived supporters were depicted as a threat to San Francisco citizens, which sets up an "us versus them" opposition.

For the study, five UCLA undergraduate and graduate students examined transcripts of one 40-minute, uninterrupted segment from each of the two programs.

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