What impact can hate speech have on midterm elections?

Kim Glovas
November 03, 2018 - 10:00 pm
Hate Speech

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- With the midterm election set for Tuesday, a communications expert is asking voters to pay attention to the rhetoric of politicians. 

Billie Murray is an associate professor of communications at Villanova University. She says hate speech often uses coded words to send a message. Murray points to the president saying he was a "nationalist," as an example, because of it's historic meaning.  

"It creates our perceptions of how we think about, for example, Jewish people or people of color," Murray said, "and some people act according to those messages and the meanings they derive from those messages."

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Murray says the coded messages allow people to act on their prejudices. She says one way to combat it is to fight hate speech with speech defending Jewish people, or people of color or immigrants. And she adds, that's why voting is so important.

"Fascism very rarely historically has come in through a revolutionary means," she said. "It's come in through voting."