Paranoia pandemic: Conservative media baselessly blame swine flu outbreak on immigrants

››› ››› TOM ALLISON

Conservative media personalities have baselessly blamed Mexican immigrants for spreading swine flu across the border, despite the fact that several reports have indicated that U.S. swine flu patients had recently traveled to Mexico.

Following an outbreak of swine flu in Mexico and subsequent confirmation of dozens of cases in the United States, conservative media personalities have baselessly blamed Mexican immigrants for spreading the disease across the border, continuing their long-standing trend of scapegoating immigrants while discussing major news stories. However, Rear Adm. Anne Schuchat, M.D., the interim deputy director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's science and public health program, stated in an April 26 media availability: "I know that we have confirmation of disease in people who have traveled to Mexico, and I don't know the numbers, but I know that that is definitely the case in some of our cases, and that's an important factor to consider." Indeed, several media reports on U.S. swine flu patients indicated that they had recently traveled to Mexico.

Examples of conservative media figures blaming Mexican immigrants for the spread of swine flu into the United States include:

  • During the April 24 edition of his nationally syndicated radio show, Michael Savage stated: "Make no mistake about it: Illegal aliens are the carriers of the new strain of human-swine avian flu from Mexico." Savage also stated, "If we lived in saner times, the borders would be closed immediately." Savage went on to theorize that the outbreak might be part of a bioterrorism threat: "[C]ould this be a terrorist attack through Mexico? Could our dear friends in the radical Islamic countries have concocted this virus and planted it in Mexico knowing that you, [Homeland Security Secretary] Janet Napolitano, would do nothing to stop the flow of human traffic from Mexico?" Savage continued: "[T]hey are a perfect mule -- perfect mules for bringing this virus into America. But you wouldn't think that way, would you? Because you are incapable of protecting America's homeland, Napolitano." Savage also stated: "How do you protect yourself? What can you do? I'll tell you what I'm going to do, and I don't give a damn if you don't like what I'm going to say. I'm going to have no contact anywhere with an illegal alien, and that starts in the restaurants." He added, "I will have no any illegal alien workers around me. I will not have them in any of my properties, I will not have them anywhere near me."
  • During the April 27 edition of his nationally syndicated radio show, Neal Boortz asked: "[W]hat better way to sneak a virus into this country than give it to Mexicans? Right? I mean, one out of every 10 people born in Mexico is already living up here, and the rest are trying to get here. So you give -- you give -- you let this virus just spread in Mexico, where they don't have a CDC." Boortz went on to say: "So if you want to get that epidemic into this country, get it going real good and hot south of the border. And, you know, then just spread a rumor that there's construction jobs available somewhere, and here it comes. Because we're not gonna do anything to stop them from coming across the border."
  • In an April 25 blog post titled "Hey, maybe we'll finally get serious about borders now," syndicated columnist and Fox News contributor Michelle Malkin suggested that the outbreak was due to the United States' "uncontrolled immigration," writing: "I've blogged for years about the spread of contagious diseases from around the world into the U.S. as a result of uncontrolled immigration. We've heard for years from reckless open-borders ideologues who continue to insist there's nothing to worry about. And we've heard for years that calling any attention to the dangers of allowing untold numbers of people to pass across our borders and through our other ports of entry without proper medical screening -- as required of every legal visitor/immigrant to this country -- is RAAAACIST." Malkin added: "9/11 didn't convince the open-borders zealots to put down their race cards and confront reality. Maybe the threat of their sons or daughters contracting a deadly virus spread from south of the border to their Manhattan prep schools will." Contrary to Malkin's suggestion, an April 27 Associated Press article reported of the New York City high school students infected with swine flu to whom she referred: "Officials think they started getting sick after some students returned from the spring break trip to Cancun."

Additionally, on the April 27 edition of his nationally syndicated radio show, Fox News host Glenn Beck stated: "Gee, it would be nice if we had border security now, wouldn't it?" Beck went on to assert: "But if you are a family and you're down in Mexico and you're dying and those in America are not, why wouldn't you flood this border? Why wouldn't you come across this border? It's exactly what I warned of -- different scenario, different reason of -- I was talking about economic collapse. People start to come and rush this border, then what happens? Gee, it would be nice if we had some border security."

