Editorials | October 2009
|Fire Lou Dobbs|
El Diario La Prensa
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October 19, 2009
Latinos, immigrants, and others have, for a long time now, put up with the hateful lies of Lou Dobbs. Using the platform that CNN provides him every night, Dobbs has crossed the line far too many times. His actions have now triggered a backlash that is growing in the United States and throughout Latin America.
|Latinos and immigrants have been the target of CNN's Lou Dobbs. (lefteyeonthemedia)|
For years, almost on a daily basis, Dobbs has relentlessly attacked immigrants. In this pursuit, his disdain for Latinos and immigrants is as evident as his contempt for the facts.
For Dobbs, "illegal aliens" are responsible for an increase in leprosy cases in the United States. False. For Dobbs, the US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is mixed up with drug cartels. Also false. In Dobbs's world it is perfectly acceptable to use his CNN web page to raise money in support of hard-line anti-immigration ordinances. This is outrageous, and all of it is presented to Americans under the banner of CNN, "The Most Trusted Name in News."
Dobbs has promoted the "reconquista" conspiracy theory that immigrants are scheming to reclaim parts of the US for Mexico. After displaying a "reconquista" graphic, produced by the supremacist group the Council of Conservative Citizens, "Lou Dobbs Tonight" was forced to apologize for its appallingly scurrilous source. A CNN spokesperson described the action as "regrettable."
But the truth is that Dobbs does not think twice about working with white supremacists. Dobbs supports the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), an organization he describes as credible. This ironically dubbed group was founded by the nationalist and xenophobe John Tanton, who currently still serves on FAIR's board of directors. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, for nine years FAIR was financed by the Pioneer Fund, a group that was once described by eugenics expert Barry Mehler as a "neo-Nazi organization."
Representatives from FAIR, as well as representatives from other groups that Tanton has spawned, are regularly featured on Dobbs's show. In this manner, Dobbs is working to legitimate groups that present themselves as having standardly conservative views on immigration, when at heart they are motivated by a vision of defending white America against the "invasion" of immigrants.
This calls into question the credibility of "The Most Trusted Name in News." What responsibility does CNN bear for allotting the best hour of its programming to a promoter of hate? Would the network allow members of the KKK to come on the air and seriously discuss matters of importance to the African-American community? Would they allow Holocaust-deniers to speak as experts on Jewish affairs?
It is no coincidence that while Dobbs and other "experts" have been spewing their venomous lies and distortions from their pulpit, there has been a dramatic rise in the number of hate crimes committed against Hispanic immigrants. Hate crimes against Latinos - the crimes that have been reported, that is - have increased by 40 percent in the past five years.
The very lives of Latino immigrants are in danger. In Suffolk County, Long Island, immigrants are routinely attacked, beaten and spat upon, and law enforcement officials sit back and do little about it.
Presente.org and other organizations are calling on CNN to pull Dobbs off the air. Presente.org is spearheading this campaign not only to counter Dobbs's toxic propaganda, but also to preserve the dignity and ensure the security of Hispanics.
Presente.org is mobilizing people in major cities across the United States and launching an educational campaign in Latin America, where CNN has decided not to air Dobbs's program.
CNN has benefited from Dobbs's notoriety. It is a marketing strategy, it seems, to improve their ratings among xenophobes at the expense of Hispanics and immigrants. Organized resistance to this disgrace has been slow in coming, and now is the time that CNN does the right thing.
Translation: Ryan Croken. Ryan Croken is a freelance writer and editor based in Chicago. His essays and book reviews have appeared in The Philadelphia Inquirer, Z Magazine, and Religion Dispatches, among others. He can be reached at ryan.croken(at)gmail.com.