Today, a San Francisco Chronicle editorial holds talk-show host Michael Savage, along with his colleagues Lou Dobbs and Jay Severin, accountable for the consequences of their anti-immigrant remarks:

Demonization of Mexican and other Latino immigrants is fueling hate crimes and violence against them, and it’s time for America’s leaders and media to put a stop to it all… At a time when the nation is overcoming its black-white divisions and an African American is in the White House, the FBI reports that hate crimes against Latinos grew 40 percent over four years, reaching 830 in 2007, the last year measured.

The Chronicle’s editorial comes shortly after Jay Severin, a radical right-wing talk show radio host from Boston, was indefinitely kicked off the air after making some brazen anti-immigrant comments and the UK’s decision last week to ban Michael Savage from entering the country in an effort to keep “advocates of extremist views” from provoking social turmoil.  Yet as Savage threatens to sue British Home Secretary Jacqui Smith for libel, he continues to defame immigrant populations and entire ethnic groups.

The British Government’s Home Office describes Savage as a:

“Controversial daily radio host. Considered to be engaging in unacceptable behaviour by seeking to provoke others to serious criminal acts and fostering hatred which might lead to inter-community violence.”

Meanwhile, in the same breath that he complains about people “redefining” him by taking his sound bites “out of context,” Savage wonders whether the Muslims of Britain will “evolve with the rest of humanity” and “join the family of man.”  In his book, The Savage Nation: Saving America from the Liberal Assault on Our Borders, Language and Culture, Savage admits:

“I was raised on neglect, anger and hate … why should we have constant sympathy for people who are freaks in every society? I’m sick and tired of the whole country begging, bending over backwards for the junkie, the freak, the pervert, the illegal immigrant.”

While Savage might not consider himself a threat to public safety, he underestimates the violent effect that his vitriolic anti-immigrant rhetoric has had in his own country. The current climate of undeterred public immigrant-bashing has cultivated unfettered hatred and bigotry against all immigrants.  Just last week, despite the mounting evidence of a hate-driven attack, an all-White jury in Schuylkill County found two of the defendants accused of beating the 25-year-old, father of two, not guilty of third degree murder and ethnic intimidation.  According to the jury foreman himself, the verdict reeked of injustice.  A recent survey by the Pew Hispanic Center documented that half of all Latinos, immigrant and non-immigrant, say that their situation in this country is deteriorating and is worse now than it was a year ago.

Savage contends that he echoes the views of mainstream America – however, a recent national poll showed that 61% of Americans now support giving undocumented immigrants “the right to live here legally if they pay a fine and meet other requirements.”   It’s up to the rest of America to put its best foot forward and show the world that we are not a nation of “shock jocks” and nativists. The majority of Americans approach the immigration issue with country’s best values in mind, but Savage and his cronies display the nation’s worst instincts for the entire world to see.

Photo from flickr.