Hispanic and pro-immigrant activists are becoming increasingly vocal in their demand that CNN drop host Lou Dobbs. Dobbs has a history of supporting fringe conspiracy theories –like the so-called “birther” movement that questions whether President Obama was born in the U.S, and one that claimed immigrants were spreading leprosy in America.
The latest of several campaigns against Dobbs was launched yesterday. It targeted CNN reporter Soledad O’Brien, who has Hispanic roots and occasionally reports on Latino issues for the network. She has an upcoming special called “Latino in America” that will air next month.
“Tell Soledad O’Brien that CNN can’t have it both ways. CNN should not make money off of the fastest growing demographic in the U.S., Latinos, at the same time that it promotes the type of dangerous language that has led to increasing hate crimes against those very same Latinos,” said the campaign launched by an activist on Twitter.
This is just one of several initiatives on the web against Dobbs. Presente.org, a “national online advocacy organization,” launched BastaDobbs.com (Enough Dobbs). Miami-based activist group Democracia U.S.A. created another campaign, asking CNN to “to hold Mr. Dobbs to journalistic standards.” Monitoring organization Media Matters, the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), America’s Voice and various other groups have put up DropDobbs.com, which aims to convince advertisers to pull their ads from Dobbs’ show.
Watch a video on Media Matters’ case against Dobbs:
“In the coming weeks, CNN President Jon Klein will be inundated by a growing national chorus of calls to stop promoting Dobbs’ brand of ‘news,‘” wrote Presente.org founder Roberto Lovato on The Huffington Post.
“From a Latino perspective, Klein and CNN must respond if they are to maintain any semblance of credibility in the Latino media market. If CNN doesn’t live up to its claim to being the ‘most trusted name in news’ it risks losing out on the fastest growing viewing demographic in the country.”
Democracia U.S.A. founder Jorge Mursuli told The Miami Herald his group conducted a poll of 100 Hispanic leaders across the nation, and 90 percent of them said Dobbs is a demagogue who preaches hate.
“Mr. Dobbs has a right to his opinion, but he also needs to stick with the facts,” said Mursuli, according to The Herald.
“We focus on Lou Dobbs because he, more than any other media personality, has obsessed about and given voice to the most extreme views about immigrants and Latinos,” Basta Dobbs reads.
Janet Murguia, president and CEO of NCLR, said on its website that the decision to start the Drop Dobbs campaign came after the host’s participation in a conservative radio event in Washington last week.
Murguia noted she had repeatedly talked to CNN about Dobbs. She wrote:
“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.”
As True/Slant and Vivir Latino noted Wednesday, Dobbs may be feeling the pressure.
Marcelo Ballve at True/Slant said Dobbs dedicated a “lengthy, vitriolic response” to Lovato, in which he called the activist a flea and a “typical leftwing activist coward propagandist.”