How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

L.A. city officials wade into media diversity

Photo by Ben McLeod/Flickr (Creative Commons)


It's not every day that city elected officials make a case for diversifying the staff of media outlets. Which makes a resolution passed yesterday by the Los Angeles City Council, meant to address a recent on-air controversy over racially charged language, worth noticing.

The background: In a segment last month a few days after singer Whitney Houston's untimely death in Beverly Hills, radio hosts John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou of KFI 640 AM’s “The John and Ken Show” referred to the late star as a "crack ho."

The duo was suspended for two weeks, but complaints continued, as the Houston flap was the most recent in a string of incidents that insulted minorities. In recent months, both Latino and Asian American groups had sought to have the show taken off the air. Asian American civil rights groups in Los Angeles protested earlier this year after the hosts made disparaging comments about Koreans; last fall, several Latino groups picketed Clear Channel’s offices in Burbank, demanding the show be canceled after the hosts gave out the phone number of an immigrant advocacy group’s spokesman on air. Their fans deluged the man with hate calls.

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Anti-immigrant talk radio rhetoric is analyzed in new UCLA report

Photo by Ben McLeod/Flickr (Creative Commons)


A new UC Los Angeles study examines anti-immigrant rhetoric on talk radio, measuring its use on segments of popular conservative talk shows. Put together by the university's Chicano Studies Research Center and titled "Quantifying Hate Speech on Commercial Talk Radio," the report released today comes as several Latino groups in Los Angeles are pushing to get one one locally-produced talk show off the air.

The content of three talk shows was analyzed for the pilot study, including Lou Dobbs' radio program, Michael Savage's The Savage Nation, and the John and Ken Show, a Clear Channel show on KFI-640 AM that has drawn criticism since its hosts gave out the number of a Los Angeles immigrant advocacy group's spokesman on air, subjecting him to a barrage of hate calls.

Transcripts of three individual shows, one from each program, were analyzed for their content. Especially interesting is an analysis of terms used in the samples, including what are termed "code words." From the report:

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