LatinaLista — From all the pre-publicity, CNN's special, Latino in America, which airs tonight and tomorrow night at 9 p.m. EST, is a program filled with enough anecdotal stories of Latinos that it serves as a great primer for those people who think Latino culture is nothing but Taco Bell.
For those people, if they watch it, this show could open a lot of eyes and hopefully many minds. The problem is I'm not sure just how heavily marketed the program was with other ethnic groups.
Beyond commercials publicizing it on CNN, I haven't seen anything like the push that happened in the Latino community with the program's host, Soledad O'Brien, making the rounds of events winding up Hispanic Heritage Month and the show itself being given pre-screenings in select cities in front of Latino audiences -- all for a TV special.
While there's no doubt that a show like this can be great for community morale, it seems like "preaching to the choir" if only Latinos tune in. We know most of these stories and we certainly know the heartache that many in the community endure because of a variety of reasons.
If this special is to introduce Latinos to the rest of the country, I hope its ratings are sky-high but if it's a show to only hold a mirror up to the Latino community to see who we are and what we're facing, then CNN is the least qualified entity to do that -- as long as they continue to give a national platform to a man who vilifies Hispanic immigrants.
Of course, I'm talking about Lou Dobbs. If you're a regular reader of Latina Lista then you know there are campaigns, Basta Dobbs and Drop Dobbs, organized to see that Lou Dobbs no longer has a CNN platform to spew his kind of immigration reform.
Because CNN management has neatly ignored the appearance of hyprocrisy in dedicating two nights to the one demographic that is on one of its most popular host's daily hit list, Latino groups organized protest rallies across the country today pointing out to CNN management that they can't have it both ways.
The frustration with Dobbs is not that he is voicing a different opinion than what most of us hold in the Latino community; it's that he's voicing his opinion, hidden within the context of news, on a national platform day-in and day-out on a network that has built its reputation and credibility on delivering unbiased, factual news.
No one, from either the left or right, should be given that powerful a platform, on a national cable network, to say what he wants unchallenged. For radio, it works fine because the listener has only the voice of the commentator. TV is a much more powerful and influential medium.
There have been rumors that FOX News is trying to lure Dobbs over to their new business channel. Yet, even some people over there don't want him.
Thanks to ThinkProgress who caught FOX News' newest anchor, John Stossel's comment about Lou Dobbs on Glenn Beck's show:
... in a radio interview today with fellow Fox colleague Glenn Beck. Stossel indicated that he doesn't support conservatives like Dobbs who rail on immigrants. Beck asked Stossel whether he is willing to "throw his vote away" and not vote for a Republican. Stossel firmly held that if "conservative means stop all immigration and some other things that conservatives say," then he will not vote Republican:
STOSSEL: If it means the Lou Dobbs-kind of rants about immigrants wrecking America, I don't subscribe to that. I think immigrants by and large do good things for America.
BECK: I think immigrants I think we need more immigrants, ones that want to be Americans because those immigrants are the only ones that are reminding us that we better get off our ass, we've got liberty here and we forget about it all the time.
Yes, CNN management should be thanked for allowing Soledad O'Brien to do this special and giving that valuable air time, but they also need to show the Latino community that they learned something from this show and that they understand the problems that face the Latino community -- one of which is on their payroll.