Lou Dobbs

Times: White House To Begin Push on Immigration Overhaul in 2010

In a message I sent out to our supporters across the country earlier today, I talked about how the resignation of Lou Dobbs and the defeat of an amendment meant to disrupt the census and reapportionment were signs that the advocates over tolerance could prevail in direct, frontal battles with their opponents.  To me these recent victories have helped improve the environment for what will be the next great battle in this on-going struggle, next year's fight to pass comprehensive immigration reform.

In a speech this morning Department of Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano made clear that the Administration is serious about moving immigration reform legislation next year.  In my own interaction with the Administration these last several months I have come to believe that they are serious about moving forward next year, and are in the process of putting in place the strategy and the plan to get it done.   The NY Times has more about the speech and the Administration's plan here.

For advocates for comprehensive immigration reform this had been an exciting week.  We have had some important victories, and have seen the Administration's reaffirm their commitment to act soon.  So I end my work week hopeful that the stars can align next year to allow us to finally getting around to fixing our broken immigration system, a reform lthe American people have been waiting for for far too long.

WaPo's Howie Kurtz on Dobbs

From his story today in the Washington Post:

Lou Dobbs, the most opinionated and divisive anchor at a cable network that bills itself as a straight-news oasis, resigned from CNN on Wednesday night, saying in his final broadcast that he wants "to go beyond the role" of a television journalist in tackling the country's problems.

Framing his move as a response to the urging of "some leaders in media, politics and business," Dobbs struck a populist tone, attempting to position himself as a political leader who would mount a campaign "to overcome the lack of true representation in Washington, D.C." He said that public debate was now defined by "partisanship and ideology" and that he would continue to speak out "in the most honest and direct language possible."

Liberal groups such as NDN and Media Matters had mounted a "Dump Dobbs" campaign, and Latino organizations challenged such Dobbs declarations as his 2006 statement that about one-third of the U.S. prison population "is estimated to be illegal aliens"--which the anchor later acknowledged was way too high. But his position at CNN seemed secure.

The surprise announcement by Dobbs, whose fervent opposition to illegal immigration has come to define his career, stunned most staffers at the network he helped launch in 1980. He only hinted at disagreements with CNN President Jon Klein, saying that after extensive talks Klein had agreed to let him out of his multimillion-dollar contract.

In a statement, Klein praised the 64-year-old Dobbs for having "fearlessly and tirelessly pursued some of the most important and complex stories of our time, often well ahead of the pack." He added: "With characteristic forthrightness, Lou has now decided to carry the banner of advocacy journalism elsewhere."


A Census worker was found dead earlier today, hanging, with the word "Fed" on his chest.  He was just a Census worker, a productive member of society, and NOT a minority. Thanks to the insane fear mongering causing disturbing levels of paranoia against "Obamacare" and "the government," we can add hate crimes against government workers to the list. 

Over the last few days, our campaign to DropDobbs.com has taken off, and the media has taken to covering campaigns against Dobbs and other "MadMen" of tv like him.  These men do not argue based on reason, one cannot have a debate with them, and when impartial data is brought up to disprove their theories, they dismiss it as an "attack" on their first amendment right. 

Many have asked us what they can do to help, you can Watch the video, Sign the petition, and Share the site!! 

Watch, Sign, Share. 

After having over 50,000 views to our video soon after launch, we are excited about what this campaign will accomplish once it's really in full gear.  Just this week, one mad man, Glenn Beck, was featured in Time magazine, and countless articles in media outlets and the HuffPo have covered our DropDobbs campaign. Additionally a story broke over Lou Dobbs' discussion of secession from the Union on his radio show.  

I enjoyed this excerpt of a posting by Roberto Lovato in HuffPo:

Not surprisingly, Dobbs is waving the First Amendment flag to change the subject, which is not about disagreement on immigration policy, and has nothing to do with free speech. Dobbs has the right to his opinions; but there's nothing in the Constitution that says he deserves a "news" platform to disseminate hurtful and dangerous myths about immigrants.

