Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Media > Is Lou Dobbs the Sheriff Arpaio of Primetime?

Is Lou Dobbs the Sheriff Arpaio of Primetime?

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.
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CNN’s Lou Dobbs
(Source: CNN)

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 — 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 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 — 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. We’ll have all the details in tonight’s special report.
Monday – Friday 3-6pm ET
• Listen to Lou NOW
• Listen to past radio shows
Thursday on the Lou Dobbs Show, we’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 constituents’ votes counted. Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt will talk about his state’s tough new anti-illegal immigration laws. Gabor Steingart, author of “The War for Wealth” will join Lou to discuss globalization and the American economy. John Strausbaugh, the author of “Sissy Nation,” 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 we’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 — 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 — 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 “media watchdog” group Media Matters for America entitled “Fear and Loathing in Prime Time: Immigration Myths and Cable News,” 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, “…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 — 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?

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  • Frank
    May 22, 2008 at 6:45 pm

    Dobbs has had many pro-illegal guests on his show. So the other side of the story is being told on his show. The fact that he doesn’t agree with them nor do most Americans is what really bothers you. That is one of the main reasons that CIR has not passed.

  • Marisa Treviño
    May 22, 2008 at 7:37 pm

    Frank, I just watched Dobbs “interaction” with the author of the report I cite in my post and predictably, Dobbs was very angry. Yet, in a classic example of his tactics when the author pinned him down to produce some documents about a highway he repeatedly says will be built between Mexico and Canada, Dobbs sidesteps the question until he’s cornered to say that he has the documents. I have a feeling that may not be entirely true.
    I guess we’ll see.
    To get back to your point, you, more than anyone, should know that I don’t need people to agree with me – just tell the truth and don’t lie.

  • Evelyn
    May 22, 2008 at 8:51 pm

    ” While he complains of being identified as racist and having an overt agenda on illegal immigration, he lives up to those markers.” LOL! Just like the racist on this forum. It’s funny how they manipulate the rule of law. When it benefits their racists agenda they cry rule of law. When the rule of law benefits all people including immigrants of any status, the racist ignore or try to change the meaning of rule of law.
    In many ways the racist have helped the American people see their ignorance. All forums provide excellent exposure and racist seem happy to show their ignorance. In Manny ways I think it has helped the Immigrants. Especially now that all the lies are coming out in the wash. If they weren’t helping, we would have one of the racist as front runner for president.

  • Grandma
    May 22, 2008 at 9:20 pm

    Several months ago CNN had a show with Rick Sanchez following the Lou Dobbs show. Rick’s show favored illegal aliens. I guess he didn’t have many viewers since the show is no longer on the air. Today,the Senate stripped all amnesty provisions from the Iraq funding bill, thanks to several Republican Senators and grassroot efforts by American Citizens. States are passing laws to strip any kind of public funding to illegal aliens including welfare, college, etc. It’s amazing what pro-illegal alien advocates will resort to when things are not going their way. Lou Dobbs is an icon and one of the very few that tell it like it is. Do some research. Illegal aliens are bankrupting this country.

  • Churro Cart
    May 22, 2008 at 9:51 pm

    I saw that segment.
    I stopped watching billo and Dobbs though.
    I just watch KO.
    Homie rocks.

  • Frank
    May 23, 2008 at 8:47 am

    Marisa, actually I meant that the pro-illegal movement is bothered by Dobbs not just you in particular.
    Personally, I was disappointed in Dobbs performance. He did seem rather angry for no apparent reason and he wasn’t able to provide proof of his assertions about the super highway. He constantly interrupted his guest just like O’Reilly does.
    I didn’t like the way he didn’t seem to stay true to his convictions either. Just my opinion.

  • Frank
    May 23, 2008 at 8:52 am

    Must be nice to be able to get into people’s minds in here and determine that they are racists and just using the rule of law as an excuse for racism. I wonder how one is able to do that. Do they have a crystal ball or something?
    Are there any Americans opposed to illegal immigration and want our immigration laws enforced that one would deem as not being racist? I doubt it with the pro-illegals because all they have is the race card.

