Move over Bill, Chris, Michelle, Rush, Sean, & Company. Make way for a worthy challenger to the title of leader of the racist rant pack holding court weekday evenings on his hourly show on CNN. Who would have thought back in the days when this well-known cable TV financial news anchor was CNN's executive vice president and then president of the ill-fated CNNfn program he launched that one day he'd switch roles on the network and become the managing editor and anchor of a nightly news program he calls Lou Dobbs Tonight. And who might have guessed this well-thought of financial host would transform himself into a raving racist never letting a program pass without blaming all the country's ills on the poor and desperate people "the color of the earth" south of the border for practically everything going wrong in the country from the fraudulent war on terrorism to the falling dollar.
He does it on the nightly segment he calls "Broken Borders," and it hardly matters to this anchor/commentator (or most any other one on corporate-run TV) that these people only come here in desperation because the 1994 NAFTA trade agreement destroyed their livelihoods and lives at home, and the only way they can find work to feed their families is to come el norte. It would never occur to this program host or CNN's management that they they owe their audience an explanation why most people everywhere have no wish to leave their native lands, move to a strange new one where they don't speak the language or have any ties, and face a hard period of adjustment along with leaving their loved ones at home to do it. They only come here or elsewhere because they have no other choice if they wish to survive, and instead of blaming them, we instead should expose and denounce the US-led NAFTA-codified dictates that caused their immiseration in the first place.
What You Won't Hear About Immigrants On CNN
Most immigration, legal and illegal, around the world is the result of unemployment, poverty or conflicts forcing desperate people to move to more developed countries to find jobs or safety unavailable at home. According to the International Labor Organization, it's not just a US problem. It's a global one that in 2005 forced 200 million people to emigrate to a new country, up from 175 million in 2000 and 82 million in 1970. With at least half the world's population living in poverty and the numbers increasing annually (and a number of serious conflicts ongoing as well), is it any wonder so many of them are on the move each year seeking relief to be able to survive.
It's not getting any easier for them as the US and Western imposed globalized so-called neoliberal "free market" economic model is little more than a race to the bottom driven by giant corporations exploiting the developing world and its people for greater profits. It's what Michel Chossudovsky wrote about in his important 2003 book titled The Globalization of Poverty and the New World Order. In it he explains the current WTO/IMF/World Bank imposed system is one of "capital creation through destruction." It creates big profits for transnational corporations at the expense of mass and growing poverty, human misery, the ability of the planet to sustain life, and eventually will lead to less demand for the exports these corporations need to continue increasing their profit growth. So why would smart corporate CEOs be willing to do this knowing a day of reckoning is ahead. Simple - today they reap the big profits they seek and Wall Street and investors demand and manana is for a future CEO to worry about. For the poor and desperate people south of our border and around the developing world, manana is today, and millions of them are on the move because of it.
Why Programs Like Lou Dobbs Tonight Get Regular Air Time
So why does CNN put up with the kind of demeaning and racist programming Lou Dobbs specializes in? Simple, because it draws large audiences meaning CNN (self-dubbed "the most trusted name in news") can charge premium rates to corporate advertisers that want their message heard on highly rated programs. It's the profit motive stupid like it always is. If it sells, it gets air time because that's what this business or any business is all about. Understanding that, you might believe TV networks would consider running porno films every night in prime time if they could get away with it as apparently that kind of material and gambling draw the largest audiences online. They surely would attract a big following on prime time TV as well although advertisers would have to be innovative in drawing audiences to their message after they'd been watching that other fare.
But as long as advertisers love it, will pay well for it, and it's allowed over the airwaves, CNN lets Dobbs get away with his crusading advocacy journalism that clearly crosses the line and violates the basic principles of honest news reporting. It's delighted to give him an hourly weekday sound stage to preach his message of hate and misinformation that fills the CNN airwaves with vitriolic language like "alien invasions" and "innundations" (illegal ones, of course). At other times he's called Mexican immigrants an "army of invaders" wanting to reannex parts of the Southwest - meaning, of course, their presence in large enough numbers threatens our white Anglo-Saxon culture. Still other outbursts refer to "illegal alien smugglers and drug traffickers are on the verge of ruining some of our national treasures." He also claims "the invasion of illegal aliens is threatening the health of many Americans (with) deadly imports" of diseases like leprosy and malaria.
