San Diego's Connection With White Extremism And One America News Network
Speaker 1: 00:00 This morning, lawmakers heard testimony from Capitol police officers during the insurrection hearing and their own words. They describe how they came face to face with a violent mob of rioters subscribing to lies conspiracy theories and white extremist ideas. In fact, one of the people who died participating in that insurrection was Ashley Babbitt from right here in San Diego, also found right here in San Diego, one America news network, LA times, columnists gene Guerrero describes the network as a hotbed of white paranoid extremism and Trump propaganda. She recently wrote an article on how San Diego actually incubates white extremism with the network and she joins us now, Jean, welcome. Great to be here, dad. So what inspired this piece? Speaker 2: 00:47 So I grew up here in San Diego, um, in the south bay and I have always loved this the city and you know, my family's here and I've always gone back and forth across the border. And so, you know, when I first found out that one American news network was headquartered here, I was surprised, you know, while I was reporting hate monger, my book about Stephen Miller, the Trump's senior advisor and speech writer. I began to learn a lot about California's history, long history of white supremacy and extremism. And it began to make more sense to me why one America news network was located specifically in San Diego. And I wanted to explore that in a deeper way. Speaker 1: 01:30 What is it about San Diego? You think that attracts and breeds white extremism, Speaker 2: 01:36 White extremism has historically erupted over fears about the quote unquote Browning of America, um, or, or the idea that white people are losing their dominance or power to, to brown or black, you know, nonwhite people. It's often a product of rapid demographic change. So for example, in the 1990s here in California, non-Hispanic white people became a demographic minority for the first time. And there was a massive increase in white supremacist groups that started here and fanned eastward across the United States. Um, so one of the main reasons that we see white extremism being bred here and, and San Diego being a magnet for white extremists is the city's proximity to the border. You know, in my piece, I wrote a quote for those who dream of being white heroes at the edge of darkness, what better place than the literal frontier with boundedness so close to the other side, and it's hallucinated boogeyman. So many extremists come here because they want to basically play act at saving the white race that they believe in this conspiracy theory that white people are being systematically displaced by Latino immigrants. Um, and they want to come to San to, um, act out these fantasies of protecting the white race. Speaker 1: 03:04 As you mentioned, this isn't a new phenomenon. Talk a bit about San Diego's history with white extremism. Speaker 2: 03:10 The KU Klux Klan came to San Diego a century ago, specifically to terrorize Mexicans, you know, to, to go to the border and act as, as vigilantes to patrolling the border and, and hunting down Mexicans. And they stayed here for decades. So, so there's the KKK has a long history here, but also, you know, the normalization of white supremacist propaganda by politicians has a history here as well. Yeah, Speaker 1: 03:37 No fast forward to today. And there is one American news network headquartered right here in San Diego available to 35 million households across the country. Um, why and how do they fit into the white extremist landscape? Speaker 2: 03:52 So one America news network, it has become Trump's favorite megaphone for the big lie. The it's essentially the epicenter of this collective delusion in which Trump won the 2020 presidential elections. Um, the same delusion that led to the storming of the Capitol on January 6th. Uh, it's also the epicenter of a collective delusion in which Latino immigrants are destroying the country, um, and costing taxpayers, billions of dollars every day, which is completely false. They, they run this doomsday ticker regularly that shows the alleged cost of illegal, illegal immigration. Um, but they're pulling data from think tanks like the Federation for American immigration reform, which was funded by a white supremacist named John Tanton who believed in the genetic superiority of whites and they, um, you know, sugar pick data and they completely ignore the consensus among economists that immigration, whether it's legal or not is a net gain for the American economy, but Owen packages, these, you know, this white supremacist propaganda as objective news. Um, and it is basically in the business of providing viewers with racialized scapegoats on a regular basis to rile viewers up, whether it's, you know, showing minute after minute of, of, of black people committing crimes or talking about quote unquote, illegal aliens destroying this country or saying that, you know, that, that, that Trump is the, is the rightful president. Um, it, it's all basically white supremacist propaganda masquerading as, as news. Hmm. And Speaker 1: 05:41 I want to go back to something, you know, in your article, you highlight how some of these white extremists have actually held elected positions, creating policy and local laws. The fact that they were elected obviously speaks volumes about San Diego voters. And it also gives insight into the intentions behind some local policies and why they were created. What did you find out about that? Speaker 2: 06:04 Well, so, you know, in, in the nineties, we, we passed proposition 180 7, which attacked social services for undocumented immigrants, including public school for migrant children, a proposition, which was later found unconstitutional. There were also attacks on bilingual education and attacks on affirmative action. Um, and, and all of this had the broad support of voters in, in San Diego. Um, and what was interesting to me was, was to see that last year, uh, last year 2020, we had the opportunity to repeal the racist ban on affirmative action through proposition 16. Um, and we actually overwhelmingly rejected that opportunity. So it shows that the anti-immigrant and white supremacists viewpoints that became incredibly popular in the 1990s across California and fanning out in large part from San Diego remain, um, re remain popular today and, and continue to have bipartisan support in the city. And you Speaker 1: 07:14 Know, what American news network found a home here in San Diego and the white extremist ideas that you say are talked about on their programs have found a home in the hearts and minds of many residents here. You know, this almost seems like an unfair question, but what do you see as a solution to this ideology? Speaker 2: 07:33 Well, so the solution, I think, is to be very careful not to give into the temptation, to cast one American news network, uh, or its audiences as an aberration. Um, we need to avoid this us versus them mentality and the scapegoating that they, that, that the network and many of its followers, um, unfortunately fall, fall victim to and end. And in the case of OAN, you know, deliberately perpetrate. So I think we need to understand how easy it is to be radicalized and to be manipulated by this information. And so what we need to do is, is to hold accountable. Those who are profiting off of that manipulation and off of the radicalization of the masses and, and avoid the temptation to, to scapegoat the people who are being victimized by those people in positions of power, who are doing the manipulating. Speaker 1: 08:27 I've been speaking to Jean Guerrero, author and columnist with the LA times. Gene. Thank you so much for joining us today. Thank you so much, Jane.