  • Evelyn
    May 23, 2008 at 5:18 pm

    Intelligence and facing the fact that that all 3 presidential candidates favor CIR is all you need to determine what the American people want. Put away that crystal ball. Get a clue, it’s not telling you the truth.

  • Horace
    May 23, 2008 at 8:09 pm

    “Personally, I was disappointed in Dobbs performance. He did seem rather angry for no apparent reason and he wasn’t able to provide proof of his assertions about the super highway. He constantly interrupted his guest just like O’Reilly does.”
    You people forget that the purpose of the interview was to rebuke the person on the grill for his abuse of Lou, not to defend himself point by point, a process that would take hours.
    Anyone who doubts that there is a plan for a highway probably believed that government’s assertion that NAFTA would the best thing since sliced bread for the American worker. You’re all too willing to call Bush a big business oriented shark, but are somehow reluctant to believe that a plan does exist to unify Canada, the U.S. and Mexico in a economic pact. A highway is a must for the crowd that believes that we should form an economic union like the European Union. Anyone who believe otherwise is either blind or stupid.

  • Grandma
    May 23, 2008 at 8:22 pm

    If you don’t believe Lou Dobbs about the highway between Canada and Mexico you might want to check out this link:

  • Daniel
    May 23, 2008 at 8:41 pm

    Dobbs is an idiot. Everyone knows that. So anyone that goes on his show will be pounced on by an idiot. Reason being is that Dobbs is also the MODERATOR!
    Who wants to debate the moderator?

  • Horace
    May 24, 2008 at 8:04 am

    “Dobbs is an idiot. Everyone knows that. So anyone that goes on his show will be pounced on by an idiot. Reason being is that Dobbs is also the MODERATOR!”
    LOL. This is so sophomoric, but typical of Daniel and Evelyn! Daniel, do you have multiple academic degrees, one of which is from Harvard University? Lou Dobbs is one of the most educated men in his business, so don’t be so stupid as to call him an idiot because there are millions of American viewers who believe otherwise. It’s ignorant people like you that have a problem of understanding the socioeconomic impacts of adopting millions of illiterate illegal aliens on our country. Latino supporters of such measures have two self-serving goals in mind, voting power and completing the migration of their families that began with the first amnesty of illegal aliens in the 1980’s.

  • Daniel
    May 24, 2008 at 12:30 pm

    Dobbs wont last another year and if he does he will have changed his bullshit.
    While horace and that other idiot were busy posting p3ndejadas at LL, our side out maneuvered the nativists.

  • Evelyn
    May 24, 2008 at 2:29 pm

    Thank You for showing your ignorance to the world once again Horace. You must REALLY think it helps your racist cause. Are you really that ******. I guess so, cause you keep doing it over and over and over!! Ha! Ha! Ha!
    As for Lou lies Dobbs, he is not an idiot. He has found a way to exploit immigrants. The idiots are the people who are stupid enough to listen and let themselves be fed his lies. Yup, Lou lies is making a killing $$$$$ on the backs of Hispanic Immigrants.

  • Michael
    May 24, 2008 at 3:31 pm

    meaning well educated doesn’t mean can’t be an Idiot. For your Knowledge Lou Dobbs admitted on his shows after pandering Gov. Spitzer. Lou Dobbs has a hidden extremist agenda against Mexico and Mexicans.
    I had posted several of post about Lou were he mentioned Broken Borders but only reflected his ignorance and his Anti Mexican sentiment.
    He is not a profesional Journalism to my opinion he is an anti Journalist bigot, anti Mexican and Anti Hispanic.
    Results: a lier to take advantage for his personal and political interest.
    Joseph Goebbels Knowledge.
    If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”
    Joseph Goebbels quote

  • Frank
    May 24, 2008 at 4:25 pm

    Horace, and yet WE are the racists? LOL!

