Coalition Launches National Campaign Against CNN’s Lou Dobbs

El Semanario de Nuevo México, Interview, Luis F. Sarmiento, Translated by Elena Shore, New America Media Posted: Oct 17, 2009

Editor's Note: The national campaign "Basta Dobbs" is calling for CNN to remove anchor Lou Dobbs from the air. Campaign cordinator Roberto Lovato traveled to Albuquerque, N.M., to increase awareness about the campaign among Latinos. He was interviewed by Spanish-language newspaper El Seminario de Nuevo México.

Albuquerque, N.M. -- One of the most powerful English-language television networks in the country, CNN, has as one of its star anchors Lou Dobbs, a Harvard graduate in economics, who has a considerable number of viewers among the Anglo community. So far, there would be nothing extraordinary about the personality of the host of "Tonight with Lou Dobbs,” who has received numerous awards for his journalistic work.

What has tried the patience of members of the newly created campaign, “Basta Dobbs,” is the content of much of the information propagated in this program, which is anti-immigrant, racist and promotes hatred toward people of Hispanic origin in the United States.

Dobbs has openly endorsed the activities of extremist groups like the “Minuteman Project,” and the actions of figures like Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio. He even recently participated in the annual convention of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), an anti-immigrant group founded by an Anglo nationalist.

The campaign "Basta Dobbs" has emerged as an initiative bringing together the efforts of multiple community organizations in more than 25 cities to demand that CNN remove the controversial journalist from the air.

Thanks to the New Mexico Media Literacy Project (NMMLP), a local organization that seeks to educate disadvantaged populations about the use and benefits of mass media, El Seminario de Nuevo México spoke in Albuquerque with Roberto Lovato, a founding member of the organization and one of the main project coordinators. Over a fragrant cup of coffee, we talked with this New York City-based writer and activist. Here is what he had to say.

El Seminario: Mr. Lou Dobbs has called you “one of my fleas … one of these delusional left- wing activists who doesn’t care a whit about the truth.” How have you responded?

Lovato: I’ve told him directly that what he is doing is using a diversionary tactic. The debate shouldn’t be taken to a personal level, but should focus on the subject, which is his defamation of and total and permanent damage to the community of Hispanic immigrants in the United States. What kind of respect can be earned based on the lies and distorted information he is presenting to his audience?

When this man tells his viewers that one-third of the nation's prison population is illegal immigrants, that Mexico is our enemy, that the immigrant population has contributed to the spreading of highly contagious infectious diseases and endemics like leprosy, the platform used by Dobbs -- his program on the channel he works for -- must be removed from the air. That's why we are saying “Basta!” (Enough!) through our campaign.

El Seminario: A lot of members of the Hispanic community don’t even know who Lou Dobbs is. His program is not translated into Spanish and his audience is primarily white, i.e., Anglo. Don’t you think the central objective of the campaign might be somewhat lacking in context?

Lovato: I have a two-part answer: The first phase of the campaign is education and agitation. Through this, the Hispanic community will become familiar with the dirty work that Lou Dobbs does every night for an hour, and after making their own assessments, they may -- if they want -– reject him. Secondly, the other thing that we must do is go to the English-speaking audience, since that’s precisely where the road has been so smooth for people like Dobbs to infest their programs with distorted information and contaminate the environment with anti-Latino ideas. It’s to them that we must raise our voices and demand respect.

El Seminario: Considering CNN’s enormous economic power, the battle seems fairly uneven, something like David versus Goliath. Not to be pessimistic, but what do you think are the real chances that the campaign will succeed, given that Lou Dobbs is a highly profitable product for the TV network?

Lovato: We’re aware of that, but since CNN’s morals are at issue -- because on the one hand they defame the Hispanic community and on the other hand they’re looking to profit from our consumption -- we aren’t going to allow such hypocrisy. CNN en Español is the only channel on the station that, like CNN News, broadcasts 24 hours a day. So they’re either going to make money reporting on us in Spanish, or continue programming that is filled with hate speech; but they won’t be able to do both simultaneously anymore. We’ve had feedback from some Latin American organizations that have asked us if they should boycott CNN en Español, which we haven’t yet answered affirmatively. However, this message must be carefully considered by your president. (Reporter’s Note: At this point in the conversation, Andrea Quijada, executive director of NMMLP, spoke.)