Media Matters for America has previously documented that CNN host Lou Dobbs repeatedly defended the false claim by CNN correspondent Christine Romans that the United States has seen a dramatic increase in leprosy cases, which Dobbs said was caused in part by "unscreened illegal immigrants coming into this country primarily from South Asia." Media Matters also noted that Fox News host Bill O'Reilly replied, "You might be right," to a caller on his radio show who claimed that with the numerous diseases "the illegals" purportedly bring to this country, "each one of those people is a biological weapon," and that the impact of illegal immigration "equals and surpasses the impact of 9-11."

From the April 26 CDC media availability:

OPERATOR: The next is from Mike Stobbe, the Associated Press. Your line is open.

STOBBE: Hi, thanks for taking the question. Of the 20 U.S. confirmed cases, how many have been to Mexico? And also, do you have any information on the transmission -- you said you believe transmission is occurring from person to person. Is it occurring past the initial infection -- like person A infects person B but is it then infecting person C? Do we know that yet? Also, I have a follow-up.

SHUCHAT: You know, I know that we have confirmation of disease in people who have traveled to Mexico, and I don't know the numbers, but I know that that is definitely the case in some of our cases, and that's an important factor to consider. We have a lot of travel to Mexico back and forth between the U.S. and Mexico, and we certainly are looking for illness in those people, so we have asked people to test and we're finding some illness.

From the April 24 edition of Talk Radio Network's The Savage Nation:

SAVAGE: It is The Savage Nation, Rock 'n' Roll Friday. What a horrible day it is. It gets worse by the day. Each day this administration brings America closer to the brink. One moronic professor after another, destroying America's dignity and past, let alone our safety. Now, I'm going to talk about the horrible, horrible story of illegal aliens bringing a deadly new flu strain into the United States of America. Make no mistake about it: Illegal aliens are the carriers of the new strain of human-swine avian flu from Mexico. Make no mistake about it: Our incompetents at the CDC will hide this from you. Make no mistake about it: This is a disaster. Now, if you thought Turista was bad, wait until you get human-swine avian flu from Mexico.

This is the latest zoonotic infection, and I will explain to you, my listeners, on The Savage Nation what a zoonotic infection is. This is a never-before-seen mixture of swine, human, and avian viruses. It is an Influenza A virus. It is real. It is real -- it's a knockout punch. The question to me is -- there's only one question in my mind, which is this: Is this a terrorist attack? Did these demonic terrorists make a new form of Influenza A virus never before been seen, which is a mixture of human, swine, and avian viruses mixed together? I don't know. We don't have enough information. But what you do learn today on this program, and I suggest you listen very carefully -- you're not going to learn on any other talk show or television show in America, and that is because I have an actual Ph.D. in epidemiology, human nutrition, and medical anthropology from the University of California at Berkley. Does that make me the world's leading virologist? Not at all. But it certainly makes me aware of what's going on.

[...]

SAVAGE: This new Influenza A virus is potentially fatal -- I will tell you that right now. There should be no trade and no travel between Mexico and the U.S. If we lived in saner times, the borders would be closed immediately. We wouldn't worry about money. We wouldn't worry about making sure that the heroin addicts get their fixes tomorrow. We wouldn't worry about the fact that stockbrokers in New York won't get their snow tomorrow. What we'd be worried about is the public health. But since we no longer have a public health department in America, since the CDC has long been compromised and has become anything but a public health agency, more like a -- well, there's no longer a public health agency. Public safety is the last thing on its agenda; the most important thing is the gay agenda and making certain that nobody talks about AIDS.

[...]

SAVAGE: What is interesting to me is that Mexico has not suffered a serious flu epidemic before, which leads me to ask something that the dingbat running Homeland Security, who is attacking U.S. Marines, returning soldiers, anti-abortion activists and anti-immigrant activists. Why don't you do your job, Napolitano, you bum you? And why don't you ask yourself, you dumb fool you, could this be a terrorist attack through Mexico? Could our dear friends in the radical Islamic countries have concocted this virus and planted it in Mexico knowing that you, Janet Napolitano, would do nothing to stop the flow of human traffic from Mexico? And they are a perfect mule -- perfect mules for bringing this virus into America. But you wouldn't think that way, would you? Because you are incapable of protecting America's homeland, Napolitano.

[...]