  • Thee Midnighters
    May 25, 2008 at 9:46 am

    dobbs is not a journalists and what he “reports” is not news.
    let’s get ONE THING CLEAR, DOBBS IS EDITORIALIZING and anyone can do it.
    it’s called freedom of speech.
    the fisrt time this occurred in the U.S. was with a television programme called “a current affair.”
    it was called “tabloid t.v.”
    the format has moved away from “tabloid t.v.” but the editorializing remained.
    back in the day, real journalists would clearly marks their comments as “editorial.”
    this was done on the evening news by men such as Howard K. Smith and Harry Reasoner.
    ethics in American journalism has since taken a big sh1t all over itself.

  • Horace
    May 26, 2008 at 5:00 pm

    Evelyn, this is from “Worker’s World” (, a communist rag that supports illegal immigration.
    ICE attacks immigrants in Iowa
    Published May 24, 2008 7:50 AM
    Following are excerpts from a May 19 press release issued by the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights. (
    The National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights condemns the latest Department of Homeland Security immigration raid carried out on May 12, by the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) against immigrant workers at a meat-packing plant in Postville, Iowa.
    ICE’s actions have left the people of Postville in a state of shock, as its very social and economic well-being has been called into question, threatening the future of its residents. After the ICE raid, scores of immigrant workers and their family members fled to a local church.
    Workers at the Postville plant were reported to be in a labor dispute with employers. Despite policy prohibiting immigration police interference and ignoring union organizers’ pleas, ICE amassed a small army and proceeded to carry out a massive operation in the early hours of the day. ICE used two helicopters and brought in over 200 federal, county and local police agents including from ICE, the FBI and other federal and local agencies, and dozens of vehicles and buses to haul off workers.
    ICE began unleashing a series of raids in different parts of the country that started right before and continued after the national May 1 mass mobilizations. In mid-April, ICE immigration enforcement raids struck Poultry Pride plants in five different states, another meat-processing company, arresting over 300 workers. Then on May 2 in northern California, ICE took action against a small family-owned restaurant chain in six cities, arresting over 60 workers. Then during May 5-6, ICE stationed themselves in front of one elementary public school and one high school in Oakland and Berkeley, Calif., arresting at least four persons and scaring the hell out of students, parents and workers. ICE arrests hundreds of documented and undocumented immigrants every day in border and non-border regions of the country, incarcerating as many as 30,000 immigrants on any given week, through raids and other means.
    Biggest raid to cover up immigrant jail abuses?
    ICE’s timing of the Postville raids is also questionable. In the days leading up to this raid, major newspapers reports were exposing the harsh conditions ICE subjects persons to in immigration detention, including the revelation that dozens of immigrants have died in detention over the last few years from abusive treatment and lack of medical care.
    Then ICE delivered a devastating blow to Postville, a small town with 2,273 residents. By calling Postville the largest raid in history, ICE was drawing attention away from the on-going exposé of the harsh conditions in ICE jails. While ICE has arrested more workers in previous sweeps, in Postville some 390 workers were arrested, out of some 900 workers at the plant.
    ICE gave the Postville immigrant community no warning of this monstrous assault. In the weekend before the ICE raid, community members were aghast at the preparations they were witnessing: Department of Homeland Security began amassing police agents and the resources to carry out this crushing blow against workers, including setting up a temporary jail at a nearby “Cattle Congress” facility, where the men were jailed. Women were put in the local jail.
    After the raid, ICE stifled the immigrant workers’ access to legal counsel. And, in the days and weeks leading up to the raid, multi-agency collaboration DHS investigations included getting addresses, social security numbers and other private information about the workers’ families, youth and students from the local school district.
    Stop the ICE raids, end detentions and deportations
    ICE deliberately uses raids to send shock waves through immigrant communities, to repress rights and suppress organizing efforts, as well as to promote and showcase new enforcement policies and strategies. The results are devastating: families are separated, communities are traumatized and the economic losses caused by immigration enforcement are almost exclusively borne by immigrants and their communities.
    ICE’s actions against Postville were a deliberate attack on the rights and well-being of immigrants everywhere. ICE raids expose workers to further exploitation and undermine labor rights and unions; they help perpetuate abuses and act as a cover-up mechanism for other violations that go unpunished. After an ICE raid, parents stop sending their children to school, they stop going to work, to church and avoid shopping and other public spaces out of fear. ICE makes communities vulnerable to abuse, crime and violence.
    Articles copyright 1995-2008 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.
    Does that mean your illegal immigrants are communists? Maybe not, but that’s as valid as the the pathetic claim that all who oppose illegal immigration are racists and members of the KKK. The least it does is associate your cause with a political pariah.