Dobbs' suggestion...is both sad and comical given what passes for facts and ideas on his show. For Dobbs, immigrants are "invaders," and he regularly uses debunked statistics to paint them as disease-carrying criminals. He reports on conspiracy theories like the "Reconquista" and the "Birthers" as if they were legitimate topics of discussion. And worst of all, he provides a regular platform to the most extreme anti-immigrant groups like FAIR and the Minutemen, trotting them out as experts.

Drop Dobbs: How You Can Help

So many folks have asked us - how can I help you and all those groups get Lou Dobbs off the air? 

It's easy:

1.  Visit the web site.  DropDobbs.com.  While there watch the video of Lou doing his thing.

2.  Sign the petition to CNN and Dobbs' advertisers asking them to Drop Dobbs.

3.  Share the site and petition with your networks.  Encourage others to do the same. 

Visit.  Sign.  Share.

In just a few days our compelling video of Dobbs' increasingly irresponsible behavior on the air has been seen more than 50,000 times, and thousands have already signed the petition.  When we really kick this campaign into high gear together—it’s going to be exciting to see.

So thanks for your interest and support for our efforts to fight back against the crazy talk on our mainstream news outlets.  And don't forget - visit, sign, share.  DropDobbs.com.  Lots of small little steps can add up to one big collective action. 

For more on why we've taken up this campaign, and to see our video, visit here.

And check back here and on DropDobbs for more each day.

Murguia: Join NCLR and the Drop Dobbs Campaign

NCLR President Janet Murguia posted this essay on the Huffington Post yesterday:

This Tuesday, my organization, the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), joined with several national advocacy organizations to launch the Drop Dobbs campaign, an appeal to advertisers to withhold their advertising support for CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight program. We came to this decision in the wake of Dobbs' participation at an anti-immigrant rally in Washington, DC sponsored by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), an organization designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) as a hate group.

According to SPLC:

- FAIR was founded by John Tanton, who also operates a racist publishing company and has compared immigrants to "bacteria."
- FAIR has employed members of white supremacist groups in key positions.
- FAIR has promoted racist conspiracy theories.
- FAIR has accepted more than $1 million from the Pioneer Fund, a foundation devoted to eugenics and to proving a connection between race and IQ.
- FAIR president Dan Stein once suggested that Asians and Hispanics were engaged in "competitive breeding."

For two years, I have tried working behind the scenes with CNN to bring some fairness to the relentless bias of CNN programming due to Dobbs' show. I have documented a litany of issues involving Lou Dobbs, including:

- His regular use of guests representing hate groups, vigilantes, and nativists as experts on immigration
- His relentless repetition of stories on immigrants and crime that project an impression far from reality
- His association of immigrants as carriers of disease that has been both inaccurate and pejorative

I have appeared on the Lou Dobbs show to ask him to curtail his bias and distance himself from the vigilantes and nativists who have appeared on his show. I have also partnered with CNN to address the levels of diversity before and behind the camera in hopes that this would help. CNN's disregard for Dobbs' alarming appearance at the hate group's rally this week has forced us to reconsider our behind-the-scenes approach.

Words have consequences. The Latino community knows all too well the effect that extreme and polarizing rhetoric can have. Over the past five years, the often vitriolic debate surrounding immigration has created a toxic climate for our communities. During that time, we have seen a double digit increase in the number of hate crimes against Latinos and substantial growth in the number of hate groups targeting Latinos. As was illustrated less than one year ago by the murders of Marcelo Lucero and Jose Sucuzhanay, lives are literally at stake.

Lou Dobbs, as a private citizen, has every right to speak at whatever event he pleases. As a representative of CNN's "best political news team in America," however, Dobbs' appearance at this rally provides FAIR the legitimacy of the CNN brand and signals an intensification of the lopsided coverage Dobbs has provided during the debate over immigration reform.

This should be of deep concern to CNN and every one of its advertisers. The credibility of all of their brands is at stake. The Drop Dobbs coalition is compiling a list of those advertisers supporting the Lou Dobbs show and will be reaching out to educate them about this issue. We recognize that many advertisers may be unaware that FAIR has been designated as a hate group, so we are contacting those companies before publicly releasing the list. However, unless and until Dobbs and CNN disassociate themselves from this hate group, we will be asking advertisers to withhold their support.

