CNN's Latinos in America: Hey, Isn't that the same station with Lou Dobbs as an anchor?

9 years ago

I've actually been anticipating this two-part, four-hour program with glee since it was first announced that CNN would follow up it's controversial Black in America this summer. But what interested me most about the Docs is what bloggers are saying.

As a Canadian, I believe that because of the Immigration debate, y'all Yanks will have a different perspective on the program, so it is Wednesday night, and I'm searching to see what bloggers are saying. And it didn't take me too long.

Immigration Impact raises an important question, one that I have certainly thought about, since I hate his guts: How can you show a program on Latinos in America on the same station that employs Lou Dobbs?

.......(B)ut how exactly does CNN intend its viewers to interpret CNN’s inherently contradictory message? CNN advertises Latinos in America (which airs in two parts October 21-22 at 9 p.m. EST) as a “documentary that discusses immigration and discrimination issues.” If CNN’s documentary discusses discrimination issues, shouldn’t it also discuss the role media plays in propagating discrimination against immigrants? It’s dishonest to suggest that Latinos in America, the majority of whom are first or second generation immigrants, are not adversely affected by viewers who support Lou Dobbs—whose inflammatory rhetoric is televised nationally on their own network.

The Associated Press also raised this issue and noted the organization Basta Dobbs (which unlike my initial thought...'Basta' isn't short for 'Bastard' it means 'enough') which has gathered up an impressive list of activists and bloggers to try and get Dobbs off the air (and strangely enough, Dobbs' wife is Latina and her parents live with them. I'd love to be around the dinner table and eavesdrop on the conversation that MUST have happened when this program was announced.....).

Melissa Morales, a Stanford University graduate who was born in the United States but grew up mostly in the Mexican border town of Juarez, said she’s pleased CNN is airing the documentary and hopes as many people as possible will watch it.

But Morales, who works at a nonprofit group promoting emerging women leaders, said CNN is trying to have it both ways by airing a nuanced view of the Latino community at the same time it provides a nightly platform for Dobbs.

“Lou Dobbs creates a venomous atmosphere for all immigrants, particularly Latinos,” she said. “His sources are questionable at best, unquestionably racist at worst.”

Dobbs, on his radio show, has called Lovato delusional and “one of my fleas.”

“You’re trying to deny my rights while turning over this country to those who have no regard for our laws, our rules, our customs, the legal foundation of our country,” he said.

Pontealdia not only questions the legitimacy of the program - is it just a trap to get more Hispanic viewers? Are the Latino CNN anchors really Uncle Tom's?

The use of Latino journalists and Latino stories (Soledad O’Obrien, Rick Sanchez, Juan Carlos Lopez) as a convenient prop will not change the fact that “Latinos In America” is a daring attempt by CNN and Time Warner to feed Hispanics with one hand,while abetting the hatred of xenophobes through Dobb’s daily rant.

Under the guise of interest in Hispanics, now CNN shows a belated concern for them and decries Latinos in America “have been misreported or, in some cases, neglected by the media,” in words of its vice president and senior executive producer Mark Nelson.  When asked, Mr. Nelson was unclear on whether “Latinos In America” would even be translated into Spanish.

“We’re in the business of weighing the important issues of our time and the fascinating people and stories that impact those issues,” claimed the same spokesperson while selling “In America,” which turns out to be one of many CNN franchises featuring minorities.

Guanabee takes my Afro/Cuban/Irish sista to task for this:

“We don’t do Afro Latinos, at all. We don’t do gay Latinos. It’s only four hours.”

Having an anchor (whose job it is to deliver the news and not push his personal agenda / opinions) on a major news network and have a program on the same people that he is critisizes ( even though he says otherwise) is indicative of the issue we have in even discussing race and racism in larger society: Hidden under the guise of 'Freedom of Speech'  - which seems to be okay for some but unacceptable for others - the network doesn't seem to want to do anything about this. You cannot let someone insut someone and then celebrate and investigate their experinces at the same time.

(Update: Thurs, Oct 22) I've been watching Dobbs since like, forever, and I think he is an intelligent, seasoned journalist, but I cannot accept his attitude about immigration and while he probably brings CNN a lot of money, his attitude about this issue is disgusting and offensive. I really enjoyed the first part of the program, but I still have to question whether the execs seen the contradicition. Or do they simply not care?

By the time y'all read this, Latino in America will be airing the 2nd part this evening. Tell me what you think.


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