The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

CNN Gives Racist Immigrant Basher a Platform

By Ryan Lenz on April 26, 2012 - 4:10 pm, Posted in Anti-Immigrant

As the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments this week concerning Arizona’s controversial immigration law, a racist patriarch of the anti-immigrant movement once again found a mainstream platform for his hate-filled, conspiracy-mongering extremism.

CNN posted a report that contrasted two perspectives on the hot-button issue: that of Phoenix police officer David Salgado, and that of Glenn Spencer, who heads the hate group American Border Patrol.

“No better symbol of the deep political and social divide over illegal immigration exists than here on the Mexico-U.S. border, along Glenn Spencer’s rural desert property,” CNN reported. “And no better symbol exists of the contradictions and conundrums from an unresolved government enforcement policy.”

CNN failed to note that perhaps no better example of the racist vitriol at the core of the immigration debate can be found than Spencer. He has venomously called illegal immigration an invasion and accused Mexico of orchestrating a takeover of the Southwest through a fantastic far-right theory known as “la reconquista.”

“Our country is being invaded by Mexico with hostile intentions,” Spencer said in 2001. “When it blows up, they can’t say we didn’t tell them, when the blood starts flowing on the border and in L.A. We’re [talking] about la reconquista.”

Active in anti-immigrant circles – and on the border – since 1992, Spencer is one of the most hard-core anti-immigrant ideologues. He has issued calls for the immediate roundup and deportation of all undocumented workers, and even demanded the banning of all foreign-language TV and radio broadcasts. His American Patrol website, for many years, was little more than a compilation of articles falsely suggesting Latinos were criminals. He has engaged in more than just rhetoric, too. Spencer has held high-profile nativist gatherings on his ranch some 220 miles off the border and hosted Shawna Forde, the Arizona Minuteman leader sitting on death row for her role in the slayings of 9-year-old Brisenia Flores and her father in 2009.

But little was made of those inconvenient facts in the CNN report, published on Wednesday. Instead, Spencer came off as a sober “retired systems engineer and businessman” bravely taking the law into his own hands with high-tech surveillance systems to monitor the border. Gone were the anti-Semitic ravings about the Jews controlling the media as part of a “clever pro-illegal alien propaganda.”

“I have nothing against Mexico or Mexicans,” he told CNN. “But when you import poverty on a massive scale, and you have a population of people who are far below the standard base of income of Americans, you can only expect to run into serious problems.”

Serious problems? That’s something Spencer knows a little of, too.

In 2003, thinking he was hearing noises outside his Sierra Vista, Ariz., home – presumably the sounds of “illegal aliens” heading north – Spencer grabbed a gun and started shooting wildly into the dark outside. He managed to hit a neighbor’s garage, among other things, and was charged with four felonies. (The charges were eventually reduced to a single misdemeanor.)

More recently, in February 2011, he was convicted of disorderly conduct, threatening and intimidation, and assault after he threatened to unleash his dogs on a man he took to be a drug smuggler because he was parked on the side of the road and talking on a cell phone near a supposedly pickup spot. The man turned out to be the son of a neighbor.

Of course, this isn’t the first time CNN has coddled the anti-immigrant right. In 2009, after the Southern Poverty Law Center and other groups demanded his removal, the network bounced commentator Lou Dobbs from his high-profile gig, but only after years of baseless propagandizing against immigrants. The most notable example of that? In 2007, Dobbs peddled the false claim that 7,000 new cases of leprosy had appeared in the United States over a previous three-year period, due at least in part to immigrants.

Indeed, Spencer isn’t Dobbs. His actions have been much, much worse.

  • escher7

    CNN forums are the most racist hate and profanity filled forums on the net. I often try to respond to some of them, which of course is total frustration. The irony is that they recently banned me from posting when none of my comments are even slightly objectionable. Why they allow a place for this level of garbage is beyond me. One need only go to any page with stories about Zimmerman, Obama, Holder etc to see the total absence of filtering these types of verbal diarrhea. I have changed my home page to another news network, in disgust.

  • Louis Stouch

    MSNBC seems to be peddling loads of leftist propaganda. Maybe they should get their license yanked too,, huh?

  • Reynardine

    Ryan: Contorted Non News.

    As far as I know, there is no restriction on what cable networks disseminate, but the broadcast airwaves are supposed to be used in the public interest. Therefore, if Fox, for instance, wants to broadcast propaganda and libel, it should be required to confine them to its cable programs, or else get its broadcast license yanked.

  • Ryan

    You act like CNN somehow has obligations regarding journalistic integrity. They don’t. All they care about is ratings and towards that end they’re in a race to the bottom with Fox.

  • Reynardine

    I would add, Concerned Citizen, that I’d like to see how long you’d wait to get your papers in order to cross the Canadian border if you had a dictatorship, an uncontrolled paramilitary, or a criminal gang that could outgun the government shoving a tommy gun up your bouzouki. Don’t think it couldn’t happen here.

  • Sam Molloy

    Concerned, the same employers who benefit from the undocumented’s status as virtual slaves probably are the most vehemently opposed to simplifying the citizenship procedure. Undocumented people willing to work should be welcomed. And yes, I believe no human being is “illegal”. That’s not a liberal position, it’s a human position.

  • ModerateMike

    “Why can’t they apply for citizenship the legal way?”

    Ever thought about asking someone before passing judgment?

    “Stop encouraging illegals cross our boarders and take advantage of our hospitality.”

    If liberals are encouraging this, then they are losing. Check out, and it should become clear to you that you are already getting your “break.”

  • Aron

    Wait, so you’re a right-winger who opposes capitalism? You can’t have it both ways, dummy.

  • Concerned Citizen

    This is another prime example of the left wing activists who mantra seems to encouraging Mexican aliens to illegally crossing our boarders. Many liberals want to say No human is illegal. Phooey!. Why can’t they apply for citizenship the legal way?
    Stop encouraging illegals cross our boarders and take advantage of our hospitality. This also goes for you capitalist pigs ot there. Enough is Enough! Give me and the rest of America a break!!!!

  • ModerateMike

    This is a clear example of the way that some news outlets put “balance” before objectivity. In the interest of appearing to be unbiased in their reporting, they neglect the important role that they play in shaping public opinion. People see guest speakers on the news, and accept it as given that the speakers were selected based in part upon their expertise on a subject matter. But a person like Spencer who gets on the news and tells the public that immigrants are still pouring across the border is not a conservative authority on immigration; he is simply a liar. If CNN already knew this before they put him on the air, then they are no more ethical than Fox News.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Congratulations Jason, you’ve achieved a level of stupidity so profound that you no longer warrant consideration of your individual “points.”

  • Jason Smith

    18% of French people voted for Le Pen. Does that mean you believe 18% of French are “racist”? I don’t think so. Just because someone wants to reform immigration does not make them a racist. A sovereign nation has the right to make laws, protect borders, and preserve their culture.

    And that’s what gets me! The SPLC makes it sound as if there’s something “wrong” with being a racist. A racist is merely a person believes in the right of his race to exist and openly works to preserve his race. What is wrong with that? Who would advocate the opposite? Would you advocate every person work for the extermination of their race? This is illogical. I have a dog at home. I am sure he would believe that dogs have a right to exist. he probably doesn’t think about it though. But if he did, he would not openly work for the extermination of all dogs.

    I am white. You wish me to hope for the eventual extermination of the white race. Why should I agree to this? If I refuse, you call me a “racist”, which is a label you people invented and use as an epithet. I will not do this.

  • Erika

    CNN is starting to seem like it should stand for the Crazy News Network.

    Note to self: avoid anyone with an extra n in the name Glen.