The backlash started with Alex Jones’ InfoWars. Over the weekend, the WWE introduced a new wrestler/manager character, “Zeb Coulter,” who used his time at the mic to commemorate President’s Day and attack illegal immigrants. This enraged the Internet, as obvious attempts to enrage the Internet seem to do. Alex Jones lept on it first. Then Glenn Beck, who retains a (surprisingly boring) radio show and a subscription-based video channel, got angry about it.
The WWE isn’t about to bait Jones, or give him airtime, but Beck’s another story. His attack warrants an invitation “to appear live this Monday on Raw,” and a patronizing explanation.
Similar to other television shows and feature films, WWE is in the entertainment business, creating fictional characters that serve as protagonists or antagonists. To create compelling and relevant content for our audience, it is important to incorporate current events into our storylines. WWE is creating a rivalry centered on a topical subject that has varying points of view. This storyline was developed to build the Mexican American character Del Rio into a hero given WWE’s large Latino base, which represents 20% of our audience.
If we’re inexorably falling into a “moment” of talking about this show, let’s give Beck some credit: The WWE is endorsing the pop culture consensus that opposition to immigration reform is 100 percent motivated by racism. Conservatives don’t have all that much pop culture backing them up on anything—gay marriage, birth control, increasingly even support for Israel. And now they’ve lost WWE, the organization that brought us the Iron Sheik.