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CNN unveils “Latino in America” while ignoring Latino outcry over Lou Dobbs

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.

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  • Eric
    October 21, 2009 at 5:22 pm

    It’s really a shame this is happening. Will it take war for this to stop? When will people open their eyes to diversity!? Why is it that I live in 2009 and people still hate

  • cookie
    October 21, 2009 at 6:25 pm

    Correction, Lou Dobbs does not vilify Hispanic immigrants he speaks out against those in our country illegally which undeniably the majority are from Hispanic countries. See the difference? How about some honesty for a change from the Hispanic community and others who constantly blur the lines between legal and illegal. Is that too much to ask?

  • Gail
    October 22, 2009 at 5:31 am

    I guess they didn’t think that it should be a propaganda machine for the lies told by a small minority of Latinos who are promoting illegal immigration. Do Latinos really want to be seen as a rogue group that won’t follow our nation’s laws, acting a bullies to gain special treatment for their relatives? That’s how it looks to me and my friends. The way it looks to most Americans these days is that Latinos think that the path to citizenship for Mexicans and others is to cross our border illegally, pay a fine and declare that we are mean because we deport them, causing them to be separated from the families they brought with them. My friends and I have no sympathy for that.

  • cookie
    October 22, 2009 at 12:39 pm

    Eric, the fact is that this country has taken in more legal immigrants than any other country and yet you claim that we don’t like diversity? What has diversity to to with “illegal” immigration anyway?

  • maryelizabeth
    October 22, 2009 at 1:54 pm

    I am really disappointed that CNN is not allowing the commercials that I gave donations to so that they could air against this hateful man. I think that CNN should be responsible and remove Lous Dobbs and his program and replace him with a program of substance. CNN has lost alot of credibility by having him on the air. I did not watch the special on Latinos last night but hopefully I will get a chance to watch it after spending my 4 hours tonight making calls in Democratic headquarters to get out the vote for our local campaigns. The GOP needs to get off using the hate card to try to win elections. The public is on to it and the GOP really needs to make some friends. They are becoming the dinosaurs of politics.

  • irma
    October 22, 2009 at 2:00 pm

    Speaking of bullies, I would like to point out a case which is now in the Boston courts
    (heart of the American fight for Independence) showcasing the bullying
    of minorities in Boston that has persisted for decades.
    See :
    Is it any wonder that minorities of all flavors distrust and reject “the law in the US.?”
    What Cookie and Gail fail to understand is that Latinos in America ARE American.
    Many of us have families that have been in the US for at least 2 or 3 generations (like me). Most of us, have genetic ties
    to the American continents that go back
    a few thousand years. We have a different and more generous view of entails a person the right to live in
    North America.

  • Mildred
    October 22, 2009 at 5:46 pm

    I’ve got the solution. We’ll establish a government agency with a central committee that measures the influence of journalists and TV people and then pass laws to punish them or drive those off the air if they don’t say the right things. Why hasn’t anyone thought of that?

  • Grandma
    October 24, 2009 at 12:53 pm

    Mildred said: I’ve got the solution. We’ll establish a government agency with a central committee that measures the influence of journalists and TV people and then pass laws to punish them or drive those off the air if they don’t say the right things. Why hasn’t anyone thought of that?
    I believe the Obama administration HAS thought of that. Isn’t that what the administration is doing to Fox News and Rush Limbaugh just because they don’t like what they hear?

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