Join us online at the Drop Dobbs campaign and ask U.S. corporations to drop their advertising from the Lou Dobbs Tonight show. Together we can make a difference and bring accountability back to CNN.

NDN is a proud founding member of this important effort.  If you haven't yet, please visit the site, DropDobbs.com, sign our petition and then ask others in your networks to do the same.

Read more at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/janet-murguia/join-nclr-and-the-drop-do_b_290584.html

Miami Herald columnist takes a look at Drop Dobbs

The Miami Herald's Andres Oppenheimer has a column this morning which asks a good question - Will boycott against CNN's Dobbs Work? 

Oppenheimer writes:

`CNN gives Dobbs an unparalleled and powerful perch from which to spread right-wing misinformation and promote hate and fear. And his advertisers help make that possible -- and profitable -- for CNN,'' says the Dropdobbs.com website.

``These advertisers depend on the loyalty of a broad consumer base that includes millions of Latinos who are tired of being demonized by Dobbs. . . . Let's send a message to these advertisers that they will be held accountable for financially supporting the spread of hate.''

According to Simon Rosenberg, head of the New Democrat Network and a former television journalist himself, cable TV shows such as Dobbs' are fueling a dangerous social polarization in the United States.

``Dobbs spreads things that are clearly untrue and uses wild and extreme rhetoric, particularly about Hispanic Americans, that should have no space on a mainstream network like CNN,'' Rosenberg said. ``He is free to say whatever he wants on his own website, his books and on his radio show, but CNN and Time Warner, which are globally respected companies, should take a stand regarding this kind of speech.''

Should we support this petition?

Edward Schumacher-Matos, a lecturer at Harvard and Miami Herald ombudsman, says that ``the boycott is perfectly legitimate. As much as Dobbs may not mean to demonize immigrants and Latinos, he does. He hammers at this issue night after night, and he takes so many facts out of context, that even if I don't think he is a racist, he feeds into racism.''

In addition, Dobbs often misleads the public by presenting opinion disguised as news, Schumacher-Matos added.

Edward Wasserman, a journalism-ethics professor at Washington and Lee University and a Miami Herald columnist, added that just as Dobbs has a right to free speech, news consumers have a right to boycott companies that sponsor irresponsible journalism.

``If you find the general drift of Dobbs' commentary to be incendiary, reckless, deceitful, then you shouldn't be buying these advertisers' products,'' Wasserman said.

and then concludes:

My opinion: If Dobbs' show was presented as an opinion show -- ``The angry-white-male nightly diatribe'' would be a proper name for it -- I would be against a boycott drive because it would curtail his right to free speech. But if Dobbs, Beck, and other cable TV entertainers continue to deceive the public by using news formats to disguise opinion as news, and cross the line from dispassionate discourse to fire-brand crusading, they must live with the consequences, including boycotts.

(If you wonder why The Herald runs my column under the banner ``In my opinion,'' and why I always end my columns with the words ``my opinion,'' it's precisely to let you know exactly what you are reading.)

The key issue should not be where Dobbs or other Hispanic-phobic TV show hosts stand, but whether they present themselves as what they are -- opinionators. And Dobbs clearly doesn't pass the test.


Made O'Reilly Tonight. Talking About Lou Dobbs

So Bill O'Reilly was kind enough to put me on his show tonight, using a clip from this past weekend's Netroots Nation convention. In the clip I talk about Lou Dobbs, and why he needs to follow Glenn Beck, and move from CNN to Fox.

My guess is that O'Reilly used this clip to send a covert signal to Dobbs that he, for one, wants him over there with him at America's real news network.

For more on the panel that generated this clip check out this post I offered up from this weekend about Dobbs and Beck.

Movement to Drop Race-Baiting Pundits Builds Momentum

At Netroots Nation last week, Simon was on a panel with Media Matters, America's Voice and Color of Change talking about right-wing hatred of Obama and its manifestations in the media. At the panel, Simon told the room that, by mounting a smart and sustained campaign, we have the power to get hate-mongers like Glenn Beck and Lou Dobbs, with their consistent lies and distortions and their unacceptable public racism, off the airwaves.