  • Evelyn
    May 29, 2008 at 12:26 am

    Everyone I know is opposed to Illegal immigration. I am opposed to illegal immigration.
    The difference between the racists and others is the racists dont see anything wrong in uprooting immigrants who were allowed and recruited to come to the U.S. People who have settled here because the wealth from their countries was brought here.
    The racists will not give these immigrants the same treatment given to the immigrants from Europe. Racists make up lies to use against immigrants especially Hispanics to demonize them so others will follow. It worked for a short time. Americans are too smart to be fooled for long, the tide has turned. Most Americans want immigrants who pass certain criteria put on a path to citizenship. That is what the majority of the American public say when asked about the immigrants.
    Only the racists still choose to believe the lies Lou Lies, FAIR, Center For Immigration Studies, Minutemen, (which are all KKK groups with other names), keep spewing.

  • Alessandra
    May 29, 2008 at 10:34 am

    Evelyn, Americans also want the borders secured and immigration laws enforced. We cannot consider any legalization of those already here until we know for sure that concrete steps have been taken which will not allow a repeat of what happened after the 1986 amnesty. Surely you understand this.
    Illegal immigration is driven by greedy employers who want cheap labor. If the current illegals are given legal status, they will no longer be able to be exploited. That’s a good thing. However, if the borders are left unsecured, and there is no efficient system with which to track visa overstayers, employers will just move on to the next batch of illegals and the cycle will repeat itself. At that point, we have de facto open borders. So, this is about much more than granting legal status to those already here. We were fooled once by this disingenuous government and we want to see hard proof now that they aren’t going to try the same scam as before.
    I don’t believe in demonizing those who have come here to work, but it is grossly unfair to demonize American citizens who have been protesting against the open borders now for years and were ignored. Their voices are finally being heard also. Yes, there are some true racists on both sides. But, I truly think they are a minority.
    In addition, remember that, although not as numerous, there are illegal immigrants here from all over the world, including Europe. I haven’t heard anyone say that they want European illegals to stay and send everyone else home. However, most of the pro-illegals I know are mainly concerned about their own ethnic group (Latinos). So, one could say this is an indication of racism, too.
    People are naturally going to be biased towards their own families and ethnic group. It’s human nature IMO and doesn’t automatically make one truly racist.
    The race card is pretty much being ignored now due to overuse and that is a shame because people aren’t paying attention now when true racism rears its ugly head.
    In addition, before we can consider legalization, there needs to be an exhaustive study by an unbiased source which will calculate the costs associated with such a policy in order to determine its feasibility. I’m not sure if one has already been done or not; also, on how the logistics of such an enormous task would work given that our immigration system is already inefficient and totally overwhelmed.

  • Lynn Stremel
    April 8, 2009 at 12:23 am

    This subject is simple. The people you are talking about are illegals, (for you Idiots out there) that mean they are breaking the law!!!!!! Deport them and make them come back legally. The crime and destruction of our cities they cause is unacceptable. These are the dregs of Mexican society that are coming here not model citizens. The people supporting them are like the high school students in California this week tearing down the American flag and putting up the Mexican flag followed by the American flag up side down. If they want to deface this country they need to go back to Mexico.
    You people can sit there with your bleeding hearts when you don’t have to deal with them like we do in Arizona. It is pathetic how every day we hear on the news another crime, being it a shooting, a burglary, a hit and run, a death by drunken driver, whatever, it is almost always followed by the perpetrator being an illegal.
    Get over it these are not the cream of the crop and few of them are model citizens. The American Mexicans can’t even stand them.

  • Extenze
    August 4, 2009 at 3:56 pm

    my God, i thought you were going to chip in with some decisive insght at the end there, not leave it with ‘we leave it to you to decide’.

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