Covering Immigration: Popular Images and the Politics of the Nation

By Leo R. Chavez | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 8
Manufacturing Consensus
on an Anti-Mexican
Immigration Discourse

Leaders of the media claim that their news choices rest on unbiased professional and objective criteria. … If, however, the powerful are able to fix the premises of discourse, to decide what the general population is allowed to see, hear, and think about, and to “manage” public opinion by regular propaganda campaigns, the standard view of how the system works is at serious odds with reality.

Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky,
Manufacturing Consent

The U. S.-Mexico border has become theater, and border theater has become social violence. Actual violence has become inseparable from symbolic ritual on the border— crossings, invasions, lines of defense, high-tech surveillance, and more. … [T]he violence and high-tech weaponry of border theater is at once symbolic and material. Social analysts need to recognize the centrality of actual violence and the symbolics that shape that violence.

Renato Rosaldo, “Cultural Citizenship, Inequality, and Multiculturalism”

Discourse on Mexican immigration does not follow the overall pattern found for immigration generally. Since 1965, the ten national magazines examined here have used both affirmative and alarmist imagery in their discourse on immigration. In contrast, the striking pattern that emerges from an examination of the magazine covers that reference Mexican immigration is that the imagery has been overwhelmingly alarmist. The magazine covers on Mexican immigration begin with alarmist images

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