Lou Dobbs| Does Journalism work against people?

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The notion that the U.S. government or the American consumer is subsidizing Latin America and its émigrés is factually wrong: John Prince

Dobbs y los inmigrantes ilegales

Opinion Digital, a Los Angeles news media in Spanish, pointed out in its edition of 16th December 2007 that Lou Dobbs, the presenter of “LouDobbs Tonight” of CNN, has dedicated to the matter of illegals in the USA calling them a treat to the U.S. as he said during the report of the nationwide boycott billed of last May 1rst as “A Day Without Immigrants”:

Hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens and their supporters today failed in their attempt to shut down most of our cities to support amnesty for all illegal aliens,”


In April 14, 2005 Dobbs said that the “invasion of illegals puts in danger the health of the Americans” and gave a fictitious report on the case of leprosy in the country. In that report, Dobbs said that there had been 7,000 cases of leprosy in the country over the previous three years, far more than in the past, cited by David Leonhardt in The New York Times. When Lesley Stahl of “60 Minutes” told him that there were not much evidences for it, he answered: “Well, I can tell you this, if we report it, it’s a fact.” The Dobbs report was false as it is was stablished by CBS, 60 Minutes and The New York Times, but there was not a correction from Dobbs and the fact was read as an alarmist intention against illegals.

Dobbs was born in Texas and got a degree in economics in Harvard. He worked in Washington, D.C. In a federal program of anti-poverty and as a cash-manager specialist for Union Bank in Los Angeles. In Arizona he worked as a police and fire reporter for KBLU-AM, a commercial radio station. He worked also as a television anchor and reporter in Phoenix and later in Seattles’ KING-TV. Recruited by Ted Turner, he was to become inside the process of forming CNN.

Dobbs considers himself an independent populist who critics what he calls the “excesses of capitalism” in things like globalization, offshore outsourcing, runaway film production (it is how is called the outsourcing of Hollywood jobs), free trade deals (like the one Uribe from Colombia is trying to settle with US), corporate/big business influence in government, the Bush administration’s tax cut and, especially, the illegal immigration.

To this last “dangerous treat” to America, he has fought with his heavy opposition to projects like the amnesty for illegal aliens, the guest worker program and he has addressed strong critics to the government of Mexico for what he calls its apparent lack of willingness to change its laws to help the poor and its leaders for not pressing enough their government.

His program, that belongs to CNN, has reached with him a high rating on the T.V. Cable, which programs look for money and audience desperately according to Karl Frish of Media Matters, an organization that reviews the content of mass medias.

But Dobbs is probably the most popular anti-illegal immigration campaign activist in the US at the moment, but he is not the only one. La Opinión Digital pointed out that many serious mass media in the country use to cite in the issue of illegal immigrants sources of questionable “experts” with an evident anti immigration platform and even racists. If a newspaper or channel puts the opinion of a professional besides the opinion of an evident racist organization, it brings as a consequence that public opinion tends its point of view against immigrants.

Human Rights Organizations like the American Anti Defamatory League, has manifested their alarm in the case.

We believe this is a serious problem, because many means are promoting stereotypes that create hates,” said Amanda Susking cited by La Opinión Digital. “We see how this stereotypes about immigrants are seen in all the medias and are moved to the political arena making the discussion poisoned.”

La Opinión Digital published also a list of “journalists” that are issued as promoters of stereotypes against immigrants. Among them, Pat Buchanan who is commentator and candidate to the Presidency; Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity from Fox News; Glenn Beck of CNN Headline News and many others. To be against immigrants, besides it produces best salaries due to higher ratings and readers, gives also a kind of prestigious within the political arena.

Illegal immigration to the USA has been a matter of concern for many politicians in the country during the last decades. It refers the act of being a foreigner in that country voluntarily resetting in any of the States in violation to U.S. Immigration and national laws. Illegal immigrants come to the North American country crossing the borders or failing to honor the terms of authorized forms of entry like the tourist visas. According with estimates of the government, between 400,000 and 700,000 persons have come illegally into the U.S. Since 1992, many of them crossing the U.S.-Mexican border and few by the U.S.-Canada border. The crossings, however, are not out of risks, and thousand of persons have lost their lives in the act due to exposure to the elements, traffic accidents and inhuman treatment at the hands of corrupt human traffickers.

For some experts, the hiring of illegal immigrants by certain companies and business in the U.S. Is one of the main magnet to attract more illegals.

However, the Latin Business Chronicle in an article by John Price on 12th November 2007, said that the estimated $2 trillion of U.S. Investment held by Latin America’s wealthy classes is essential to a U.S. Economy. Price said:

The growing populist sentiment in the United States against illegal immigration likes to point out that not only do these migrants steal U.S. jobs, they also send $50 billion back to Latin America each year instead of spending it in the United States. In fact, the approximately $2,000 per year sent home by the average working illegal migrant is less than 15 percent of what he earns in the United States and far less than what he contributes to the U.S. economy. A lesser known fact is that wealthy Latin Americans hold $1.9 trillion in U.S. assets and inject more than $100 billion in new investment each year into the U.S. market, more than all remittances, direct foreign investment and aid combined that flows from the United States to Latin America.”

And the economist continues:

“The notion that the U.S. government or the American consumer is subsidizing Latin America and its émigrés is factually wrong. The truth is the reverse – Latin America and its migrants are subsidizing the American way of life, not to mention the U.S. federal government deficit.”

And that includes Lou Dobbs and his programs far from the ethics of journalism…


  • MARRERO, Pilar. Se difunde el sentimiento antiinmigrante. La Opinión Digital, Los Angeles, 16 de diciembre de 2007.

  • LEONHARDT, David. Truth, Fiction and Low Dobbs. The New York Times, 30th May, 2007.

  • STAHL, Lesley. Lou Dobbs, “Advocacy” Journalist? 60 Minutes, Dec 17, 2007

  • PRICE, John. How Latin America Subsidizes the U.S. Latin Business Chronicle. November 12, 2007.

  • FRIST, Bill. Illegal Immigration. United States Government Accountability Office. August 2006.

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