Tag Archives: lou dobbs

And Dobbs just keeps getting dropped

Fresh off of his departure from CNN and his announcement that he would consider a Presidential run in 2012, Lou Dobbs took an unexpected turn.

During an interview with Telemundo, Lou stated:

“We need a rational, effective and humane immigration policy in this country,” he said. Dobbs also said, “We need the ability to legalize illegal immigrants on certain conditions.”

Say what? Did Lou just use the word HUMANE?!To fully appreciate this about-face, allow me to juxtapose this seemingly rational statement with what we’re accustomed to hearing from Dobbs. Check out the two short clips below.

After Dobbs took his message of legalization to Telemundo, ALIPAC (one of our favorite extremist anti-immigrant groups) pulled their support of Dobbs’ potential 2012 candidacy.

From William Gheen, restrictionist-in-chief at ALIPAC:

“We’ve received so many demands from prior Dobbs supporters to remove their pledges of support that we have to suspend all operations on the Dobbs fan sites,” Gheen added. “Lou Dobbs has deeply offended his base of supporters..”

When Lou Dobbs even makes your organization look extreme, you know you’ve got a problem.

I have to admit, I’m loving the in-fighting that’s coming from Lou’s change of heart. With ALIPAC ousting Dobbs as their champion, the former CNN host just can’t’ catch a break from anyone.

As Adam Luna of America’s Voice proposed:

This Mexican-American, constitution-hugging, diversity-loving advocate invites the anti-immigrant extremists of the world to unite with me for a common purpose – let’s just ignore him.  Together we can help Lou Dobbs make a speedy transition to TV has-been status.  Let’s just get it over with.  Are you with me?

Hmmm.. with Dobbs being dropped by ALIPAC and Sarah Palin trying to re-ignite the birther conspiracy, I’m seeing a possible 2012 ticket match made in heaven. Since Dobbs is “a great friend to Latinos” and Palin is woefully ignorant of Latino issues, it seems like they’d be a good fit. Plus, they could both just fade into irrelevancy together – and bring the extremist fringe with them.

Leprosy Lou says Adios

Dobbs liar

Tonight, Lou Dobbs hosted his last show ever on CNN. Yes, our dear friend Lou has officially resigned from the nation’s ‘most trusted name in news’ to bring his special blend of xenophobia and hate-mongering elsewhere.

This is incredible news and due in no small part to the efforts of the Drop Dobbs and Basta Dobbs campaigns who have put increasingly more pressure on CNN to fire Lou.

Check out his goodbye speech in the clip below. I love when he says that

“issues are now defined in the public arena by partisanship and ideology rather than by rigorous empirical thought and forthright analysis and discussion.”

I wonder if by forthright analysis he means spreading lies about the waves of immigrants infecting Americans with leprosy without a single shred of factual evidence to back it up.

But, I digress. Here’s Lou:

This marks a big victory in the fight against hate and anti-immigrant fervor in our country, but its only one small step in the right direction. Lou will, inevitably, find another pulpit from which to spout his dangerous rhetoric, and we will continue to counter with the truth and justice on our side.

But for now, mark one for the good guys.

As Eric Burns, president of Media Matters said:

“This is a happy day for all those who care about this nation of immigrants and believe in the power of media to elevate the political discourse.”

For a round-up of coverage check out Jackie Mahendra’s post over at the America’s Voice blog.

No racism to see here, folks.

Some of my favorite blog commentors are back. You know the ones. You can spot them pretty easily by the ALL CAPS and the constant use of the words “illegal”, “criminal” and “amnesty”. While I take great issue with the use of each of these words within the specific context of their rhetoric, I want to focus on the first two for a few moments.

While many of the anti’s that argue the most adamantly against comprehensive immigration reform claim that there is absolutely no racism behind their stance, most of us that are working in and for the communities most affected by this legislation beg to differ.

In the past three days I have seen two different news items come across my desk that are seemingly unrelated, but I think they speak to the current environment of the immigration debate today.

