Sunday, August 13, 2006

Cubra su asno

Broadcasters have a lot to worry about these days. Because of indecency fines that now cost more than $300,000 per violation, many networks and stations are holding back on its content. For example, PBS is reconsidering a WWII documentary because war veterans use rather salty language in describing what happened.

Now, Hazelton's anti-illegal-immigrant law could affect a radio station in the city. WAZL airs Spanish-language programming on Saturdays, which could violate the law that prohibits "goods or services" to be given to illegal immigrants in Hazelton. What does that mean? Well, one person's interpretation says WAZL could be fined by the city.

Will it happen? Probably not. But it's scary that broadcasters have to worry more about covering their asses than serving their listeners/viewers.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Never gonna happen. Would an English speaking station be fined for broadcasting a traffic update to a person who just held up a bank who just might happen to be listening? Would that be aiding and abetting?

The argument also assumes the station is targeting illegal aliens. Are all Spanish people illegal aliens?

Lou Barletta and Hazleton City council have no right to control what comes over the city's radio stations. The only agency that can fine a station for content it broadcasts is the FCC, and if Hazleton City governement made such a complaint to the FCC they would make bigger fools of themselves than they already have.

12:56 PM  
Blogger Tom Carten said...

I'm pretty sure that a federal regulation would trump anything a mayor puts into law, especially something of that nature. If WAZL were broadcasting "How to evade the INS," or "Tips for appearing legal," that would be one thing; but broadcasting in Spanish is quite another.

WRKC has been broadcasting Sundays in Spanish for our Hispanic residents and it may run afoul of ordinances proposed for Plains, Forty Fort and Courtdale. BFD; we've got pro bono lawyers among our alumni. We are serving the public, despite any borough's newly-enacted laws.

Make the laws; fine. Just make the right laws. Officials don't want to come out of this with egg (huevo) on their collective faces.

1:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, I don't think that's the intent and I don't think there will be legal consequences. If they opened a radio station to be exclusively Spanish with no English? Maybe. But to me "goods and services" don't apply to the airwaves which are free to everybody. The station is intending to serve the LEGAL Hispanics. I can't see someone illegal moving here or staying here to hear a weekly radio show! Giving shelter, employment, etc is an incentive for them to come and stay. See the difference? Only CITY FORMS will be English only - the library doesn't have to toss out Spanish books! This law IS a GOOD thing. It will give legal immigrants the incentive to learn the language of America. It's not a witch hunt! If you're legal, you're ok. If you're not - well, you really DON'T belong here. What part of "legal" don't people understand? Sorry for the rant, but this is important.

3:54 PM  
Blogger Howard Beale said...

In the grand scheme of things, I highly doubt Hazelton will go after WAZL for its limited Spanish programming. But the fact that the city's illegal immigrant law could be used against a broadcaster is scary. It's no wonder many stations and networks are becoming paranoid about running afoul of laws that can be stretched six ways to Sunday.

7:21 PM  
Blogger Tom Carten said...

Hey, all you tv and newspaper people --

If the Hazleton mayor's "prove you're a citizen" rent law goes into effect, I hope the news media will be there to make sure "Pat O'Brien" and "John Witherspoon" and "Tony Ribando" will have their citizenship papers checked just as thoroughly as "Juan Lopez."

The law does apply equally, right? And you're going to make sure they don't give the white people an automatic "pass," right?

Not that I'm cynical or anything...

9:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hazleton.. H A Z L E T O N . It's bad enough the spanish population can't get it right!

8:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that's a little harsh. Simply because someone spelled "Hazle" wrong years ago...does not mean you need to jump down Beale's throat.

3:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, H A Z E L T O N was the original and official name of the city. Somewhere, somehow, it was mispelled in several binding documents and there you are. Yeah, good point, Tom, who makes the call on who gets interrogated in order to prove citizenship. Flawed law, ugly law, driven by hate and fear, not to mention positively unconstitutional on every level. And wait'll the hourly billing starts with lawyers defending an indefensible ordinance.
Just a bad idea all around.

8:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Flawed law? telling people who are ILLEGAL that they can not live in your community.... that they can not drain the resources of your community... can not decrease the quality of life in your community.... yeah... that sounds flawed to me...
This law is not about skin color, ethnic heritage, religion, or anything like that... this law is about standing up for the rights of tax payers.
Look at companies around the Scranton/WB/Hazleton area that have been hiring illegals in the past... the Meat packing place in Scranton, TJ Max warehouse (where over half the workforce did not show up on the day INS agents were showing up to inspect the place) and numorous others.
I think it is a great idea that local communities are willing to stand up and protect the interests of tax payers when the federal government refuses to do anything.
Laws against illegal immigrants have nothing to do with where the illegal is from... it has everything to do with the fact that the person is ILLEGALLY in this country... If waves of Canadians were crossing the boarder from the north, I would sill feel this way...

9:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Flawed law? telling people who are ILLEGAL that they can not live in your community

Laws governing immigration are the sole domain of the federal goverment, which is one of the myriad points upon which this law will be struck down. And our federal government is already on record as saying this country' economy would completely collapse if all illegals were deported tomorrow. BTW, most illegals are taxpayers.

10:52 AM  
Blogger Tom Carten said...

9:45 -
One way the law is flawed is that (a) It prevents illegals from buying food, drink, clothing or shelter. (b) It prevents anyone from giving them food, drink, clothing or shelter. You just can't legislate something as inhumane as this. The law says they cannot receive goods or services, and that's draconian. Give them a one-way ticket, perhaps, but at least food and water.

12:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So what will happen to the networks how broacast the sap channels in spanish????

4:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You just can't legislate something as inhumane as this.


The Christian in me will agree with you.
However, can we agree that an illegal is guilty of committing a crime? Now stay with me on this, what is the difference between an illegal and any other fugitive from the law?
Isn't the person who aids and abets a fugitive, also guilty of breaking the law?
The only difference in all of this is society's perception of the crimes committed. "It's not like they killed someone."
Aside from making government bigger by enacting more laws, why do we have such a hard time with this?
Inhumane, on the surface, yes. Still, illegal. At best, let the judiciary determine the proper punishment. At worst, the constitutionallity of such a law.

8:43 AM  
Blogger Tom Carten said...


No problem with the fact that they have committed a crime and should be punished. My only point, and a narrow one, was how the law denied them the basics of life. I left the rest up to the legal system, as I am not competent to deal with that.

Oddly enough (and I claim no credit for this), two days after my piece about this appeared in the CV, the city amended that part of the ordinance to what they had originally meant: aiding and abetting. I'm fine with that.

10:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our economy would collapse without illegals? How? By forcing employers to actually pay workers instead of hiring illegals for a couple of bucks an hour? By having taxes paid, Social Security taxes withheld, etc instead of under-the-table no benefits? By helping our own citizens stay off welfare because they could actually find a job? By putting more spendable dollars in the pockets of Americans who will spend it and spur the economy? By stopping the drain on tax dollars to provide free health care and social services for illegals? Our economy would THRIVE TREMENDOUSLY without the BURDEN of illegals and their high costs to our society!!!!! The only loser: wealthy corporations who don't want to pay employees a decent wage. They'll actually make more profits when better-paid citizens have more to spend for their products. GIVE ME A BREAK!!! Send them home and SAVE OUR ECONOMY!!!!!

11:42 PM  

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