This week, America's Voice is launching a campaign to air our new TV ad targeting CNN. The goal: to get CNN to drop Lou Dobbs.
This is about taking a microphone away from one of the most dangerous propagandists in America.
Few individuals have done more to bring extremism and race-based hate speech into the mainstream than Lou Dobbs. The network that purports to be "the most trusted name in news" broadcasts his vitriol every weekday during primetime - sandwiched between Anderson Cooper, John King, Wolf Blitzer and Dana Bash. And because Dobbs carries the CNN seal of approval, millions are force-fed his bile every day in airports, hospital waiting rooms and public spaces across the country.
White nationalist conspiracy theories flow seamlessly from vigilantes and extremist web sites to Dobbs and back again. Watch just a couple of episodes and you'll see how he throws around the term "criminal illegal aliens" with the spite and frequency of a mid-century Southern politician using the N-word. In Dobbs’ world, immigrants are disease ridden criminals who kill cops and are plotting for revolution. Bogus claims that immigrants are bringing a new wave of leprosy to America might be taken with a grain of salt on Fox - but on CNN, it’s news.
Perhaps to quell the criticism, CNN is airing a new mini-series in October called, "Latino in America." The network is in heavy promotion mode, sending the show's host, Soledad O'Brien, around the country to drum up interest. In fact, O’Brien is speaking today at a Washington, DC luncheon for Latino leaders. From the show's Facebook page:
"CNN's Soledad O'Brien journeys into the homes and hearts of a minority group destined to change America. Is it the ultimate clash of cultures or the ultimate melting pot?"
CNN seems to have already answered the question, airing about 260 hours of “culture clash” TV every year, and just a couple of hours to tell the story of Latino families who are a vibrant part of the American experience.
Civil rights organizations believe that there is a causal link between propagandists like Lou Dobbs and the dramatic rise in hate crimes against Latinos. CNN gives Dobbs a platform to perpetuate his disturbing worldview that immigrants are less than human, should be looked at suspiciously, and deserve fewer rights. And how does the average person tell the difference between a disease carrying “illegal alien,” a legal immigrant, and Latino US citizen? You can’t. Your Latino neighbor might be one of them, so watch out, is the message from CNN.
The movement to challenge CNN to drop Lou Dobbs Tonight is growing. Dozens of local and national advocacy organizations are standing together to take the fight to CNN. Media Matters with DropDobbs.org, Presente.org and dozens of Latino groups with BastaDobbs.org, and Democracia Ahora with TellCNNEnoughisEnough, have all launched excellent campaigns against Dobbs. And groups like the National Council of La Raza have chronicled Dobbs’ extremism through websites like WeCanStopTheHate.org.
Our new campaign to get Dobbs off the air will hit CNN both on the air and online. In addition to the TV ad, we’re running online ads and targeted ads on Face Book. You probably won’t see them unless you work for CNN or Turner – we’re asking Anderson Cooper, Soledad O’Brien, Wolf Blitzer and others how they feel about promoting and enabling Dobbs and his unrelenting campaign of immigrant bashing.
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.