LatinaLista — In a new study by the Media Matters Action Network, "Fear and Loathing in Prime Time: Immigration Myths and Cable News," the authors examine the cable "news" shows of Lou Dobbs, CNN Headline News' Glenn Beck, and Fox News' Bill O'Reilly. The authors are able to document the number of times these men not only discuss illegal immigration on their shows but slant it in such a way that it fuels mistaken perceptions among viewers about undocumented immigrants and elevates those misperceptions into facts in the minds of people.
Of course, none of these men enjoy being the subject of such a report. After all, in their minds they are looking out for the future of this nation. Dobbs especially takes issue when he's accused of not being fair or that he's a lousy journalist, and denies wholeheartedly that he's a racist or anyone who purposely misleads his viewers.
CNN's Lou Dobbs
His denials sound very much like another man who packs a posse and a philosophy that when it comes to undocumented immigrants, it's open season â€” Arizona's Sheriff Arpaio. But Dobbs, unlike Arpaio, has a ready-made national platform to exude his brand of justice.
Latina Lista would like to agree with Dobbs. After all, we remember a time when Dobbs did a lot of good when he started the multimedia site Space.com and helped spotlight an industry that had fallen on the backburner of the public's imagination and Congressional funding.
So, what better way to see if Dobbs is the objective journalist and conscientious objector he says he is than with a simple analysis of the one thing the report could not analyze â€” his response to being included in the report.
For starters, a visit to his website, in search of his response to the report, showed the usual round-up of tonight's (May 22) stories. The titles are the following:
Congressional Leaders Back Down on Amnesty
Biased Reporting on Immigration? This is his response to the report
Gun Rights Under Fire
On TV Tonight
Thursday 7pm ET
The Bush Administration is making it easier for businesses to hire foreign workers instead of American workers. Without congressional oversight, the Labor Department is rewriting visa rules that would extend the stay of foreign workers from 10 months to 3 years. Weâ€™ll have all the details in tonightâ€™s special report.
Monday - Friday 3-6pm ET
â€¢ Listen to Lou NOW
â€¢ Listen to past radio shows
Thursday on the Lou Dobbs Show, weâ€™ll have a look ahead to the three remaining Democratic primary contests. Democratic Rep. Corrine Brown will be on to talk about her support of Hillary Clinton and the effort to have her constituentsâ€™ votes counted. Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt will talk about his stateâ€™s tough new anti-illegal immigration laws. Gabor Steingart, author of â€œThe War for Wealthâ€ will join Lou to discuss globalization and the American economy. John Strausbaugh, the author of â€œSissy Nation,â€ will talk to Lou about whether the United States has evolved into a culture of people too afraid to take a stand. And of course weâ€™ll be taking your calls.
Out of five of the stories that Dobbs will either discuss on his show tonight or talked about via radio, three dealt with immigrants or illegal immigration. The key words were: amnesty, foreign workers and immigration.
Already the editorial is unbalanced. With so much else happening in politics â€” reports of Clinton aides stumping for her in the Obama camp to be his vice-president or the House Judiciary Committee delivering a subpoena to President Bush's former chief political adviser, Karl Rove, to testify about whether the White House improperly meddled with the Justice Department â€” it seems that a balanced journalist would not devote so many stories to one issue.
In looking more closely at Dobb's response, it's curious the adjectives that are used in referring to the report and its sponsors. The brief write-up used as an intro into the video of last night's initial response reads:
The pro-amnesty Congressional Hispanic Caucus has been attacking this broadcast for covering the issue of illegal immigration. Now the caucus is putting fuel on the fire, citing a study by the liberal â€œmedia watchdogâ€ group Media Matters for America entitled â€œFear and Loathing in Prime Time: Immigration Myths and Cable News,â€ accusing this broadcast and others of misinformation and disguised racism for covering the costs of illegal immigration.
In just reading this, it sets not only a combatant tone (which is to be expected) but a definite biasness that destroys any illusion of anything other than this person has an agenda:
For example, to describe the Congressional Hispanic Caucus as being "pro-amnesty"? We've reviewed the Congressional Hispanic Caucus website and nowhere is it written that this is an organization that believes or advocates amnesty. Obviously, this is being used to plant the assumption that amnesty goes hand-in-hand with the term "Hispanic."
The subsequent video, even with taking out for the natural defensiveness that is bound to be a part of his response, Dobb's manner is very revealing.
It shows a man who uses a condescending manner to refute critics and rob them of credibility. While he complains of being identified as racist and having an overt agenda on illegal immigration, he lives up to those markers.
He also overused such terms as "liberal," left-wing" and "progressive." By the way he uses these words, he paints a very vivid connection between these words and immigration reform.
Dobbs ends his response by saying, "â€¦We can't control immigration until we control our own borders and ports. You find fault with that syllogism and I'll sign up with your program immediately."
Well, the fault with that "syllogism" is that it lacks dealing with the reality of the situation â€” that there are millions of men, women and children already here who did not just arrive yesterday but have been here for a while.
Are gestapo-like raids and intimidation tactics the way we pride ourselves on treating anyone in this country?
According to Dobbs, it's par for the course for these undocumented immigrants.
What an awesome privilege for any person to have their own nationally televised show and have the power to preach their beliefs on a continuous basis, night after night, without regard to accuracy or accountability.
As of now, CNN is complicit in giving Dobbs and Beck the platforms to spread this one-sided view of this particular issue.
In all fairness, it's time for CNN to regain their credibility as a high-quality news organization and provide balance in their programming by now giving a platform to someone who can present the other side of this issue and others which have so far been given a biased presentation by Dobbs and Beck.
What about it CNN? Isn't it time for a change?