WASHINGTON – CNN will broadcast a series about the Hispanic presence in the United States which, despite the complaints of Latino groups around the country, omits the anti-immigrant drive of one of the network’s own stars, commentator Lou Dobbs.
Dobbs, who does not hesitate to make comments opposing illegal immigration and demands that the country’s borders be sealed, is the target of a campaign to get CNN to remove him from its programming, an effort led by Roberto Lovato through Bastadobbs.com – “basta” means “enough” in Spanish – and other Hispanic activists.
The network has come out in defense of Dobbs by saying that he is just one voice. Mark Nelson, the executive producer in charge of the “Latino in America” series, said that the documentary is about Latinos, not about Lou Dobbs.
The host of the series, Soledad O’Brien, also defended the program by saying that the CNN management had no hand in the matter.
“A lot of things aren’t in” the program, she said. “It’s only four hours, and we’re talking about 51 million people.”
However, the documentary focuses part of its attention on the immigration issue, Dobbs’ favorite subject, given that practically every night on the air he verbally attacks undocumented immigrants.
Pro-immigrant groups, among them America’s Voice, have insisted that Dobbs’ comments have contributed to what is seen as a toxic atmosphere against immigrants in the United States, particularly against Latinos.
CNN refused to air during the series an anti-Dobbs ad prepared by the group Media Matters for America.
The group on Wednesday reiterated its complaint that over the years, the commentator has used his program, “Lou Dobbs Tonight,” as a platform “for disseminating falsehoods and negative stereotypes about Latino immigrants and the Hispanic community in general.”
The executive director of America’s Voice, Frank Sharry, said Wednesday in a column in the Spanish-language daily La Opinion that the CNN series “does not mention Dobbs or the insults that for a good part of the 260 hours of annual programming the host launches against Latinos.”
In the past, Dobbs has used his program to blame undocumented immigrants for many of the country’s ills, and on one occasion he even said that they were responsible for an outbreak of leprosy and that they made up a third of the prison population, two claims lacking any basis in reality. EFE