The country's leading Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization is set to begin a campaign targeting several newscasters and presidential candidates for what it deems "rhetoric that demonizes immigrants and Hispanic Americans."
The National Council of La Raza, which includes nearly 300 affiliated organizations, will launch a new initiative on Thursday titled "We Can Stop The Hate," aimed at curtailing the influence of CNN's Lou Dobbs and Glenn Beck as well as MSNBC political commentator Pat Buchanan. In addition, the organization is petitioning for Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee to renounce the endorsement of Jim Gilchrist, a cofounder of the Minuteman Project, an anti-immigration group.
"There's a bully in the room," said Janet Murguía, NCLR President and CE, "and each of these candidates has a choice. They can stand up to the bully or they can cater to him. It is a question of courage or cowardice. To date, we have seen far too little courage."
The NCLR campaign, which will likely last through the presidential election, will catalogue the use of code words that paint immigrants as threats. The website accompanying the launch will included fact sheets and video samples documenting examples of inflammatory immigration-policy rhetoric.
The organization has requested a meeting with senior executives at CNN, Fox, and MSNBC, to discuss the philosophical viewpoints of their respective anchors and commentators. The ultimate goal of the campaign, officials say, will be to stem the "surge in hate speech and violence" that has emerged in the immigration debate.
"The immigration issue deserves serious debate and serious solutions," said Murguía. "We cannot have that debate as long as hate has the floor."