LatinaLista — If there was any doubt as to how vicious the issue of undocumented immigrants has become then you haven’t seen the Senate Finance Committee’s version of the healthcare bill.
The Chairman’s Mark America’s Healthy Future Act of 2009 goes out of its way to calm fears that undocumented immigrants would be able to receive healthcare coverage.
In the Senate’s bill, undocumented immigrants are barred from participating in the healthcare exchange even if they can pay for it.
The intent is ludicrous. In essence, the government is forcing undocumented immigrants to use emergency rooms and run up bills in the thousands of dollars, that will probably not get reimbursed, rather than accepting their money on a monthly basis to pay now for healthcare later.
Yeah, that makes a lot of sense — but only to people who have lost all reason and compassion when it comes to undocumented immigrants.
One of the most vocal voices fueling this kind of asinine thinking is a guy I used to have a lot of respect for — Lou Dobbs.
There was a time when, as a fellow journalist, I respected his thoughtful analysis and the way his booming voice delivered an authoritative yet comforting perspective.
Yet, over the years, Dobbs has changed his thoughtful journalistic analysis for parroting talking points found at some of the most notorious hate group sites.
It’s one thing for a journalist to deliver an opinion or to even have a cause but to revisit the same topic on a semi-regular/regular basis on a daily show while perpetuating unverified information to the American public then that is a serious breach of journalistic ethics and borders dangerously on being nothing more than a mouthpiece for an organization or movement that has a definite political agenda.
At that point, it’s no longer news. It’s propaganda.
Today, it was announced that several leading immigrant advocate and Latino groups have signed on to a campaign called Drop Dobbs.
The focus is to heighten awareness among advertisers that Dobbs’ rhetoric is nothing that a self-respecting business would want to be associated with.
Latina Lista has not signed on to the Drop Dobbs campaign.
Not because I don’t agree but because I think it’s important that the people who are most impacted by this national tirade against undocumented immigrants rise up and speak for themselves.
Who is that you might ask? It’s not just undocumented immigrants — it’s Latinos everywhere.
The trouble with vilifying undocumented immigrants is that the average Joe or Jane can’t tell an undocumented immigrant from a fifth-generation, English-only Latino/a. Rhetoric that lumps all undocumented immigrants together is, in essence, lumping all Latinos together.
A couple of months ago, I was invited to be part of a Latino/Jewish coalition. Part of our introductory exercises to break down misperceptions of one another was to list the first five things that came to mind when each side heard the label Latino or Jewish.
The Jewish group’s #1 response was that Latinos were all “illegal immigrants.”
The campaign BastaDobbs or Enough Dobbs is a coalition of mostly Latino organizations and bloggers who have united for the first time to make media accountable for those employees they have who go beyond journalism and are allowed to breach its ethics in the name of profits.
Lou Dobbs has increasingly pushed the envelope when it comes to using his show as a soapbox for organizations identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as being hate or racist when it comes to the illegal immigration debate.
Just this week, Dobbs took a prominent role at a rally in Washington sponsored by an organization known as being overtly anti-immigrant. Known as the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), the group’s executive director is most well known for warning that “certain immigrant groups are engaged in “competitive breeding” aimed at diminishing white power.”
That Dobbs would openly associate himself with such a questionable organization is a sad commentary on how little disregard he has for the journalism profession but even less for CNN itself.
In this day and age when public opinion polls show that people have a low opinion of the media, personalities like Dobbs most certainly contribute to that negative perception.
For the sake of salvaging the credibility of CNN and not further discrediting the journalism produced by the rest of CNN staffers who know what real journalism entails: balance, accuracy, and truthfulness — it’s time CNN management really looked at Dobbs and realized that he’s using the CNN brand to further an ideology that runs counter to what CNN always represented in the minds of viewers worldwide — a trusted source.
As long as Dobbs remains, it will be harder and harder for other CNN news shows to distance themselves from a man who claims to be a journalist but has little respect for the profession, and much less for the company that employs him.
It’s a sad situation but one that calls for CNN management to act responsibly and understand that its the viewers to whom a network is accountable to and not an egotistical host bent on dragging a network down with him.