We're now one step closer to that happening. Several days ago, Simon wrote a post called "Beck Loses Advertisers, Dobbs Should Be Worried." Since that was posted, at least 8 more major companies have pulled their ads from Beck's program over his assertion that Obama is a racist who has a "deep seated hatred of whites and white culture [whatever that is]." Even by the near-nonexistent standards over at Fox, this was apparently a bridge too far for many - pressure from Color of Change has caused a number of advertisers to back out, and Media Matters is keeping up the pressure:

The racism and xenophobia of demagogues like Dobbs and Beck have no place anywhere in the media, even on the 24/7 right-wing propaganda outlet known as Fox News (or is the Republican party itself an organ of Fox News now?). Nobody wants to be associated with this sort of naked, ugly hatred, which has nothing to do with a legitimate debate about the issues, which is why advertisers are backing away. It's unclear that Fox will fire Beck, despite this unwanted attention - his ratings remain high, and Fox caters to a particularly conservative and, coincidentally, ignorant audience. But Lou Dobbs has no place on a purportedly ideology-neutral network like CNN, and I think his days there may be numbered.

Beck Loses Advertisers, Dobbs Should be Worried

UPDATE 8/18/09 - More advertisers drop Beck.

The Times has this encouraging report this morning:

ABOUT a dozen companies have withdrawn their commercials from “Glenn Beck,” the Fox News Channel program, after Glenn Beck, the person, said late last month that President Obama was a racist with a “deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture.”

The companies that have moved their ads elsewhere in recent days included ConAgra, Geico, Procter & Gamble and the insurance company Progressive. In a statement that echoed the comments of other companies, ConAgra said on Thursday that “we are firmly committed to diversity, and we would like to prevent the potential perception that advertising during this program was an endorsement of the viewpoints shared.”

The campaign against Mr. Beck is rooted in an advocacy group’s objection to the commentator’s remarks on July 28. Given the number of advertisers that have pledged to remove their spots, it appears to have been unusually successful.

At Netroots Nation yesterday I was on a panel with James Rucker, head of the advocacy group mentioned above, Color of Change, where we discussed all this.  The success of this effort reinforces what I said yesterday - the center-left has the power to get wild, irresponsible demagogues like Beck and Lou Dobbs off mainstream news outlets.  It will require intense focus, patience and a broad based campaign.  But it is possible.  And it is not for their conservatism, or even their opposition to the Democrats.  It is that their consistently articulated understanding of race, of immigrants, of people not like them, of who we are as a people is offensive, anachronistic, and has no place in this age of greater racial understanding offered by our new President. 

We cannot forget that several years ago a Dobbs and Beck fellow traveler, Rush Limbaugh, was given a shot to go mainstream, joining the booth of the Monday Night Football.  Within just a few games he was fired for making racially insensitive remarks.  As a veteran of a network news division, I am very much for freedom of speech, and believe that folks like Limbaugh, Dobbs and Beck are entitled to make their case, grow their shows, do their thing.  But not on a network owned by Disney, or Time Warner.  One of the main reasons I have switched my cable news allegiance from CNN to MSNBC in recent months has been CNN's unwillingness to get rid of Dobbs, who really has no place on CNN, and whose views are wildly out of sync with the CNN brand. I for one will not start watching CNN again until they get Dobbs off their network.

At a forum two weeks I talked about Dobbs and Beck.  A conservative news site, CNS, covered it this way. Their video is included below.

Congrats to James Rucker, Media Matters and those who have worked so hard to hold these awful demagogues to account.  There is much more we can and need to be doing to be building on their success.  More on that soon.

Right Wing Site Features Simon Talking Lou Dobbs, Glenn Beck

At an event we held last week, Simon argued that Lou Dobbs's racist, xenophobic blather has gotten so bad that he should be banished from CNN to FoxNews, where Glenn Beck has normalized insane rantings.  He was captured on film by the folks over at CNS News (The Right News. Right Now.), who covered Simon's speech in an admirably impartial manner.

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