The first was the story of a Dallas, TX police officer who wrote a ticket to Ernestina Mondragon for being “a non-English speaking driver”. The Dallas police department is embarrassed and has since issued an apology, saying that the officer who ticketed Mondragon was a rookie and was probably confused. However, it has since come to light that the agency has written 39 tickets for this “offense” in the last 3 years.

The second story broke today,  hotel owner Larry Whitten who forced the Latinos working in his New Mexico hotel to speak only English and “anglicize” their names. Employees who had Latino names like Martin (mar-TEEN) where told they must change them to the more familiar (mar-TIN) or from Marcos to Mark. Whitten, however, claims that his actions were not racially motivated, rather:

“It has nothing to do with racism. I’m not doing it for any reason other than for the satisfaction of my guests, because people calling from all over America don’t know the Spanish accents or the Spanish culture or Spanish anything”

Let me first set aside my frustration with the conflation of “Spanish” and “Latino”. They are, simply, not the same thing. But the ignorance doesn’t stop there.

The idea that this has “nothing to do with racism” is an all-too familiar argument that I hear regularly from people who think that I am promoting the “illegalz” takeover of all of our resources and our culture. However, going back to my original point, the use of terms like “illegal” and “criminal” and “alien” by folks like Lou Dobbs have served to criminalize and “other” the entire Latino population, no matter immigration status. Its not about immigration here, guys, its about race.

From RaceWire:

For this reason, we cannot be fooled by the claim that there are simply talking about “language.” Rather, we must see through this to the core of what is at stake — the assault on the rights of the people who speak the languages, and today we see this in the assault on immigrants of color.

We are all familiar with the Latino scapegoat that has taken such strong hold in the minds of many Americans and some of the most dominant media frames. (Ahem… Lou Dobbs). But we have to connect the dots between this and the criminalization of an entire population and culture.

A recent CNN poll conducted found that people are “more familiar with Latinos” than they used to be, whatever the hell that means. But the findings that are the most shocking, and the least talked about from the survey:

But nearly half of people we questioned said they assume that Latinos who they have never met are immigrants, and one in five believe they are illegal immigrants

So, according to this poll, for many Americans, Latino has become synonymous with the concept of “illegal”. How is that not racism?

As we work towards reform of our immigration system, its not just bad policy that we are fighting, its the increasingly dangerous forces that criminalize and dehumanize entire populations, including but NOT limited to Latino immigrants.

A letter to Lou Dobbs

Dobbs liar

Yesterday, 18 cities across the country held events calling on CNN to drop Lou Dobbs. Last night, the network premiered their newest documentary, “Latino in America”. CNN’s own website for the documentary has this description:

By 2050, the U.S. Latino population is expected to nearly triple. CNN’s Soledad O’Brien explores how Latinos are reshaping our communities and culture and forcing a nation of immigrants to rediscover what it means to be an American.

Even though the documentary has portions focusing on both immigration and discrimination, there is one notorious CNN family-member who has been left out of the analysis. Lou Dobbs has made immigration a cornerstone of his nightly rants but CNN refuses to recognize his contribution to the way Americans view Latinos.

Efforts like the Basta Dobbs campaign and the Drop Dobbs campaign have been putting intense pressure on CNN to fire the hate-spewing host, and both CNN and Dobbs have been feeling the pressure. After the 18 events across the country that were organized by the Basta Dobbs campaign yesterday, Lou Dobbs invited Roberto Lovato, who heads the Basta Dobbs effort, onto his show. Lovato published a letter in response to Dobbs that gets straight to the core of the issue. Its a very thoughtful response to Dobbs’ invitation. Read it in full below (from the Huffington Post):

Dear Mr. Dobbs,
Thank you for your invitation to appear tonight on the Lou Dobbs Show. I would be happy to accept under one condition: that alongside me appears CNN President Jon Klein as a participant in this important discussion.