What's most troubling is people believe this stuff, and he's winning awards for his work. In 2004, Dobbs received the Eugene Katz Award for Excellence in the Coverage of Immigration and the Man of the Year Award from The Organization for the Rights of American Workers for the other more credible regular segment he features on his program - the corporate outsourcing/exporting of US jobs to low-wage developing countries resulting in this nation joining the race to the bottom along with all the others exploiting working people for profit.
Dobbs is very hard line as a managing editor as well having the final say on what issues are discussed and who appears on his program. He makes no bones about wanting to avoid alternate views to his own and has said in so many words that the truth is what he says it is. To keep it that way, he carefully chooses guests whose views match his own making sure other versions of the truth almost never have a voice on his air time. So for viewers wanting to understand what the immigration issue is all about, they'll never find out tuning in to Lou Dobbs Tonight. But for extremist hate-mongers like the vigilante Minutemen, self-appointed to guard our southern border, challenge dark-skinned workers at day labor centers, and use violence with impunity to do it, Dobbs is preaching to the choir. Their hate-filled white-supremacist message to their followers is much like what Dobbs and his guests tells their audience - that Latino immigration here is "a silent Trojan Horse invasion that is eroding our culture." What they never explain is that demonizing immigrants and controlling their movement across borders is part of an imperial elite strategy used to exploit workers for power and profit and use xenophobic-induced fear as a way to help do it.
Dobbs Has Lots of Company In the Race-Baiting Game
It wouldn't be so bad if Dobbs and a few others were just outliers running counter to most other programming where viewers wanting objective journalism could still get it. But expecting that from the Fourth Estate anywhere on corporate-run television would be as likely as finding carnivores that were vegetarians. Just on CNN alone, Lou Dobbs has an array of worthy challengers. Take longtime anchor and commentator Jack Cafferty on air in the afternoons. He's as scornful of immigrants' rights as is Dobbs and derides them with vicious hate-talk like "mobs of illegal aliens....who don't belong here....and have no rights." He calls for "pull(ing) up the buses (demanding) these people...show their green cards....and the ones that don't have them, put them on the buses and send them home."
While Cafferty doesn't say how he wants these people assembled to prove their legal residency status or citizenship, it sounds like he favors neighborhood and house-to-house searches to find them. In other words, in Cafferty's strange mind, brown-skinned people are criminals, don't belong here, have no rights and should be deported back where they came from. Apparently it never occurred to Cafferty, Dobbs or other CNN hosts and commentators just as guilty at times of hate-talk that these so-called 'illegals" give back far more than they get here. They pay billions of dollars annually in taxes and get few social services for them in return. So the net-net from them is they help grow the US economy, and their employers value their services. If these immigrants, legal or illegal, weren't here and wanting work, the employers hiring them would be hard-pressed to fill the jobs most others don't want.
Spreading fear and hate is also the tactic former CNN commentator, now ensconced as an MSNBC political analyst, Pat Buchanan perfected years ago and is now preaching in his outrageous new book called State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America. In it, Buchanan makes it sound like "the barbarians" are at our gates, they have us surrounded, outnumbered and outgunned, and our days are numbered as they're about to take us over, destroy our society and culture and make us over into whatever it is Buchanan thinks they have in mind. Buchanan has never shied away from controversy on-air, in his syndicated column or in an August 8 online one in which he referred to George Bush's "La Raza immigration policy, featuring amnesty and a 'path to citizenship' for 12 million illegal aliens, (and) pardons for all businesses that hired illegals." Thirty years ago while condemning Hitler as an anti-semite and racist, he praised the Nazi leader as "an individual of great courage" and wrote of his "genius (being) an intuitive sense of the mushiness, the character flaws, the weakness masquerading as morality....of the statesmen who stood in his way." It sounds a lot like sympathy with and praise for a man most consider the most heinous of all 20th century dictators.
He's also been on the extreme fringe in his views about African-Americans and the civil rights legislation so essential to them and once when serving in the Nixon White House told the President "the integration of blacks and whites - but even more so, poor and well-to-do - is less likely to result in accommodation than....in perpetual friction, as the incapable are placed....by government side by side with the capable." He's also said and written much that makes him fair game to be called an anti-semite and equal opportunity racist believer in white superiority, opposed to gay rights, demeaning of women and their rights, a believer that Christianity is the superior religion to all others, and hostile to the notion that real democracy is preferable to "quasi-dictatorial rule" from his undisguised admiration for Hitler's "courage (and) genius" and praise for the dictatorships of Francisco Franco in Spain and Augusto Pinochet in Chile calling them both "soldier-patriots."
1 | 2