The Dobbs Factor

Lou Dobbs loves it

Lou Dobbs loves it

The New York Times manages to produce an article about the controversy over Lou Dobbs that doesn’t really offer any specific examples of what Dobbs’ critics are talking about. But to get a flavor, the man’s strain of nativism runs so deep that he’s denounced St Patrick’s Day. His show is so unhinged that he promotes “birther” conspiracy theories. From time to time CNN has to scrub official transcripts of his show to eliminate casual racism. Dobbs thought the racist “Obama waffles” box was hilarious.

That just sets the backdrop for the kind of racial stereotyping, cavalier attitude toward the truth, and downright weirdness that characterizes his obsessive coverage of Hispanic immigration into the United States:

Dobbs has a long history of spreading hate and paranoia. He has routinely discussed the North American Union conspiracy theory, incorrectly claimed that undocumented immigrants drain social services and don’t pay taxes, and repeatedly amplified the falsehood that undocumented immigrants are disproportionately violent. He has been an unrepentant purveyor of hateful attacks, fraudulently claiming, for example, that immigrants are spreading leprosy and seek to reconquer the southwestern United States.

For all that, if CNN wants to stand by Dobbs then, fine, they should stand by Dobbs. But if they want to stand by Dobbs then they should stand by Dobbs and feature him prominently in their four-hour “Latino in America” documentary. After all, from what you can see watching the network day-to-day the executives at CNN think Dobbs has a credible and important perspective on this issue. Instead, they just kind of want to sweep the crazy uncle under the rug for the purposes of a big special, and then trot him back out again when everything’s back to normal.