Lou Dobbs confronts Latino movement to dislodge him from CNN
Latino and immigrant advocates have trained their cross-hairs on a big target: CNN anchor Lou Dobbs. They’ve vowed to take him down through a campaign that will embarrass CNN into dumping him. The reason? Because before there was Rep. Joe Wilson, Lou Dobbs arguably had the loudest megaphone of all the nation’s immigration hardliners. Dobbs, instead of ignoring the forces arrayed against him, has decided to fight back. It’s a full-fledged media battle.
Some context: for years, from the perch of his nightly show, Dobbs has relentlessly espoused his conservative, and sometimes crackpot views on immigration. It’s widely known he has reported as fact a supposed “reconquista” movement through which Mexico, in cahoots with its U.S.-based immigrants, wants to reclaim the southwestern United States. He has also reported on supposed epidemics of voter fraud and leprosy, attributing them to illegal immigration. Dobbs’s critics also question his show’s obsessive emphasis on immigration. For example, a Media Matters analysis of CNN transcripts for the first six months of 2009 found Dobbs devoted, on average, 528 words to immigration topics per broadcast hour, compared to about 40 for CNN’s preceding show, “The Situation Room.” Then there’s the Dobbs slant. Virtually every segment he airs on illegal immigration connects it to crime, disease, or economic malaise.
It’s well-known Dobbs received a virtual restraining order from his CNN chiefs to stop him from further pursuit of the Obama birth certificate story. It isn’t as widely known he’s receiving a drubbing on immigration, not via CNN execs, but from increasingly vocal, and organized, Latino progressives. Last night, Lou Dobbs responded on his radio show to one of his antagonists, Roberto Lovato, a Salvadoran-American writer and activist with a long track record of working on Latino issues in media and community-based organizations (acknowledgment: I have been Roberto’s friend for a half-dozen years).
Earlier this week, Lovato published an op-ed essay in The Huffington Post and Alternet, blasting Dobbs for “playing victim” and hiding behind the first amendment, as a growing chorus of Latino activists demand his head. In the radio response aired last night, Dobbs refers to Lovato as a “flea.” But if Lovato’s a tiny insect, Dobbs sure did use up a great deal of airtime swatting him away. Maybe I’m biased, but it appears to me Dobbs feels the pressure. He gives a lengthy, vitriolic response. The audio of Dobbs’s response is available at Media Matters, which by the way has also called for Dobbs’s removal from CNN. I took the trouble of typing out a transcript below.
You know … I just want to … I’ve just got to … I’ve just got to bring this to you … This guy Roberto Lovato who’s a non-entity, but he’s one of my fleas, writing in Alternet saying ‘Dobbs plays the victim as movement demanding CNN dump him grows.’ I mean he’s one of these delusional left wing activists who doesn’t care a whit about the truth, he has nothing to do with the truth.
But what’s really interesting is he’s trying to … he’s … he’s just … he’s playing just one heck of a stupid game … He writes, ‘faced with a growing movement of communities demanding CNN drop his program Lou Dobbs responded Friday with one of his favorite postures, the victimized defender of American virtue.’ Now let me, let me be real clear with you Roberto, I’m not, I’m not a victim of anything. You know, I’m just, I’m just a dog and you’re one of my fleas.
Uh, you know, this nonsense that he writes. He says ‘Not surprisingly Dobbs is waving the first amendment flag to change the subject.’ First of all, first Roberto, don’t be a bozo anymore than you can help. The first amendment metaphor would not be a flag, it’s an amendment, its in the Constitution, it’s one of my rights it’s one of yours. You’re the one trying to deny my rights. And don’t be such … you know, don’t be so silly.
And the fact is, you wouldn’t be accusing me of anything if I were supporting illegal immigration and amnesty, and you’re not even man enough to admit that straight up. You are a typical left wing activist coward propagandist, trying to use the constitution that enables all of us to have free expression, trying to deny my rights. You’re trying to deny rights, while turning over this country to those who have no regard for our laws, for our rules, our customs, and the legal foundation of this country. I mean you’re just … you’re … Mr. Lovato, you’re a joke.
And I would like you to come on and defend, if you will, your own, yourself, against what I’m saying, because I consider you to be an outright fraud. And those who would follow you or listen to you, you’re simply duping, and you’re silly, just utterly silly.
Finally, below is a video on Lou Dobbs and immigration prepared by Washington D.C. pro-immigrant advocacy group America’s Voice.