Organizza l'evento la Fair Congressional TaskForce (FAIR), un gruppo di interesse che "promuove politiche dell'immigrazione coerenti con gli interessi economici, sociali e demografici degli Stati Uniti". Certo, certo. FAIR presenterà anche i risultati di un nuovo studio sui costi dell'immigrazione illegale. Personalmente trovo la cosa molto triste, la scelta del tema e il linguaggio che quasi certamente verrà utilizzato non sono un buon esempio di dibattito democratico. Sono piuttosto la negazione dei principi di condivisione e partecipazione che hanno fatto grande l'America. A Des Moines non si discuterà su come far rispettare le regole ma di come preservare un privilegio acquisito. Not in my backyard, al diavolo quegli straccioni: il treno (o la nave) io sono riuscito a prenderli cinquanta, cento, centocinquanta anni fa. Oggi non c'è più posto. Questo è più o meno il senso della campagna di ottocento annunci radiofonici in 17 città promossi dalla Campaign for a United America per sottolineare come l'immigrazione, il senso di uguaglianza e opportunità sono una parte fondamentale dell'eredità culturale degli Stati Uniti. Una manciata di spot contro il ringhiare dei mastini.
Anti-Immigrant Radio Hosts Descend On Iowa
New America Media, News report, Sandip Roy, Posted: Dec 27, 2007 Editor’s Note: Concurrent with the presidential candidates' face off in Iowa is the battle of the radio airwaves, with more than 20 conservative talk show hosts well known for their anti-immigration positions broadcasting from Des Moines. NAM Editor Sandip Roy is host of Up Front radio, on KALW 91.7 FM.
Good Morning, Iowa. As the Iowa caucuses draw closer, it’s not just the presidential candidates facing off there. In Iowa the battle for the airwaves is going full steam. On December 27-28, more than 20 talk show hosts, well known for their strong positions on illegal immigration, are going to show up in Des Moines. It’s being called “Radio Row” but as pro-immigrant groups launch their own radio blitz, it’s starting to look more like Radio Rodeo.
Radio has already proved to be key to the hearts and minds of voters in the immigration debate. While Spanish language DJs propelled hundreds of thousands into the streets for immigrant rights rallies, conservative radio talk show hosts have claimed credit for scuttling the immigration reform bill in the Senate. “I think the conservative talk radio does that well – find a boogeyman and go after it, whether it's liberals, secularists or immigrants,” says Eric Boehlert, senior fellow at Media Matters for America, a progressive media monitoring center. “It’s not the Rush Limbaughs as much as the regional and local talk radio guys in some parts of the country who have really had their fingers on the pulse.”
Steve Gill is one of them. Gill, the host of The Steve Gill Show in Tennessee, is coming to Iowa. His show has aired from the United Nations headquarters in New York, Fallujah, and the Pentagon. Iowa, he says, is “where the news is happening.” Gill says his listeners in Tennessee also want to know what the candidates’ views are on illegal immigration and broadcasting his show from Des Moines will give him a chance to “make the views of the various candidates clear to voters across the country.”
Immigrant community advocates say that’s already clear enough. Radio and TV ads running in Iowa, especially from the Republican candidates, already address immigration in the toughest terms possible. This, even though immigrants make up only six to eight percent of Iowans. But no matter, says Ira Mehlman, spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) Congressional Task Force, which is organizing the Radio Row. “Our polls of likely caucus goers, both Republican and Democrat, show that they think illegal immigration is a serious problem.” FAIR which has organized similar events in Washington D.C. says it decided to do this in Iowa because “with the nation’s attention focused on Iowa, it gives further opportunity to discuss the issue.”
It’s not so much discussion as “dehumanizing language,” says Devin Burghart, director of the Building Democracy Initiative at the Center for New Community. “Though he might have quit the race, Tom Tancredo’s voice will be amplified by these 22 other hosts who come to Des Moines.” The Center for New Community is a founding member of the Campaign for a United America, which anticipating the arrival of the talk-radio caravan, has been running a radio ad blitz featuring the voices of “ordinary Americans” – a firefighter, a Jewish leader, a soccer mom, a farmer. “Immigration is a proud part of our American heritage,” says the ad. “But today, groups are using fear tactics and prejudice to turn people against immigrants. In doing so, they are striking a blow against our American values of unity, equality, and opportunity.” Hearing those ads running 800 times across 17 cities will send a message, says Burghart. FAIR’s Mehlman has heard the ads as well and is unfazed. “It’s a free market of ideas,” he says.
It’s not Iowa’s first experience with the issue. In 2000, organizations Burghart calls “anti-immigrant” rolled into Iowa with radio and TV spots. In 2002, an English-only bill, that had up to that point been regarded as a fringe issue, was passed and signed into law by the Democratic governor. “So this time we knew we had to stand up, galvanize opposition and detoxify the political climate,” says Burghart.
Part of that has been to stir up community condemnation of Radio Row. Calls have come into the Marriott where the event will be held. A couple of the radio hosts have already dropped out. Michael Koolidge says his station WRHL in Illinois canceled his trip though he was looking forward to quizzing the presidential candidates, not just on immigration but also war and national security. Only three of the Radio Row hosts are actually from Iowa. The others come from places as far afield as Dallas, San Diego and Youngstown, Ohio. But Steve Gill, whose home state, Tennessee, begins its early voting a week or so after Iowa, dismisses the outsider argument. “If Iowans are really concerned about it they could move their caucuses to sometime in mid-March and they wouldn't need to worry about 'outsiders' coming to the state," he quips.
But will 800 ads be effective against 20 plus talk show hosts? “Well it’s thirty seconds of ads versus someone talking on an issue for 28 minutes,” concedes Eric Boehlert of Media Matters. “But you play with what you have. You don’t have that many liberal talk show hosts.” But Burghart hopes that their radio ads will let outsiders and Iowans get a view of a more “welcoming Iowa,” not just the one coming from the broadcast studios in Radio Row. He says since the ads started airing his phone has been ringing off the hook. “I think we’ve reached a tipping point,” he says.