Influenza and Immigration: Keeping the “Anti-Immigrant Flu” Out of Newsrooms
PHOENIX, Arizona — Conservative talk-radio commentators were faster than a virus in spreading the idea that undocumented immigrants are a hazard to public health by bringing a new flu virus across the country’s “porous border.”
But one national media organization is trying to keep the anti-immigrant fervor out of newsrooms.
On Wednesday, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) called for the mainstream media to “resist the baseless blame of immigrants” in connection with the spread of influenza A-H1N1.
“This virus should not be characterized as a Mexican disease,” said Iván Román, NAHJ’s executive director. “We should also resist covering it in a way that furthers anti-immigrant rhetoric.”
Román pointed out that while there may be a temptation to link Mexican immigrants to the spread of the disease in the United States, it is necessary to keep in mind that this community is no more responsible for it than American spring-breakers traveling to Mexico.