I’d like to add to that last point that there will be campaign objectives that are measurable and there will be aspects that can’t be quantified. But in general, the challenge to CNN as a corporation is to let them know that we are a powerful movement, that we have decided to respond to their policies of hatred, and that we will not tolerate seeing them continue to get rich off the money their advertisers pay during those programs.

El Seminario: If Lou Dobbs were removed from the air, in the eyes of the community in Washington, could this be used as an example of mobilization that could be a lobbying tool for obtaining immigration reform?

Lovato: Let me start by highlighting the great power of mobilization that the leaders of our new generations of activists have achieved. The ability to integrate the processes of change and the power of current technology will play a major role in this campaign, and I can guarantee you that CNN will have face a struggle that it has never seen. Sending text messages from cell phones, along with emails and the use of social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter, will be our best weapons. Of course, we won’t leave behind our advocacy work in the streets, but we’re going to march as much with our fingers as with our feet. Let us remember that Barack Obama took office thanks in large part to strategies of this nature.

Of course, immigration reform is not the final objective of our campaign, but I'm sure it would set an important precedent.

Note from El Seminario: After the interview, Lovato stressed the solidarity required of organizations and individuals who want to contribute, even in a small way, to the clean and transparent financing of the campaign against Lou Dobbs. Participate from any cell phone by sending the word "BASTA" to 30644, or by visiting the Web site to join this movement that champions our rights as a human collective.

Related Articles:

Lou Dobbs Confronts Latino Activists Seeking to Dislodge Him from CNN

Hispanic Groups to CNN: Drop Lou Dobbs

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User Comments

Alpha Beto on Oct 31, 2009 at 19:56:27 said:

Tim, I see a lot of things wrong with your arguments. First, they are all wrong, second, they are driven by the hatred from the anti-immigrant extremists. Those you called "Legal Immigrants" from Europe are the same ones who killed off the indians and the Mexicans who were in this country before the europeans were. And I bet the Indians never invited them, so they must have been illegal immigrants. So let's restate your statement to European illegal immigrants destroyed Americans. In fact, they killed over 10M Indians, and a lot of American-Mexicans. Their hate displaced all of the original Indians and stole land from teh Indians and Mexicans. So if you Tim intend on deprecating Mexicans, it can be done to everyone, you would not be exempt. I could find a lot of reasons I wouldn't want you in this country.

Second, there is no reason to continue the immigration policy as is. Those who came to this country as children should be allowed to become US citizens when they come to adulthood. There would not be anything wrong with allowing those who have a family in the US to stay as permanent residents either. To implicate that just because they came to this country illegally they should be barred is based only on irrational logic. If they are already living in this country, then as long as they are already qualified for changing immigration status they should be allowed to. And what is a miscreant, is that like "your mother?"

Tim on Oct 27, 2009 at 17:29:29 said:

Those arguing on behalf of illegal aliens and their "rights" often play word games in appealing to the pride of real Americans.

"Immigrants Built America" and "We are all Immigrants" are popular slogans at pro-illegal alien protests and in jargon used by those who favor open borders, regardless of the impact on America's homeland security, economy or culture.
What the anti rule-of-law crowd omits is the crucial word "legal," as in "legal immigrants." While its true that we are all descendants of immigrants, it is not true that our forefathers came to America illegally.

America was not built by illegal aliens!

Migrating to America legally is, and should be, a long, drawn-out procedure meant to protect the interests of American citizens. It involves more than simply jumping a fence and heading north in pursuit of free health care, education, food stamps, and other handouts paid for by U.S. taxpayers.

Legal immigration means enduring rigorous hurdles like background checks to detect a criminal background or possible ties to terrorists; medical examinations to detect diseases still prevalent in third-world nations, but long since eradicated here; proof of financial solvency so as to prevent newcomers from becoming a burden on U.S. taxpayers, and testing for knowledge of American history and English skills.

