Many of you have already seen the trailers and segment aired on KSTP Channel 5 last evening, May 2, 2005, which is a sensationalized attack on Susana De Leon. The piece focuses on an incident that occurred at an immigration rally in Owatonna, Minnesota, in March of 2006, and uses that incident to attack call for Susana to be fired as an instructor at the University of Minnesota and to attack the movement for immigrant rights.
KSTP interviewed Susana for this piece by deceptively claiming that they wanted to interview her regarding immigration issues. Then, once the camera was rolling, they focused only on accusations regarding statements made by Susana at the Owatonna rally. KSTP was provided video footage by an anti-immigrant rights group, Steele County Coalition for Immigration Reduction, and members of FAIR (Federation for American Immigration Reform). FAIR: is the leading organization in the US behind the anti-immigrant movement. While consistently denying the racism behind its attacks on immigration, FAIR has received substantial funding from the Pioneer Fund “a foundation that is explicitly motivated by a racist, eugenicist ideology. For years, the Federation has been supported by the Pioneer Fund, a trust founded in 1937 by Wycliffe P. Draper, a textile millionaire who promoted sending blacks back to Africa. The Pioneer Fund has been described in the London Sunday Telegraph (3/12/89) as a “neo-Nazi organization closely integrated with the far right in American politics”:http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=2501.
The footage used by KSTP does not include the seven or eight anti-immigrant persons present at the Owatonna rally yelling “wetback,” “speak
English, bitch” “go home,” and shoving signs into people’s faces and otherwise trying to disrupt a legal demonstration of over 100 people which had a permit to use the park in Owatonna. Nor does KSTP even discuss the racism behind groups such as FAIR and their sources of funding. KSTP also does not interview any of the 100 people at the rally regarding what they saw and heard about the disruptive behavior and racial slurs used by the seven or eight anti-immigrant persons present. KSTP allows the two antiimmigrant activists interviewed to just deny that they “personally” used racist slurs or shoved signs in people’s faces.
In an effort to sensationalize the issue, KSTP then attacks Susana’s teaching and scholarship because she is an instructor at the University of Minnesota. KSTP has gone so far as to seek interviews with the Dean of Liberal Arts at the U of M and the Chicano Studies Department, although Susana was present in Owatonna merely in a private capacity and never mentioned any affiliation with the University of Minnesota. We believe that KSTP generated this “news” by learning from Susana that she was an instructor at the U of M, and then taking this information back to the anti-immigration advocates and seeking their response to this “revelation.” KSTP also characterizes this story as a “new twist” on the day after millions
marched for immigrant rights. In fact it concerns an event that happened almost two months ago. By both playing a role in generating the “controversy” and then counterposing it as a “new twist” to millions marching for immigration reform, it appears that KSTP is trying to discredit the immigrant rights movement and not merely cover actual news.
KSTP also owns radio station at AM 1500. This radio station is dominated by conservative white males such as Sean Hannity, the Drudge Report with Matt Drudge, Paul Harvey, and the Wall Street Journal. Republican Senator Norm Coleman is a former host on the station. We urge you to view and listen to KSTP to see how many voices and faces you hear and see which represent immigrants, Chicanos, Latinos, Native-Americans, African-Americans, Asians, and other people of color. During last night’s 30-minute news program at 10 p.m., every person of color on the program was either a sex offender, charged with a crime, or being accused of “racism.”
Susana is an indigenous woman who teaches and promotes indigenous
culture to hundreds of young people. Although born in Mexico and now a
citizen of the United States, she is not an “immigrant” but is indigenous to this continent. Even her comments taken out of context by KSTP and sensationalized and slanted are actually accurate: European-Americans are the ones that crossed an ocean to be on this continent, not the people now living here with citizenship in Central America and Mexico. Any white person using the racial slur “wetback” deserves to have it thrown back in their face and to be told that in fact their ancestors are the true “wetbacks” and no immigrant or indigenous person needs to feel ashamed of how they have arrived in the United States. Further, even if people of color possess prejudices and biases as do all people, they lack the power to enforce those prejudices to cause violence against people, deny employment and
housing to people, and otherwise enforce societal and institutional norms. Racism isn’t merely bias or prejudice – racism is the power to use prejudice to harm and to enforce the values and prejudice of the dominant group against others.
We urge you to contact KSTP and express your own outrage and opinions
about this piece. Contact information is: firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact KSTP by U.S. Mail:
5 EYEWITNESS NEWS/KSTP-TV
3415 University Ave.
Saint Paul, MN 55114-2099
Or call KSTP at:
Switchboard: (651) 646-5555
Newsroom phone: (612) 5TV-NEWS (612-588-6397)
Newsroom fax: (651) 642-4409
Vic Rosenthal, Jewish Community Action*
August Nimtz, U of M Professor/MN Cuba Committee*
Peter Brown, President, MN Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild
Louis Mendoza, U of M Professor*
Mary Turck, Resource Center of Americas