I request Mr. Klein’s participation because, as much as the BastaDobbs.com campaign targets your long history of faulty, incendiary reporting and its effects on Latino communities, our issue is not with you so much as the network that provides you with a platform. Indeed, the more than 65,000 people who have joined us in calling on CNN to cut ties with you have given up hope that you will engage in honest dialogue or change your ways. Over the years, you have time and again perpetuated myths and stereotypes about immigrants and Latinos, promoted the most extreme voices of xenophobia and hate, and refused to acknowledge your pattern of inaccuracies. At this point, the only question remaining is whether Mr. Klein and the rest of CNN’s management want you to remain associated with their network.

Make no mistake, the decision is a weighty one. The additions to CNN of Latinos like Rick Sanchez, Thelma Gutierrez, and others, and the production of the Latino in America series, are clear evidence that Klein recognizes the importance of the Latino market. And he certainly understands the tension between such efforts and the deeply problematic content of your show. It is now up to him to decide what the face of CNN will be going forward: Lou Dobbs or Latino in America.

There are those who suggest that this is a false choice, that CNN’s programming should have a “variety of opinions.” We agree that variety is important, and nothing in our statements should be construed otherwise. We believe in a robust public dialogue and recognize that news and opinion programs do and should give light to multiple viewpoints. But there is a difference between promoting varied opinions and allowing faulty reporting, the promotion of conspiracy theories, and the regular dehumanization of millions of Americans to be passed off as “news.”

You and others have suggested that we are seeking to abridge your free speech. Such arguments exhibit a shallow understanding of what the first amendment protects. You are free to voice your opinions, just as we are free to encourage CNN to cancel your program. There is, quite simply, nothing in the constitution that guarantees you a national news platform from which to spread misinformation, and invoking its protections is only a distraction from the real conversation.

That conversation is about the future of CNN. The network hails itself as the “Most Trusted Name in News,” and there is no doubt that CNN has been a journalistic pioneer. But this is a high standard to live up to, and every time your show airs, CNN falls short. We’re not the only ones who have noticed. Employees at CNN have taken pains to carefully distance themselves from you in public, and they say even worse in private. It’s all they can do to maintain their dignity and self-respect. Indeed, even the founder of CNN, Ted Turner, has said he would have you either toe the line or send you packing.

I am quite sure Jon Klein is aware of all of this, and yet he has made no statement and taken no action. I and many others want to know why, and I would be grateful for the opportunity to ask him face to face. I sincerely hope you will communicate my interest in appearing with him on your show. I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Roberto Lovato
BastaDobbs.com
Presente.org

CNN: You can’t have it both ways – Drop Dobbs NOW

I have been writing about Lou Dobbs for over a year now. Recently I attended a protest in front of the Newseum here in Washington, DC to protest CNN launching their new “Latinos in America” series while they continue to broadcast the hate of Dobbs every week day. Courting the Latino population while simultaneously aiding and abetting in their dehumanization is hypocrisy at its worst. (Also I must mention I got a pretty cool poster pictured above – an added bonus).

As of late, there are three major national campaigns leading the call for CNN to fire Lou Dobbs and reclaim their journalistic credibility; the Basta Dobbs campaign, the Drop Dobbs campaign and the Enough is Enough campaign are all gaining some serious momentum in their fights against Leprosy Lou.

Now, there is a video making its way across the blogosphere that I think is the single most powerful video I’ve seen about exactly why Lou has got to go. Check it out:


At this point, CNN is feeling the heat. When I attended the protest at the Newseum, I was told the next day that 80% of the questions asked were about Lou Dobbs and his continued use of hate speech on the network. Plus, the Basta Dobbs campaign, led by Presente.org, is boasting more than 50,000 supporters to date and the Drop Dobbs campaign is on the verge of launching a TV ad campaign targeting Dobbs  during the “Latino in America” series.

So, CNN, you must realize you can’t have it both ways. Is it time to act yet?

Museums launch town halls: Past and Present meet to discuss immigration

hull house

Jane Addams Hull House Museum in Chicago, Illinois.

Yesterday, museums across the country launched a new town hall dialogue program about immigration. “Face to face: immigration Then and Now” offers communities a chance to discuss immigration outside of specific policy measures and the fierce political debates that the issue typically inspires. Most importantly, the discussions are placed in a historical context, with exhibits relating to the history of immigration to the United States at each museum.