Those who have jumped a fence into America in order to avoid our immigration checks are not immigrants. Rather, they are invading criminals, with no claim whatsoever to the welcome mat extended to legal immigrants.

Such people do not deserve recognition or sanction by the United States, and should be rounded up and deported as soon as possible, without exception.

Another word game played by pro-illegal aliens is to call these miscreants "undocumented." The implication of this term is that the invaders are simply missing a piece of paper or two, probably some unnecessary bureaucratic red tape designed to keep brown people out.

In truth, illegal aliens have invaded our nation, leaving America vulnerable to undetected crime, terrorism, disease, and financial devastation at the hands of people with no legal or moral justification for being here.

Do not be fooled by word games and euphemistic cover-ups.

People here illegally are illegal aliens. And should be booted out ASAP!


Call them what they are

Tejano on Oct 18, 2009 at 20:56:11 said:

As a resident of California and a native of Texas whose family has been a part of Texas since long before it's (Texas) birth. Despite this history of mine I for the first time in my life felt insecure about being an American. How did I arrive at this insecurity? I was at a friends house when a group people were chatting and the chat gravitated to Immigration. Sadly these people looked at me in cadence as if I were an illegal immigrant or part of the problem. Needless to say I had to defend myself. From there the party went down hill for me. Yes the Lou Dobbs syndrome of hate did surface.

Carlos Mango on Oct 18, 2009 at 16:16:52 said:

A few years ago Dobbs reported that 10 million illegal immigrants were crossing the border every year since 1994. If anyone has the "gift" of math in their brain, lets do the math. 2006 minus 1994, 12 years or so, times 10 million, would have been hmm...120 million illegal immigrants. I contended that it would have made one out of every three people in the United States an illegal immigrant. Not only that, it would have emptied Mexico. Incidentally, I went to Mexico that year and it wasn't empty. Your uncle lied, but many congressmen believed his stupid lies. So since 2006 about 8-9 Million undocumented immigrants have left the United States, does that mean that there are 112 million undocumented in this country? Please, use some common sense!

Carlos Mango on Oct 18, 2009 at 16:05:49 said:

If Dobbs is not lying, then he is absolutely deceiving, just as any other propaganda machine. I don't know where you "Horn" verified your information, but I have written CNN many times with accurate information which differed widely with what Dobbs was "REPORTING". Obviously, the guy is absolutely without a conscience and lies at will. It is called "PATHOLOGICAL". I bet he could have told you the same thing about Italians or Jews and you would have believed it. Please, use your brain.

Jim Horn on Oct 18, 2009 at 13:54:46 said:

Lou Dobbs is not lying, he is providing validated information about a festering problem that neither the KKK nor AzTLAN and white haters can cure. The problem with illegal immigration is 535 Congresspeople who have refused to address the problem in a civilized manner for over thirty years.

Sherlrock on Oct 18, 2009 at 13:37:14 said:

I happened to watch a Lou Dobbs show a few years ago and was completely shocked at what I heard. The guy had to know that what he was saying was untrue and yet he was adamant. I have rarely heard as much hatred spewed by anyone. Now if someone quotes Lou Dobbs I know they are ignorant and hateful.

Sherlrock on Oct 18, 2009 at 13:21:13 said:

I happened to watch a Lou Dobbs show a few years ago and was completely shocked at what I heard. The guy had to know that what he was saying was untrue and yet he was adamant. I have rarely heard as much hatred spewed by anyone. Now if someone quotes Lou Dobbs I know they are ignorant and hateful.

Alpha Beto on Oct 18, 2009 at 13:11:00 said:

It is one thing to be in favor of illegal immigration and another to be in favor or demonizing humans at all costs, even at the cost of facts, that is what Dobbs has done and he is well aware of that. He is very eloquent, but he is not truthful, and CNN accepts that as long as he is bringing in money. It is dishonest, corrupt and perfidious. It is inexcusable. This is a powerful corporation which has divested itself of truth and honor and cares only for the bottom line. Dobbs goes out of his way to misquote statistics, even those he knows to be false, frequently quoting FAIR, Minutemen, and every extremist anti-immigrant faction. Check for the truth at the Southern Poverty Law Center website.

