According to CNN/Paula Zahn, the rise of the KKK and other "hate groups" is news worthy. The front page lead-in to tonight's show has a picture of a hooded Klansmen, accompanied by this text:
Is the Klan making a comeback? Is it exploiting anti-immigrant sentiment to further its cause? Hate, on the Rise, Out in the Open. (emphasis added)
I've lived in the South for 20+ years now, and have never met a Klansmen, nor known anybody who's known a Klansmen. And I haven't noticed any rise in "hate" either. There's no hooded guys running around Houston, and I haven't noticed a single instance of racism since 1984. But in the eyes of the media, I guess there is a compelling need to make sure the country doesn't forget that racist whitey is out there, ready to rise up and strike at any moment.
In all seriousness, it's understandable that CNN has to find something of interest about which to report. Certainly if the KKK is "on the rise", then this story is newsworthy. But does anybody really believe the KKK numbers more than perhaps a couple hundred backwoods fools? Is it in any way productive to devote one hour of CNN programming to publicize an insignificant hate group?
More importantly, notice how CNN links "anti-immigrant" sentiment to the KKK. Seriously, who is anti-immigrant? I'm strongly in favor of enforcing our immigration laws, but that does not make me anti-immigrant. It seems clear that CNN is out to fire up some good old fashioned racial tensions, and connect white America's racist history to a supposed hatred of Hispanic immigrants.
Hopefully the actual program (which airs tonight) provides a balanced perspective on the matter, but given the lead-in I'm not too optimistic.
Paula Zahn schedule as of Feb 6