The American consciousness is often quick to forget and therefore the history of immigration in this country often ignored. For example, the many voices that are quick to scream that “my relatives came here the legal way” would do well to visit the New York museum site at Ellis Island. As the New York Times covers today, this museums gives the perspective of a Chinese immigrant who came to the United States during the “Chinese Exclusion Act” which placed restrictions solely on people trying to emigrate from China. From the NY Times:

The law was expanded in 1892 with a measure that required all Chinese to register with the government and subjected them to deportation unless they proved legal residency, which required the testimony of at least one white witness.

In a comment that reflected the tone in Congress, one senator asserted that the government had the right “to set apart for them, as we have for the Indians, a territory or reservation, where they should not break out to contaminate our people.”

Hmm… does this ring a bell? I’m thinking of a current political “pundit” warning of a wave of leprosy from those pesky illegals coming to take over our country.

But, I digress.

The Levine Museum of the New South in Charlotte, NC.

The Levine Museum of the New South in Charlotte, NC.

I think that the museum town halls are a creative and positive step forward in encouraging a real dialogue about immigration. Below is a list of the first four museums that participated in the launch of the program yesterday at the Jane Addams Hull House in Chicago, IL.

I am personally pleased to see a city like Charlotte (of my home state North Carolina) included in this debate. Charlotte has seen a huge influx of Latino immigrants in recent years – something that has been a source of both tension and positive growth.

I will be interested to follow the story of what comes out of these dialogues. The most important point is that this program is helping to humanize the debate and bring it home for people in a way that often policy debates cannot – and that is powerful.

For more information, visit the Sites of Consciousness website.

As pressure mounts, Lou Dobbs is feeling the heat

In the past few weeks, multiple groups have launched campaigns to get Lou Dobbs off the airwaves at CNN. First, there is the Drop Dobbs campaign, partnering with Media Matters to track Lou’s misinformation and hate speech, then there is the Latino led Basta Dobbs, the Enough is Enough campaign from Democracia and the recently launched TV ad campaign by America’s Voice (video above).

Yesterday’s launch of tv ads targeting Dobbs and CNN was coupled with a scathing blog post from Adam Luna at America’s Voice.

The real question is, what else does Dobbs have to do to get fired?  He called Rep. Joe Wilson’s outburst a “public service,” perpetuated the birther conspiracy, has congratulated the Minutemen, and just last week was honored by the anti-immigrant group FAIR – designated a Hate Group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

It’s time that CNN executives and the other “talent” at CNN deport Dobbs to Fox or talk radio where he belongs.  He doesn’t deserve the CNN seal of approval. Until CNN deals with its Lou Dobbs problem, any attempt to reach out to Latino audiences will be pure hypocrisy.

Seems like our friend Lou is feeling the heat. On his show yesterday, he took some time out to respond to the current campaigns for his dismissal.  Roberto Lovato (a leader in the BastaDobbs campaign, with Presente.org) had a recent post about the campaigns to drop Dobbs’ that circled the blogosphere and apparently, they were enough to get under Dobbs’ skin. Lovato wrote:

Dobbs left the realm of facts a long time ago. What Dobbs plies is not even “advocacy journalism,” as he sometimes calls it. It’s propaganda, and it’s dangerous. At a time when discrimination against Latinos is growing, and FBI statistics signal a 4 year rise in anti-Latino hate crimes, experts are beginning to draw a connection between anti-immigrant messages in the media and anti-Latino discrimination and violence in communities across the country. In other words, it seems that when Lou Dobbs talks, people can get hurt.

Check out Dobbs’ ranting response below. It’s clear that he is feeling the pressure, given that his response is to flag the first amendment in order to defend his own steady stream of anti-Latino xenophobia, dressed up as  “advocacy journalism”.

Dobbs refers to Lovato as a “flea”, but obviously these actions are getting something right. Let’s keep up the pressure!