When my daily Google Alert snagged an article attributed to Fox that used the word "undocumented" rather than the i-word I was shocked. But a short click later and I found that this article appeared on Fox News Latino, while the same story was covered on Fox News, which used the i-word throughout.
Now, why would Fox use "undocumented" in an article for Latino readers and "illegal" elsewhere? Is it possible that Fox knows that the i-word is inflammatory, racist and just plain unacceptable for Latino readers? If so, why would it be acceptable for anyone else?
It's obvious that Rupert Murdoch's network is trying to have it both ways by courting Latinos with Fox News Latino and using the term "undocumented" in one story, while they use the i-word on Fox News for the same exact story.
This isn't the first time that the network's fickle relationship with its Latino viewers has come under scrutiny. Earlier this year, Jorge Rivas noted a Media Matters investigation that highlighted the issue.
Take the DREAM Act, for instance. Media Matters found that from Nov. 23 through Dec. 1, 2010, Fox gave DREAM Act opponents more than 40 minutes of airtime versus about seven minutes for supporters. Host Sean Hannity called the DREAM Act a "free college education" and "basically amnesty." Doug McKelway of Special Report called it a "free ride to college. But in fact the DREAM Act would've never provided any "free" grants to students.
Jamilah King wrote this morning about ColorofChange.org joining the call for a U.S. Congressional investigation of Murdoch's embattled News Corp which owns all of the Fox properties.
This is just one more example of the insidious way in which the i-word is used to increase racial fear. Take a stand. Pledge to drop the i-word today.