SAVAGE: Talking about the new flu strain that is emerging out of Mexico, and our incompetent and corrupt CDC has issued no travel restrictions. Do you hear this? No warnings have been issued about travel to Mexico by our corrupt, incompetent so-called scientists at the CDC. Yet in Mexico, 6.1 million students were kept out of daycare centers, but in America the lying thieves in the U.S. government have nothing to say because the bottom line is more important. You cannot stop the flow of people, drugs, and whatever. After all, our commerce depends upon on this flow of drugs, so you can't tell people not to go or come from Mexico. This virus has a unique combination of gene segments not seen in people or pigs before. The virus contains human virus, avian virus from North America and pig virus from North America, Europe, and Asia. No one's ever seen it before.

I ask you a question: Where is the dumb moron Janet Napolitano, head of the Homeland Security Department? Why are they not looking into this as a possible terrorist attack on America? Now you say, how could this be? Because the demons in the Islamic world have been trying to modify the influenza virus for years. We've been told about this for years. Some of these scientists are very clever, and they also know because of the open borders policy with Mexico, because of the corruption in the U.S. government, it's very easy to bring a altered virus into Mexico, put it into the general population, have them march across the border. They know the U.S. government is corrupt and incapable of protecting its people. They can't stop anything because they don't want to stop anything.

The question is, what are we going to do about this? How do you protect yourself? What can you do? I'll tell you what I'm going to do, and I don't give a damn if you don't like what I'm going to say. I'm going to have no contact anywhere with an illegal alien, and that starts in the restaurants. You want intelligence? Stop eating at restaurants where they have undocumented workers in the kitchen. You're risking your life, moron. You want to be a good liberal? Go and have some wonderful food tonight and pay no attention to the kitchen. Go ahead, idiot. Go ahead, go and eat in a restaurant now with illegal aliens all over the kitchen and you don't know if they were in Mexico yesterday or two days ago because your wonderful government doesn't give a rat's behind who's in the kitchen or whether they wiped their behind with their hands. All they care about is that the borders remain open, for obvious reasons. No, no, no, I'll start with restaurants. That's it; the door slams shut for me. That's number one. Number two, I will have no any illegal alien workers around me. I will not have them in any of my properties, I will not have them anywhere near me.

From the April 27 edition of Cox Radio Syndication's The Neal Boortz Show:

BOORTZ: Also, is anybody out there interested in the swine flu? Belinda? Are you -- I'm not yet.

BELINDA SKELTON (executive producer): I mean, it's a little frightening that -- what, they're not having good results with the antibiotics for this?

BOORTZ: Well, there is the -- there's the bioterrorism angle. What better -- lord --

SKELTON: Are you looking up for the black helicopter?

BOORTZ: Lord, forgive me for I know not what I am about to -- what better way to sneak a virus into this country than give it to Mexicans? Right? I mean, one out of every 10 people born in Mexico is already living up here, and the rest are trying to get here. So you give -- you give -- you let this virus just spread in Mexico, where they don't have a CDC. Now, I'm just -- look, I'm just -- I'm thinking out loud here, folks. They don't have the inoculation programs. They don't have -- they don't have the ability down there to fight a burgeoning epidemic as we do in this country. So if you want to get that epidemic into this country, get it going real good and hot south of the border. And, you know, then just spread a rumor that there's construction jobs available somewhere, and here it comes. Because we're not gonna do anything to stop them from coming across the border. I can guarantee you, political correctness being the way it is in this country, if this was -- how many -- how many Mexicans have died of this thing now? But if this was a full-fledged, deadly, killer epidemic in Mexico right now, we still would not close the borders to this country. We still wouldn't line up the troops and close the borders because that would be a very politically incorrect thing to do. Besides, it would be racial profiling. So on the bioterrorism, on the bioterrorism angle, hey, you know, who knows what's going on?

From the April 27 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Glenn Beck Program:

BECK: Mexico is in real trouble. What happens to a country that is in that much of an economic dire strait when they say no public events for possibly four weeks? What happens when the economy stops in Mexico because of an emergency in Mexico where no one can spend money? No one can go to a soccer game, a movie, go out to eat, nothing, for four weeks. What happens to that economy? Gee, it would be nice if we had border security now, wouldn't it? What happens if there is a rash of deaths in Mexico and it's not -- they're not dying here? And maybe it's because it mutated differently down there, maybe it's because we have better health care here -- I don't know. But if you are a family and you're down in Mexico and you're dying and those in America are not, why wouldn't you flood this border? Why wouldn't you come across this border? It's exactly what I warned of -- different scenario, different reason of -- I was talking about economic collapse. People start to come and rush this border, then what happens? Gee, it would be nice if we had some border security.

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