This past Wednesday, CNBC dispelled rumors that were circulating throughout the week that former CNN anchor Lou Dobbs would be joining the business network. Meanwhile, Dobbs affirmatively told Fox Business News shock jock Don Imus that he didn’t even talk with CNBC and that he had “no idea where they even got that.” However, National Hispanic Media President Alex Nogales told ThinkProgress today that CNBC was in fact talking with Dobbs and that his hiring was, at least in part, thwarted by the same coalition of Latino, civil rights, and media-watchdog groups that successfully campaigned to get Dobbs off CNN airwaves.
For the last several months, the Basta Dobbs and Drop Dobbs campaigns pushed CNN to sever ties with Lou Dobbs. CNN, while denying any connection to the intense pressure it felt, did end its long relationship with Dobbs. When the New York Times reported that CNBC was in negotiations with Dobbs, many of these same civil rights groups chose to similarly and quickly pressure CNBC. The groups, in a letter, warned CNBC that such a move “would be a clear demonstration that CNBC is willing to use its airwaves to promote hate.” They “respectfully” requested the network “refrain” from hiring Dobbs.
Nogales says he reached out with the groups’ concerns to Executive Vice President of Diversity for NBC Universal, Paula Madison, and informed her that his group had signed the letter and she should expect all the major Latino civil rights advocacy organizations and their allies to do the same. Nogales brought up the $30 billion pending deal between Comcast and General Electric on the acquisition of NBC Universal, pointing out that an ugly public battle would not be in NBC’s best interest. According to Nogales, he received a call one hour later from Mark Hoffman, President of CNBC, extending his sincere apologies and assuring Nogales that CNBC would not be offering Dobbs a job. Nogales says that CNBC was in fact talking with Dobbs, though it was unclear whether the two parties had reached an accord before Hoffman contacted him.
Nogales believes CNBC’s decision is yet another affirmation of the power of the Latino community and slams the new “immigrant-friendly” position that Dobbs adopted in his interview with Telemundo’s Maria Celeste last month:
This is a big win for the Latino community…we’re showing our power by collaborating with other groups and putting pressure on networks to do the right business thing. We’re ready to take on the antagonists.
Dobbs is opportunistic. For years he’s been hitting on us [Latinos] on every front — immigration, health care, the economy — and then all of a sudden he says he’s our champion. You’d have to be blind or stupid to believe that he’s our friend or that he’s going to help Latinos advance in society…as far as we are concerned, the damage is done.
On his radio show this week, Dobbs continued claiming that his Telemundo interview was not a flip-flop, but rather the reaffirmation of the same “humane” immigration views he has always held and expressed. The successful Comcast – General Electric agreement was announced yesterday.