Carlos Mango on Oct 18, 2009 at 12:50:38 said:

Poor "Lou Dobbs" Huh! Perplexing feelings. I wrote to CNN many times several years ago, trying to get an explanation on his antics, lies and horrible propaganda. I had to get an answer from a story he ran, where he asked for Colonia Libertad to be bombed (Colonia Libertad is a neighborhood of about 500,000 in Tijuana). After many attempts, I got an answer. They knew he was using his platform for lies, deception, and as an anti-Mexican propaganda, but they were unwilling to change because it was one of their best viewed programs. They were unwilling to change because of the money it brought in. These "News" programs care not about the truth nor journalism, this is yellow journalism and propaganda at its most despicable!

Linda on Oct 17, 2009 at 17:40:29 said:

My heart goes out to these illegal aliens' plight as I believe everyone deserves a chance to live a good life. However, is it a fair and realistic expectation that we take them in and care for any of them, let alone all of them right here in America? My Chinese great grandfather came legally into this country during the early part of the 20th century to work on the railroad. My parents didn't come until the Chinese Exclusion Act was lifted in the 60's. They live a very humble life with no assistance from the gov't. They work, save, and pay their taxes. I graduated college and graduate school without a loan and scholarship. Life is hard, no matter what you label the obstacle. Lou Dobbs has the right to express his opinion, just like every other American in this country. If you pay taxes, then you should have a say on how the monies are spent. Why let those cut in line get the same benefits, and more, than those who have been waiting diligently and followed the rules?

Cristi Rod on Oct 17, 2009 at 17:27:38 said:

Meixico and all the other countries should take care of their own poor and not depend so much on the USA to support them......Charity begins at home and you should be attacking countries that do little to take care of the people born to them.....they are the ones churches and govts and political figures should be attacking - they are corrupt and keep the money for themselves and do little over human rights that is why they all flee here.

Cristina Rodriguez on Oct 17, 2009 at 17:23:48 said:

I am supportive of Lou Dobbs and of Hispanic origin but my grandparents and parents came here legally and the truth is that Most illegal immigrants give the rest of us a bad name. My family has paid taxes my grandparent learned english and worked to pay into social security, never asked for hand outs.Illegals are costing the US lots of money and it should be stopped!!! I support Joe Arpaio here in AZ, the only one person who is actually enforcing the laws!I support Lou Dobbs and would be a firm supporter of any administration who would have the courage to speak out and do something about this issue!!!

Ricardo Sanchez on Oct 17, 2009 at 11:47:01 said:

pOOR lOU dOBBS, To think of illegals in this country breaking laws, but for this to be their catering?? please speak out about this! I could not believe my eyes/ears
when we saw this. A friend taped it and we got it translated. Some find
it funny, some find it offensive, most find it HORRIBLE. It is sad we have
this kind of material on our airwaves.

or on YouTube search for TELMEXUVISION

Caterina Platt on Oct 17, 2009 at 11:26:12 said:

That comment was not supposed to be duplicated. It disappeared the first time around. Forgive the double post, please.

Caterina Platt on Oct 17, 2009 at 11:03:31 said:

I too am in support of Lou Dobbs. The native Hispanic population of America, as well as those who've come to our country legally are largely not in support of illegal immigration. To paint a picture that those who want our immigration laws upheld are racist is destructive, divisive and deceitful. We see through you. Interesting how you want to teach the illegal immigrants ' use the mass media..'. I find that quite telling. It's exactly what you are trying to do - use it to your twisted viewpoint. Removing Lou Dobbs from the air would be a slap in the face of those who believe in free speech. Many of us don't agree with Bill Mayers, Rachel Maddow, Anderson Cooper, Katie Couric or the women from The View, but they are free to thier 1st amendment rights and opinions. To try and silence those you don't agree with is terribly anti-American, and it's anti-Constitutional. Shame on you!

Bob Bennett on Oct 17, 2009 at 07:21:34 said:

Neither Lou Dobbs, The Minute Men, FAIR, or Joe Arpaio are extremists. People who want illegal aliens to come into the US and stay here illegally are extremists. The current recession is pointing this out to people.




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